Maiden pole and a podium finish for Webb in Detroit

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Maiden pole and a podium finish for Webb in Detroit


Series:            Firestone Indy Lights Championship

Track:              Detroit Belle Isle

Track length:   2.07 mile (3.33km)

Date:                2 April 2012


Qualifying:       Pos. 1;  Time: 1m17.772s

Race:               Pos. 3;  40 laps (reduced from 45)


British racing driver Oliver Webb recorded a hard-fought third place finish at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit this weekend, 1-3 June, after claiming his first pole position in the Firestone Indy Lights championship, and the 50th for the Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) team.









The first opportunity for the drivers to experience the Detroit Belle Isle circuit, making its debut on the championship calendar this year, saw extremely wet and challenging conditions throughout the practise sessions. This limited the time available for Webb to set up the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, but the 21-year old Knutsford-born driver showed determination following last weekend’s difficult race in Indianapolis.


Webb worked hard with the team to set the car up for the bumpy 2.07-mile street circuit and, despite limited running during practise, secured the milestone result for the team with his maiden pole position – the 19th SSM driver to lead the field at the end of the qualifying session.


A strong start to the race saw BRDC Superstar Webb pull out a commanding lead in the opening two laps. The set up of the car was geared towards the high speed sections of the track, and enabled the young Brit to break away from the other front runners. An accident on lap 16, which reduced the race distance to 40 laps, saw the pack closed up during a caution period, but a determined Webb remained in the lead after a restart and, again, managed to pull away. However, on lap 26, Colombian Gustavo Yacaman was able to find more grip through the slower speed corner going into the back straight, and found a way past and in to the lead. Webb continued to battle hard with a string of competitive lap times, but was unable to find a way back through.


Despite a strong set up for the quicker sections of the track, Webb continued to struggle for grip through the slower corners, and was unable to prevent Carlos Munoz taking second place in the closing stages of the race. Determined not to let the final podium place out of his grasp, Webb continued to push, and showed extremely strong race pace registering the second fastest lap of the race.  Crossing the line third, Webb matched his best result in the Firestone Indy Lights championship, and claimed his first podium of the 2012 season.


Commenting on his podium finish, Webb explained: ‘I am very proud to have claimed the 50th pole-position for Sam and the SSM team here in Detroit. I am slightly disappointed that I couldn’t convert that into the 50th victory for the team, but we had a strong package here and I am really pleased to be on the podium. We have made some real steps forward since last week, and we are back at the front of the grid, which is where we should be, and the car felt really strong.  The lap times were competitive throughout the race, and hopefully we can fight for the team’s milestone victory at the next round in Milwaukee in a couple of weeks.’


Highlights from the Firestone Indy Lights race at Detroit Belle Isle can be viewed here –


Interviews – ,



The 2012 Firestone Indy Lights Championship continues at the Milwaukee Mile oval over the weekend 15-17 June.


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