In only his second race with Houston-based GTI Motorsports, England's Charles Hall logged a wire-to-wire victory in Saturday's running of Round 9 in the 2003 FRAN AM 2000 North American Pro Championship Series at the CART Grand Prix of ...
In only his second race with Houston-based GTI Motorsports, England's Charles Hall logged a wire-to-wire victory in Saturday's running of Round 9 in the 2003 FRAN AM 2000 North American Pro Championship Series at the CART Grand Prix of Denver.
Strong thunderstorms overnight made the morning practice a wet one, but the weather cooperated at mid-day allowing for FRAN AM's renowned standing start. The field got off to a clean start, although Dominic Cicero received a stop-and-go penalty for jumping the start. Also on the first lap, wheel-to-wheel contact caused #59 Matt Green of Michael Shank Racing to flip upside down in Turn Five. A testament to the safety of the FRAN AM 2000 is the fact that Green was able to quickly unbuckle himself and exit the car under his own power while the car was resting on the roll-bar.
Argentina's Juan Martin Ponte received a stop-and-go for blocking; placing him at the rear of the field. By the end of the race, Ponte had reclaimed 11 positions to finish in 10th place.
Second-place finisher Andrew Ranger managed the fast lap of the race with a 1:14.052 on the 1.647 mile street course in Downtown Denver. Robert Bell of the UK's Team FirstAir finished third. Rounding out the top five were Canadians Sean McIntosh and Dan McMullen.
Demonstrating the extremely intense competition in the Series: the fastest lap times of 14 drivers were within one second of Ranger's time and 18 drivers finished the race on the lead lap.
Hall's 34 points does little to narrow the gap between him and points-leader Ranger. After nine rounds, Ranger has 261 points and a 43 point lead over Hall (218 points).
The Championship now moves to Circuit Mont Tremblant for Round 10 with Grand Am on September 20th.
Charles Hall, GTI Formula Motorsports: "This is great for my team and I'm glad I could get them their first win. I didn't know how the track would be on the first lap after the rain but I made my moves stick and kept the lead. Ranger came up late in the race and we did have a touch but it was OK. I was feeling some rain and just needed to drive fast. It worked."
Andrew Ranger, AIM Autosport, Tide, Downey, Swiffer/Mr. Clean: "I'm very happy with this result. The team did a great job. I tried to bother Hall late in the race but didn't want to jeopardize my points with a mistake. This season is exceeding my expectations."
(Note: Ranger leaves shortly to compete in at least two Formula Renault events in England.
Robert Bell, Team FirstAir: "I need to qualify better to be able to challenge for the win. From my fifth position I just put my head down and tried to figure out how much risk I could take at the first hairpin. I got by McIntosh OK and the Ponte got a black flag infraction so I had third."