CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Walker Racing race report

A beautiful sunny day replaced the cool, damp conditions of the last few days as the Champ Cars took to the streets of Toronto for the Molson Indy. Darren Manning collected his ninth top-ten finish of the season in the ...

A beautiful sunny day replaced the cool, damp conditions of the last few days as the Champ Cars took to the streets of Toronto for the Molson Indy. Darren Manning collected his ninth top-ten finish of the season in the #15 RAC Walker Racing Champ Car while a crack in the rear wing mounting post on the #5 Corona Competition Team machine thwarted a promising top-ten run for teammate Rodolfo Lavin.

Rodolfo Lavin (R), #5 Corona Competition Team Ford-Cosworth XFE-Reynard-Bridgestone

While avoiding the six car pile-up at the start of the race, Lavin vaulted from 17th to eleventh place and by his first pit stop on Lap 31, the young Mexican rookie had worked his way into the top-ten. The Corona Walker Racing crew reacted quickly to an air jack failure on Lavin's second stop, Lap 62, putting him back into action in eleventh place. On the same stop, outside rear tire changer Gavin Hamilton noticed a crack in the rear wing mounting post and team manager Rob Edwards opted to bring Lavin back in on Lap 68 to change the damaged part rather than risk further damage. Lavin lost five laps to the leaders and returned to the track in 15th place.

"It was a mess in Turn 3 on the start and I just found a space to go through which enabled me to gain a number of positions. After that, we were running comfortably in tenth place. We had a great first stop and kept the tenth place, but on the second stop we had an air jack failure. Then, we noticed that something was wrong with the rear wing and we had to come in to change it. Changing the wing cost us several laps to the leaders. At the end, we were running fast, consistently running 61 (seconds) flat, .5 quicker than my qualifying lap, so the Corona car was handling very well. It's just a shame that we had the misfortunes that we did. It was a tough weekend for me and the crew."

Team owner Derrick Walker: "We're not sure what caused the rear wing mounting post to crack, but Gavin (Hamilton) did a great job to spot that in the pit stop. Rob (Edwards) then made the safe call to bring the car in to change the rear wing to avoid further incident on-track. Rodolfo and the Corona Walker Racing crew had a great race going and it's disappointing that they didn't get the top-ten finish they deserved."

Darren Manning, (R), #15 RAC Walker Racing Ford-Cosworth XFE-Reynard-Bridgestone

"The RAC Walker Racing car was really quick in the race. We had some good fast lap times. I could hold the guys in front of me; it just took me a little bit longer to get up to speed. Maybe we're not working the tires hard enough. Again the other cars went away at the end of the run and mine were still good. We just need to work on that. I was nearly as fast in the race as I was in qualifying. If we could have done qualifying with a car like that, we probably could have started a little further up the field. Hopefully this set-up will benefit us at the next street course."

Fast Facts:

Has earned eight top-ten finishes in 2003, Has nine top-ten finishes to his credit in eleven starts, Posted the third fastest lap of the race on Lap 95 with a time of 60.608 (104.244 mph), Collected five points for the eighth place finish bringing his championship point total to 50 ranking him tenth in the drivers' championship and second in the Rookie of the Year standings.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Rodolfo Lavin