(PresseBox) (San Jose, )Robert Wickens (EuroInternational) rebounded after his 17th place finish in Round 9 to take the Formula BMW USA Round 10 victory today at the San Jose Grand Prix. The third win of the year extended the 17-year old Canadian's lead in the championship to 20 points over season-long rival Matt Lee (Team Autotecnica) who finished second. Lee crossed the finish line .125 seconds behind Wickens. Winner of Round 9, Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) moved up from his fifth place starting position to take third.
Simona de Silvestro (EuroInternational) finished fourth. Her sixth consecutive top-five finish - which included three visits to the podium - keep her in third place in the championship, only one point behind Lee. Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport) rounded out the top-five finishers. He was the highest finishing Rookie.
Polesitter Wickens led the 25-car field from the standing start, but Lee, starting from the outside of the front row, had the lead by the end of the first lap. Further back Stevens quickly moved from the fifth starting spot to take third, but was repassed by de Silvestro on lap 8. As the race unfolded the top-five - Lee, Wickens, de Silvestro, Stevens and Race Johnson (Team HBR Motorsport USA) had broken away from the field. Chasing Lee, Wickens set the fastest lap of the race (1:02.679) on lap 15 to establish a new race lap record. On lap 17 the race's only caution period closed up the field. At the restart on lap 21, Wickens was able to pass Lee to regain the lead and in the final laps Stevens managed to pass de Silvestro and Morad moved back into the top-five.
Adrien Herberts (Gelles Racing) finished 12th after starting 24th. Gelles Racing teammate Joel Jackson finished 13th for the young Jamaican's best result of the season.
The top-five finishing Rookie drivers were Morad (P5), David Garza (P9), Maxime Pelletier (P11), Joel Jackson (P13) and Steven Guerrero (P15).
Wicken's win today keeps him on the top of the Championship points with Lee second and de Silvestro third. Stefano Coletti (EuroInternational) who returned to the Formula BMW Germany championship after his guest appearance in four races stands fourth. Stevens, with a win and a third this weekend, rounds out the top-five.
David Garza (EuroInternational) with his podium finish yesterday and second-best Rookie finish today takes the lead in the Rookie points. Maxime Pelletier (Gelles Racing) is only five points behind him in second. Teammate Sebastian Saavedra stands third, only one point behind Pelletier. Morad and Jordan Dick (Team Apex Racing USA) stand fourth and fifth respectively.
"It feels very good to be on the top of the podium," said a happy Wickens. "Unfortunately it didn't happen in Saturday's race. The best I could do is to try to get the win for the team that worked very hard to make my car perfect. Matt Lee was very fast, but the restart helped me to get the lead in corner 1. From there I was able to pull away and keep the gap the same until the finish. In Denver I want to have two poles and two wins. I think it is very possible for me to do this. We had the car to do it this weekend, but I made mistakes. In Denver I am not going to make any mistakes."
Lee said, "I wish I was first, but I feel good about the second place after the disqualification in qualifying and yesterday's start from the rear of the grid. For the Championship points a second place is not bad. The restart gave Robert a really good opportunity to pass me and I didn't want to pull any risky moves."
Stevens said, "I feel so great. I had a great start. We battled very hard in the beginning. I took a chance to come back and take Simona on the last lap. It is great to have two podiums in the Wind River car this weekend. I go to Denver with the goal of two more podiums. This weekend really put us back in the points chase for the championship and that is what we really wanted. I'll keep fighting and hopefully we can do it again in Denver."
Formula BMW USA will race in support of the Champ Car World Series again with Rounds 11 and 12 at the Grand Prix of Denver on August 11-13 before the winner of the 2006 championship will be decided in the two final Rounds at Mosport International Raceway on September 1-3 in support of the ALMS.
Championship points after 10 of 14 races:
1. Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA, 112), 2. Matt Lee (Autotecnica, 92), 3. Simona de Silvestro (EuroInternational, 91), 4. Stefano Coletti (EuroInternational, 77), 5. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 72), 6. Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport, 49), 7. John Zartarian (Gelles Racing, 44), 8. David Garza (EuroInternational, 40), 9. Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 38), 10. Sebastian Saavedra (Gelles Racing, 27), 11. Tom Sutherland (Jensen Motorsport, 23), 11. Tobias Hegewald (Atlantic Racing Team, 23), 13. Doug Boyer (AIM Autosport, 21), 13. Ryan Phinny (Hearn Motorsports, 21), 15. Adrien Herberts (Gelles Racing, 19), 16. Maxime Pelletier (Gelles Racing, 18), 17. Ryan Campbell (Gelles Racing, 15), 18. Scott Schroeder (American Spirit Grand Prix, 12), 19. Yannick Hofman (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 8), 20. Jordan Dick (Team Apex Racing USA, 6), 20. Philip Major (Atlantic Racing Team, 6), 22. Robert Thorne (Team Autotecnica, 4), 23. Alex Navejar (Jensen Motorsport, 1), 24. Jules Duc (Hearn Motorsports, 0), 24. Marco Santos (Haberfeld & Walker Racing, 0), 24. Steven Guerrero (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 0), 24. David Rangel (Haberfeld & Walker Racing, 0), 24. David Farias (Jensen Motorsport, 0), 24. Joel Jackson (Gelles Racing, 0), 24. Frankie Muniz (Jensen Motorsport, 0), 24. Maryeve Dufault (Hearn Motorsports, 0)
Rookies: 1. David Garza (129), 2. Maxime Pelletier (124), 3. Sebastian Saavedra (123), 4. Daniel Morad (118), 5. Jordan Dick (84), 6. Steven Guerrero (75), 7. Robert Thorne (70), 8. Joel Jackson (57)
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.