Atlantic Championship points leader Simona de Silvestro became the most successful driver in the 36-year history of the series with another dominating performance at Lime Rock Park on Saturday.
Driving the #78 Team Stargate Worlds entry, de Silvestro started from pole position and led every lap en route
to a 10.004secs victory over John Edwards to claim her third victory of the season - and the fourth of her career to move one ahead of Katherine Legge, who won three races in her lone Atlantic season of 2005. The win also enabled de Silvestro to extend her lead in the championship standings to 17 points over second-placed Edwards and Jonathan Summerton after five of twelve races.
“I had a good qualifying in the rain [on Friday], so I started on pole,” the Swiss driver said, “I think pole is a big advantage at pretty much every track we go to. The race was good. Borja [Garcia], in the beginning, put a little bit of pressure on me, because he was right behind me and he was, I think, a little bit quicker in the beginning, but then, I could settle in.
"I think the first lapped cars I got, I got through cleaner than he did, so that gave me a little bit of a gap and then I just concentrated on my race. I went through traffic really well. Then, I heard that John was passing Borja for P2, but my lead was pretty extensive. It looked easy, but it was pretty hard to keep the concentration up because I was kind of on my own out there.
"It was fun - it's always fun to win like this with such an advantage. My team did a great job. They give me a car every weekend that I ! can win with, so I hope we can keep it up like this.”
Edwards charged from fifth on the grid to finish second in the #36 Newman Wachs entry, his third podium result in five races this season. The gain of three spots from start to finish also earned him the $2000 Hard Charger bonus and an extra championship point, allowing him to move into a tie with Summerton, his new Newman Wachs Racing teammate, in the point standings.
“I got the Hard Charger, and I don't think I've ever had to work so hard to finish second in my life,” Edwards said, “It was really a hard-earned podium finish, because we didn't have a good qualifying. I was really trying to come from behind in the race. Once I got clean air and up to second, I was able to run the same speed as Simona and I think I got fastest lap in the race.
"At least we know that the car is good and we didn't lose ten seconds to Simona but, unfortunately, we just had a lot of traffic in the beginning that I had to get by. We're really looking forward. It's too bad that the person we're fighting most in the championship won the race, but we know we're on pace with her now. It's only halfway in the season. We've still got a lot left to go.”
Garcia finished third after starting second in the #6 Condor Motorsports car, claiming the second Atlantic podium of his rookie career having also finished third in the first race of last month's double-header at New Jersey Motorsports Park.