Montreal, Quebec, Canada, June 15th, 2003 -- In a most exciting and action filled race, Canadian rookie Andrew Ranger of Roxton Pond, Quebec scored his maiden victory of the season, defeating British drivers Robert Bell and Charles Hall. Ranger...
Montreal, Quebec, Canada, June 15th, 2003 -- In a most exciting and action filled race, Canadian rookie Andrew Ranger of Roxton Pond, Quebec scored his maiden victory of the season, defeating British drivers Robert Bell and Charles Hall. Ranger won Round 4 of the North American Fran-Am Pro Championship held today at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit during the weekend of the Air Canada Grand Prix.
Ranger started the 15-lap feature from pole position ahead of Argentinean Juan Martin Ponte, Robert Bell, Charles Hall and another Canadian, Mark Wilkins. The field of 32 cars took the standing start without incidents. However, Ranger lost two places in the first corners but quickly managed to be back at the front of the pack before the first lap was completed.
On lap 6 the order was Ranger, Bell, Hall, Wilkins, Marc-Antoine Camirand and Aurelio Lopez Jr from Guadalajara, Mexico. Ponte was driving aggressively but lost control of his car when braking for the second chicane. On lap 9, Ranger and Bell ran together along the Olympic Basin. They took the fast pit chicane side by side and in the Senna corner, Ranger managed to slip ahead of the British driver after both slid wide. Behind them, there were terrific battles involving Hall and Wilkins for third place, and Lopez, Camirand and Sean McIntosh for fifth place.
The end of the race brought the thousands of spectators on the feet. Ranger and Bell ran together at high speed without an inch to spare. And Ranger managed to stay ahead of the experienced 24-year old Bell to score his first victory in car racing after many years of karting. Bell finished second and Hall arrived in third. Behind them, Mark Wilkins, Lopez, Camirand, McIntosh, Patricio Larrea Jr, Ryan Vella and Ricardo Imery completed the top 10.
WINNER -- ANDREW RANGER (CANADA)
" My car was fantastic. It was handling great. Today, I pushed really hard during the race to build some cushion between myself and the rest of the field. Today, I knew the Brits would not pass me! But around the mid-race point, Robert Bell caught me. We took the chicane side by side and he entered Corner 1 way too fast. I kept the racing line and I emerged still in first place. It was very exciting driving! "
SECOND PLACE -- ROBERT BELL (GREAT BRITAIN)
" The track was very slippery in the early laps. I knew I had to take things easy and not make driving mistakes. Andrew Ranger drove very well and he kept calm. We had a very good fight which was fair. However, I started losing my brakes around lap 8 and I had to slow down a bit to cool them down. "
THIRD PLACE -- CHARLES HALL (GREAT BRITAIN)
" I drove a good race and there was nothing I could do to catch Ranger and Bell. I fell down to fourth place at one point but I managed to make it up to third place. And then I had a good fight with Mark Wilkins. The last lap was very exciting. It was very close in the last corner and I managed to finish third, inches ahead of Wilkins. "
Next round: Rolex Grand-Am Series, Watkins Glen, New York, USA, Saturday June 21st.