Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Archive for the ‘ hard charger ’ Category

Hinchcliffe Wins Thriller at Chicagoland

Posted August 28, 2010 at 5:28 pm hard charger, Indy Lights Comments

James Hinchcliffe Beats Pippa Mann to the Finish at Chicagoland
(Photo: Jim Haines/IndyCar.com)

James Hinchcliffe earned his first career victory on an oval today at the Chicagoland 100 after beating race leader Pippa Mann to the stripe by 0.0159 seconds on the final lap.  It was the third closest finish in Firestone Indy Lights history.  Philip Major finished third – his best career finish.

Points leader J.K. Vernay finished fourth with Dan Clarke crossing the stripe in fifth just two-tenths of a second behind race winner Hinchcliffe. If that’s not telling, I don’t know what is.

The race was incredibly close and action packed.  The grandstands remained relatively empty which is such a shame.  If race fans only knew what they were missing.

The action got underway at the bumpy 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway with Martin Plowman leading the field toward the green flag.  The first caution of the race occurred early in the event when Charlie Kimball lost the rear of his car coming off Turn 2 — when somebody in front of him checked up — causing him to slide into Gustavo Yacaman who was running on the outside.  The contact sent Kimball’s car into the air with the front nose lifting off the ground.  After doing a half-backflip Kimball slid to a halt, fortunately neither driver was injured in the incident.

“There’s some guys making crazy moves out there,” said Kimball after the crash. “But, I think it should be a great race for the remaining 60-laps.”

A red flag was flown following the incident for clean-up and debris, lasting 14 minutes, eight-seconds.  The drivers went back to green flag racing on Lap 11-of-67.

By Lap 14, eventual race winner, James Hinchcliffe entered the top-five with the top-six running side-by-side and nose-to-tail in a 2x2x2 formation.  Over the next few laps, Vernay and Hinchcliffe repeatedly traded fifth position.

Meanwhile, Plowman continued to lead despite repeated attempts by Mann to sneak by on the high side.  Unfortunately, contact occurred when Mann’s front wing cut into Plowman’s right rear tire on Lap 30.  The incident sent the race leader into the pits before coming back on track one lap down.

“Everyone knew it was going to happen,” said Gary Peterson, owner of Plowman’s No. 27 AFS/Andretti Autosport car, referring to Pippa cutting Martin’s tire down. “It was so obvious, we all knew it.”

The incident didn’t affect Mann’s car as she was able to continue on and lead the field back to green flag racing, marking her first-ever laps lead.  The next caution came when Sebastian Saavedra slowed and pulled off-track.  During the same caution, Stefan Wilson spun but was able to continue.

As the laps began to wind down, the field began to bunch up even closer.  Hinchcliffe and Vernay battled for second spot in the closing laps before another caution came out organizing the field. Following a Lap 63 restart, Hinchcliffe began to test his car against race leader Mann.  On the final lap, Hinch was able to run the high line and drive down off Turn 4 to sneak past Mann for his first career oval victory.

“The car was great,” said Hinchcliffe, who started 13th. “We were really good on the restarts and that put us in a position to challenge Pippa at the end.”

The final tally also marked a career best finish for Pippa Mann.  Just last weekend at Infineon, she scored her first top-five finish.

The Indy Lights drivers are scheduled to return to action next weekend, September 4,  at Kentucky Speedway

Complete results after the jump.

[Continue Reading…]

Remy Audette Earned His First Career Mosport Victory in Saturday’s F2000 Championship Race
(photo: F2000ChampionshipSeries.com)

The F2000 Championship drivers’ wrapped up a wet weekend at Mosport earlier today, completing Rounds 5 & 6 of the 2010 season. Canadian Remy Audette showcased his speed on a slick track surface Saturday, driving from flag-to-flag to earn his first victory since May 25, 2009 at Lime Rock Park.  Audette started the weekend off on the right foot, finishing inside the top-three in every practice session before earning the pole position for Round 5.  Additionally, he set the fastest lap of the race (1:38.032) en route to Saturday’s win.

“That was just an amazing race,” said Audette in a release. “I was on the limit the entire way and we went to the wet tires at the last second, and the track just kept changing. This is also special because it is my first win at Mosport.”

Phil Lombardi, who competes in the Masters Class, finished second in Saturday’s race.  The real story of the day was Cole Morgan, 2007 F2000 Champion, who spun on the opening lap of the race, dropping to the rear of the field, and then proceeded to catapult through the field to finish a respectable third.

Championship leader Victor Carbone finished fourth, just over 43-seconds back. Tim Minor rounded out the top-five.

In Round 6, Carbone returned to his winning ways by earning the pole position and driving to victory on Canadian soil. It was Carbone’s fourth win in six events this season. He set the fastest lap of the race with a 1:21.311.

“It wasn’t as easy as it may have looked,” said Carbone in a release. “I got a great start and then just pushed from there and looked forward.”

Remy Audette rounded out the top-three, earning his second consecutive podium finish. Masters Class’ competitors Tim Minor and Phil Lombardi finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

F2000 Championship
Rounds 5 & 6
Mosport International Raceway


WSR: Brno Hard Chargers

Posted June 9, 2010 at 3:36 pm hard charger, World Series by Renault Comments

The World Series by Renault completed Rounds 6 & 7 of the 2010 season last weekend in Brno.  Czech racer Filip Salaquarda earned the pole position for both races, showcasing his speed on his ‘home’ track by topping 23 other drivers.  In race mode, Esteban Guerrieri proved invincible sweeping both races over the weekend.

The hard charger from Round 6 was Stefano Coletti, who finished 17th after starting 9th.  Following the weekend’s race, Coletti topped all competitors in a post-race test at Brno with a fast lap of 1:40.804.

On Sunday, Albert Costa had the most drive, picking up eight positions in 24-laps to finish 10th, earning hard charger honors.

World Series by Renault
Brno, Czech Republic
Complete Results


GP3: Gutierrez Takes Over Points Championship

Posted June 1, 2010 at 12:30 pm GP3, hard charger Comments

The GP3 Series completed Round 3 and 4 over the weekend in Turkey. Robert Wickens, who led the point standings heading to Istanbul, had a tough weekend and dropped to third in the drivers’ championship. Esteban Gutierrez is the current leader after four rounds with American Alexander Rossi in second, five points back.

Esteban Gutierrez set the fastest lap in Race 1 en route to a first place finish. James Jakes trailed Gutierrez at the line by 10.513 seconds. Former Indy Lights’ competitor Felipe Guimaraes finished third for Addax.  Alexander Rossi and Daniel Morad rounded out the top-five.

The hard charger in Round 3 was Michael Christensen.  The 19-year-old Danish driver improved 16 spots, driving from 29th on the grid to finish 13th.

In Round 4, Rio Haryanto took advantage of the reverse grid starting order and drove from lights-to-flag for his first win of the season. Miki Monras finished second with Alexander Rossi third. Nico Muller finished fourth and Daniel Morad, again, finished fifth.

The hard charger of Round 4 was Dean Smith. Smith started the race 22nd and finished 10th, improving 12 positions.

The drivers will return to action June 25-27 in Valencia, Spain.

Click here for complete results from Istanbul, Turkey.


Isaac Lyons won his third Skip Barber National race of the 2010 season yesterday at Lime Rock Park.  It was his second win of the weekend.  Spencer Pigot finished second, falling short of victory by a mere 0.021.  Dennis Trebing finished third, trailing by just 0.099 seconds, to earn his second podium finish of the season.

Spencer Pigot set a new track record with the fastest lap of the race; 56.695. Ashley Freiberg broke the previous record on Friday with a lap of 56.978. Update: The official track record was set in 2009 by Sage Karam in qualifying when he turned a 56.073.

Honorable mention should go to Series’ rookies Trent Hindman and Scott Heckert for finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, in their first National events.  Heckert earned the hard charger award for improving three positions.  He drove from 8th to 5th in the 26-lap event.

The Skip Barber National competitors will return to action on July 15-17 at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Complete Results from Lime Rock Park after the jump.

[Continue Reading…]


Isaac Lyons won his second Skip Barber National race of the 2010 season today at Lime Rock Park. After qualifying on pole, Lyons proceeded to drive from flag-to-flag, for the victory, beating Spencer Pigot to the line by 2.924 seconds.  Pinellas Park, Florida native Nick Andries finished third for his second consecutive podium finish and his third of the season.

The hard charger of the race is Spencer Pigot, who drove from sixth on the grid to second at the flag.  The fastest lap of the race was set by Ashley Freiberg, 56.978, a new track record.  Lyons set a new qualifying record on Friday with a 57.006 second lap.

Full results from Round 7 – Lime Rock Park after the jump.

[Continue Reading…]


Carbone Sweeps Road Atlanta

Posted May 10, 2010 at 3:33 pm F2000 Championship, hard charger Comments

Victor Carbone Sweeps Road Atlanta
(photo: F2000Championship)

Brazilian driver Victor Carbone set a new F2000 Championship track record over the weekend at Road Atlanta, sweeping the competition in both Round 3 & 4 of the 2010 championship.  Carbone has won three out of the first four events this season.

Carbone put his Alegra Motorsports car on pole for Round 3 and went on to win the race by just over a second and a half ahead of teammate Fabio OrsolonCole Morgan, who won the 2007 F2000 Championship, finished 3rd in Round 3 just over eight seconds back.

Matthew Inge was the undisputed hard charger of the race by improving 19 positions in 18-laps.  Inge qualified 28th, due to a misfiring engine, and finished the race just inside the top-10, finishing ninth.

Carbone earned two straight pole positions over the weekend at Road Atlanta.  In Round 4 qualifying, he set a new F2000 Championship track record with a 1:25.192 lap.  The previous record, at Road Atlanta, was set by Jordan Taylor in 2008 (1:25.265) aboard a ZSports Midwest Van Diemen RF02/Zetec.

Although Carbone lost the lead early in the race to Rob Nicholas, he managed to get the point back just two laps later and went on to win his third event of 2010 by a margin of 7.552 seconds over Jonathan ScaralloPhil Lombardi finished third.  Scarallo’s second place finish was his career-best to date.

Blake Teeter and Dan Denison earned hard charger honors as both improved 13-spots in 18 laps.  Denison drove from 24th to finish 11th.  Teeter finished 13th after starting 26th.

Complete Results:


F3 Euro Series: Hockenheim Recap

Posted April 27, 2010 at 12:22 pm F3 Euro Series, hard charger Comments

The Formula 3 Euro Series completed Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2010 championship this past weekend at the Hockenheimring in Germany.

German driver Marco Wittmann, 20, impressed the “home” crowd by claiming his first career pole position in Round 3 qualifying. Determined to finish what he started, Wittmann went on to win Saturday’s race, his first win in the F3 Euro Series. His Signature teammate Edoardo Mortara came home second and set the fastest lap of the race (1:33.246). Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top-three in the first race of the weekend.

There was a four-way tie for hard charger honors. Esteban Gutierrez had the best finish of the bunch by driving from 11th to 6th, improving 5 positions in the 18-lap event. Other notable drives from Round 3: Matias Laine (14th-9th), Jimmy Eriksson (16th-11th) and Luis Jorge Sa Silva (17th-12th).

Round 4 saw another new face on the top step of the podium; Roberto Merhi beat Daniel Juncadella to the stripe by just over a half second in the 25-lap event.  Edoardo Mortara built his podium-streak to 4 races by driving from 7th to 3rd Sunday.

British driver Alexander Sims earned hard charger honors in Round 4 by driving from 17th on the grid to 8th at the finish line.  He improved 9 positions in 25-laps. Valtteri Bottas, finishing fifth, set the fastest lap of the race (1:34.407).

The drivers return to action on May 21-23 at Valencia.


Weekend Hard Chargers

Posted October 26, 2009 at 12:58 pm hard charger Comments

F3 Euro Series

Stefano Coletti was back to form this weekend in the Formula 3 Euro Series after suffering a slight fracture of the sternum in late August during a GP2 race at Spa.  Yesterday’s result marked Coletti’s best finish since August 15th, 2009— where he finished 9th at the Nürburgring.

Christopher Zanella earned the drive of the weekend in Round-20 of the Formula 3 Euro Series by improving 17 positions.  Zanella won the 2008 Swiss Formula Renault 2.0 championship before moving into the F3 Euro Series in 2009.  His best finish of the year came on Sunday at Hockenheim.  His previous best was 5th, which occurred at Brands Hatch on September 5th, 2009.

World Series by Renault

Sten Pentus continues to impress.  The 27-year-old  Estonian driver earned another ‘hard charger’ award this weekend after improving 13 positions in Round 17 of the World Series by Renault.  I haven’t documented every result this year, but I have Pentus down for three previous ‘hard charger’ awards:  Silverstone (improved 8 positions), Spa (improved 9 positions), and Catalunya (improved 17 positions).

Heading into the weekend I published a brief roster update which included the news of Esteban Guerrieri returning to the FR 3.5 category with RC Motorsport.  At the time, I wrote:

During his 2008 campaign, he finished 8th in the overall championship with 1 win and 2 podiums despite missing 3 events.  This year he has been competing in Superleague Formula  and the TC2000 Argentina championship.  I expect Guerrieri to do pretty well this weekend.

Let’s just say the 24-year-old didn’t disappoint.  He put in a great drive on Saturday, moving from 15th on the grid to finish 5th in the race.  He followed that up with another solid top-five finish on Sunday driving from 9th to 4th.


Connor De Phillippi: 2009 SBN Champion

Posted October 12, 2009 at 12:43 pm hard charger, Skip Barber Comments

The Skip Barber National Championship completed their 2009 season this weekend at historic Lime Rock Park.

Connor De Phillippi

Connor De Phillippi

Conor De Phillippi claimed the overall championship simply by starting Saturday’s Round-13 race.  De Phillippi ended the season with 7 wins, 4 pole positions, 10 podiums, 4 fast laps, and 1 hard charger award.  He set a new record this year for most wins in a single season with 7.  The previous record was held by Grant Maiman, who had 6 wins in 2002.

Read the full report after the jump… [Continue Reading…]

Junior Open Wheel Talent Blog

Promote Your Page Too