Double podium at Montreal! Charles Hall delivers Team Autotecnica two podiums MONTREAL, QUEBEC - Fran-Am World Champion Team Autotecnica made its 2003 season debut at rounds three and four of the 2003 Fran Am 2000 championship at Montreal on...
Double podium at Montreal!
Charles Hall delivers Team Autotecnica two podiums
MONTREAL, QUEBEC - Fran-Am World Champion Team Autotecnica made its 2003 season debut at rounds three and four of the 2003 Fran Am 2000 championship at Montreal on June 14-15, and returning British driver, Charles Hall took the #1 Autotecnica car to two podium finishes during the double race weekend.
Hall started the season with a different team, only to find out that if he was going to be a serious contender, he needed to rejoin the team that delivered him a championship-winning car in the recent World Winter Series in Florida. Hall's reunion with Team Autotecnica took place at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, site of rounds three and four of the 2003 Fran Am 2000 championship.
"The team is in high spirits to have Charles back," team Principal Anthony Wei said. "Charles is back in the car that won him the World Winter Series and we are ready to take our place as the best team in Fran Am."
Driving the second of the team's cars was Toronto, Ontario's Ryan Vella. Vella is a well-known Formula car driver sponsored by MGT (Millennium Globe Telecom) and SPC (Student Price Card); this event was his first wheel-to-wheel competition in over a year.
The reunion delivered immediate results in this very difficult race weekend that saw the track constantly change from wet to dry conditions. Hall was the quickest in the first wet practice of the weekend, but the drying conditions in qualifying left him third on the grid. Vella was coming to grips with both the car and track and qualified 12th. The team had to change from dry tires to wets while the cars were on the grid for round three, which meant the cars were still set up for dry conditions, albeit with wet tires. Both drivers drove well, with Hall making a thrilling outside pass in turn 2 to leap up to second - a position he would hold throughout the race. "I enjoyed the fight with Robert Bell. We ran these last laps really close to one another," said Hall. Vella fought the tough conditions to come home a solid 13th, but he was much more optimistic for round four where he would line up ninth on the grid.
In round four, Hall could match the pace of the front two - Andrew Ranger and Robert Bell - but was more concerned with Mark Wilkins for most of the race. Hall came home third - his second podium in two races - and moved up the championship standings to second overall. "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." Vella was showing improved control of the car and put in a solid drive. He was up to fifth at one point, but a late race 'minor off' sent him back down the order to ninth. "Both our drivers did a good job," Wei said of the weekend. "We proved we are still the team to beat, and when Vella gets a little more seat time, we should have both drivers consistently on the podium."
Team Autotecnica is based in Toronto,Ontario and is supported by corporate partners Sherwin-Williams, Renntech Mercedes, InsideTrack, Shinzo Werks, Delphi Papers, Car Enthusiast Ltd, University of Toronto F-SAE Team, Michelin, Varese Shoes, Centre Hill Auto Body, MGT and SPC.