Another strong points haul for Webb in Baltimore

Posted on in Latest News

03 September 2012


Another strong points haul for Webb in Baltimore




Series:                   Firestone Indy Lights Championship

Track:                    Grand Prix of Baltimore

Track length:      2.04 mi (3.28 km)

Date:                     1 September 2012


Qualifying:          Pos. 5;  Time: 1m25.0669s  + 1.3806s

Race:                     Pos. 6;  + 58.6928s;  35 laps


As the Firestone Indy Lights championship returned to the USA for the penultimate round, after the past three rounds in Canada, young rookie Oliver Webb continued his run of point-scoring form with a strong sixth place finish.


Webb returned to the Baltimore having raced there in last year’s championship, and was quickly up to speed, showing early potential on a tricky, bumpy circuit. However, the weekend’s first practice session was brought to a premature end after four laps, when a decision was made by the organisers to alter the layout of the track on safety grounds.  This change saw an additional chicane added to the circuit, and the Brit continued to show consistent pace as he got to grips with the revised layout. The incident-filled second session started in warm conditions, but a drastic change in weather meant a reduced amount of track time ahead of qualifying.


Webb battled hard throughout qualifying, and was trading times with Sam Schmidt Motorsport (SSM) team-mate Esteban Guerrieri over second position. However, as the leaders started a final flying lap attempt, an incident at the new chicane saw a caution. This was followed by a red flag, which brought the session to a premature end, meaning Webb was unable to respond to quicker laps posted by those who had crossed the line before the end of the session. The 21-year old Brit would line up in P5 for the race, with SSM team-mates Tristan Vautier and Guerrieri securing a front-row lock out for the Indianapolis-based team.


Webb’s Start was strong seeing him pull alongside Sam Schmidt Team mate Esteban Guerieri for second position. The BRDC Superstar however was then on the outside for Turn 1 on the dusty part of the hairpin, after a late move from Gustavo Yacaman down the inside of half the field a domino effect to the outside caused contact and a broken front wing on Webbs number 7 lucas Oils car.


Webb continued to push despite the damaged wing, and worked hard to chase down the leading pack. A spirited drive saw him recover to as high as fourth in the closing stages, but the reduced levels of downforce saw him run wide, crossing the line in a hard-fought sixth place. SSM team-mate Tristan Vautier claimed the race victory, and now leads the championship.


Commenting on the performance over the weekend, Webb explained: ‘It is great to be back racing where I have experience of, but this is an extremely physical circuit. The bumpy surface makes it particularly tricky, but things were made more demanding by the changeable conditions, and the limited running we had in practice.


I battled hard through qualifying and the race, and I am pleased to take more points away from the weekend, but it is a real case of what might have been. I picked up some damage in the early stages and had to battle against that throughout the remainder of the race. However, overall, it was a great event and I am really looking forward to being back on an oval circuit as we head into the last race of what has been a fantastic season.’


Webb’s result at the Grand Prix of Baltimore keeps him seventh overall in the driver championship, and third best-placed rookie.


The Firestone Indy Lights championship travels to California for the season finale at the Auto Club Speedway oval circuit in Fontana in two week, over the weekend 14-15 September.


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