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Formula BMW USA - Round 6 - Race
Coletti got off to another good start as Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA) and Lee began to immediately challenge each other for second. At the end of the first lap Coletti had built up a small gap to Lee. Behind them the battle and story of the race began to unfold as Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) came from his 10th starting position to pass Wickens for third.
The race's only caution period occurred on laps eight and nine after Gelles Racing teammates Ryan Campbell and Sebastian Saavedra experienced mechanical difficulties after each had contact earlier in the race and had to be removed from the circuit. After the restart Lee was able to take the lead for a short time, but Coletti was able to quickly re-pass him. He set the fastest time of the race (1:45.224) on the final lap as he held off Lee for his second Formula BMW victory.
As Coletti and Lee took the checkered flag, Wickens and Stevens came together in the final turn, spinning both cars. De Silvestro swept by to take third while Wickens was able to finish ninth and now shares the Overall points lead with Lee. A determined Stevens, facing counter-race following the incident with Wickens, reversed the final quarter mile of the circuit to take the checkered flag - backwards - in 16th.
Doug Boyer (AIM Autosport) finished fourth, and Ryan Phinny (Hearn Motorsports) and Yannick Hofman (HBR Motorsports Team USA) scored their first top-10 result of the season finishing fifth and seventh respectively and thereby delivering their best results of the season.
The top-five finishing Rookie drivers were Maxime Pelletier (P11), Steven Guerrero (P14), David Garza (P15), Robert Thorne (P18) and Joel Jackson (P21).
With Lee's third podium finish in the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship he now shares the Championship points lead with Wickens. De Silvestro moves up to third and Coletti and Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport) are fourth and fifth respectively.
Maxime Pelletier (Gelles Racing) is in the lead of the Rookie championship ahead of Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport) and Sebastian Saavedra (Gelles Racing) who stand second and third respectively. David Garza (EuroInternational) and Jordan Dick (Team Apex Racing USA) stand fourth and fifth.
"I had a perfect weekend. I was first in the practice, I scored two poles and won both races - I couldn't hope for a better weekend and I am very happy," Coletti said. "At the beginning I built up a little gap because Matt was fighting with Wickens. I had a one second advantage but then Matt was driving really well and fast and was able to catch me. Then my car started to become better and better having a lot of oversteer. I was bale to build a gap gain but then the safety car came out and at the restart I had some problems and Matt passed me. But I passed him again and finished first."
Lee says, "The race was definitely very interesting. At the beginning I had a fight with Wickens for second and then I was fighting with Coletti. First we had a large gap but then I was able to close it. I was very disappointed when Coletti passed me after I lead for a short time. I thought that I would pull away but I couldn't. As I am leading the championship I hope to repeat the two podiums finishes next week at Indianapolis."
De Silvestro, "We had a crash in the last lap and I was able to go around and to finish third. My car was not running very well because I touched somebody in the back earlier. I lost positions but at the end I finished third and I am very happy now. The race was hard today because my car was not as fast as usual. My team did a great job because my teammate Stefano won two races this weekend. They gave us very good cars."
Formula BMW USA will hold Rounds 7 and 8 next weekend in support of the United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis.
Championship points after 6 of 14 races:
1. Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA, 55), 1. Matt Lee (Autotecnica, 55), 3. Simona de Silvestro (EuroInternational, 47), 4. Stefano Coletti (EuroInternational, 42), 5. Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport, 41), 6. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 40), 7. John Zartarian (Gelles Racing, 32), 8. Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 27), 9. David Garza (EuroInternational, 25), 10. Sebastian Saavedra (Gelles Racing, 22), 11. Adrien Herberts (Gelles Racing, 19), 12. Doug Boyer (AIM Autosport, 18), 13. Maxime Pelletier (Gelles Racing, 14), 13. Ryan Campbell (Gelles Racing, 14), 15. Ryan Phinny (Hearn Motorsports, 8), 16. Tobias Hegewald (Atlantic Racing Team, 7), 17. Jordan Dick (Team Apex Racing USA, 6), 17. Scott Schroeder (American Spirit Grand Prix, 6), 19. Robert Thorne (Team Autotecnica, 4), 19. Yannick Hofman (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 4), 21. Philip Major (Atlantic Racing Team, 4), 22. Alex Navejar (Jensen Motorsport, 1), 23. Jules Duc (Hearn Motorsports, 0), 23. Marco Santos (Haberfeld & Walker Racing, 0), 23. Steven Guerrero (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 0), 23. David Rangel (Haberfeld & Walker Racing, 0), 23. David Farias (Jensen Motorsport, 0), 23. Joel Jackson (Gelles Racing, 0), 23. Frankie Muniz (Jensen Motorsport, 0), 23. Maryeve Dufault (Hearn Motorsports, 0)
Rookies: 1. Maxime Pelletier (77), 2. Daniel Morad (75), 3. Sebastian Saavedra (73), 4. David Garza (67), 5. Jordan Dick (55), 6. Robert Thorne (51), 7. Steven Guerrero (38), 8. Joel Jackson (32)
Formula BMW is the world's leading entry-level championship in Formula racing. In 2006 the series will be held in Germany, the UK, Asia and the USA. More than 80 up-and-coming drivers, some as young as 15-years old, will compete worldwide. Racing five times in support of the Formula One World Championship, Formula BMW offers a worldwide stage, training through a multifaceted Education and Coaching Program and BMW's longstanding Junior scholarship for deserving drivers.
The FB02 race car is propelled by a 140 bhp BMW engine, reaching speeds up to 140 mph. The design exceeds the FIA safety requirements for its class, with the BMW Motorsport developed FORS (Formula Rescue Race Seat), and the mandatory HANS (Head and Neck Support) safety system.
From November 24 to 26, 2006 the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo will host the second Formula BMW World Final. Young racing drivers from the four regional Formula BMW series will compete against each other with the winner receiving a test drive with the BMW Sauber F1 Team.
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