Formula BMW USA - Round 5 - Race

(PresseBox) (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, ) Starting from his first career Formula BMW pole position 17-year old Stefano Coletti (EuroInternational) won Round 5 of the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship today in Montreal, Canada. Leading from the standing start to the checkered flag, he completed 14 laps around the 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the 30-minute race, finishing 4.644 seconds ahead of Matt Lee (Team Autotecnica) and the remainder of the 29-car field. Canadian Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA) finished third to extend his overall championship lead.

Coletti got away cleanly at the start, but Lee starting from third was not as lucky. He was immediately passed by EuroInternational teammates David Garza and Simona de Silvestro. Lee's fortunes quickly changed as he passed de Silvestro and benefitted from Garza's spin on lap two to move to third. Lee gave chase to Wickens, ultimately passing him at the half-way point of the race. De Silvestro closed on Wickens in the closing laps, but the top-five remained Coletti, Lee, Wickens, de Silvestro and Reed Stevens.

The most improved driver of the race was Canadian Maxime Pelletier (Gelles Racing) who made up 13 places from his 26th starting position to finish 13th. Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA) finished eighth to become the only driver in the 2006 season to finish every race in the top-10.

The top-five finishing Rookies were Daniel Morad (P6), Jordan Dick (P12), Maxime Pelletier (P14), Sebastian Saavedra (P15) and Joel Jackson (P17).
While Wickens gained 12 points in the Overall standings over Rookie Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport) this morning, Morad's sixth place finish moved the 16-year old from Markham, Ontario to the top of the Rookie points with a one point lead over Sebastian Saavedra (Gelles Racing).

The top-three in the Overall points are Wickens, Morad and Lee who shares the third place with Round 1 winner Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA).
Morad leads the Rookie points over Saavedra, Maxime Pelletier (Gelles Racing), Garza and Jordan Dick (Team Apex Racing USA) rounding out the top-five.

"You can not feel better than after winning a race. And to win in front of the Formula One crowd is even better as many people are watching you. It is great to be here," said a happy Coletti. "The circuit is very nice to race on. I really enjoyed it. I like it more than street circuits. For tomorrow's race I hope I can do the same again: pulling away at the start and build up my gap."

Lee said, "The race went pretty well for me. After a bad start I managed to come up to the field and finish second. I am happy with that. My team worked very well putting together a great car for me. It was perfect and couldn't be better. Let's see what tomorrow's race will bring. It was the first time that I raced against Coletti and hopefully I can pass him tomorrow."

Wickens said, "We didn't have the pace during the race. Unfortunately, in the last laps to go my car finally came in and started to get speed. My car was not handling so well and I had problems with my brakes which cost me a lot of time. My team is very good and they know what they are doing so I will have a better car tomorrow and will try to win."
The Round 6 race is scheduled to start at 9:15 a.m. tomorrow.

Championship points after 5 of 14 races:
1. Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA, 53), 2. Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport, 41), 3. Matt Lee (Autotecnica, 40), 3. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 40), 5. Simona de Silvestro (EuroInternational, 35), 6. John Zartarian (Gelles Racing, 32), 7. Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 27), 8. David Garza (EuroInternational, 25), 9. Stefano Coletti (EuroInternational, 22), 9. Sebastian Saavedra (Gelles Racing, 22), 11. Adrien Herberts (Gelles Racing, 19), 12. Maxime Pelletier (Gelles Racing, 14), 13. Ryan Campbell (Gelles Racing, 14), 14. Doug Boyer (AIM Autosport, 8), 15. Jordan Dick (Team Apex Racing USA, 6), 15. Scott Schroeder (American Spirit Grand Prix, 6), 17. Robert Thorne (Team Autotecnica, 4), 18. Philip Major (Atlantic Racing Team, 1), 18. Tobias Hegewald (Atlantic Racing Team, 1), 20. Ryan Phinny (Hearn Motorsports, 0), 20. Jules Duc (Hearn Motorsports, 0), 20. Yannick Hofman (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 0), 20. Marco Santos (Haberfeld & Walker Racing, 0), 20. Steven Guerrero (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 0), 20. David Rangel (Haberfeld & Walker Racing, 0), 20. David Farias (Jensen Motorsport, 0), 20. Joel Jackson (Gelles Racing, 0), 20. Frankie Muniz (Jensen Motorsport, 0), 20. Maryeve Dufault (Hearn Motorsports, 0), 20. Alex Navejar (Jensen Motorsport, 0)

Rookies: 1. Daniel Morad (71), 2. Sebastian Saavedra (70), 3. Maxime Pelletier (57), 4. David Garza (55), 5. Jordan Dick (49), 6. Robert Thorne (41), 7. Joel Jackson (24), 8. Steven Guerrero (23)

Background:
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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Benjamin Titz
BMW Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
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