18 May 2009
de Silvestro completes Atlantic sweep in Utah.
Scoring a career-best fourth place - and making it two Team Stargate Worlds cars inside the leading quartet - was Frankie Muniz, who started seventh and spent most of the race battling for fourth with Borja Garcia and defending series champion Markus Niemela. The former actor capitalised on last-lap contact between his rivals to take fourth, earning the $2000 Hard Charger bonus and a bonus point for improving the most positions into the bargain.
Garcia, meanwhile, was later excluded from the final results when it was determined that he had violated IMSA Code 5.5, regarding blocking, and 5.6, on avoidable contact, in the incident with Niemela, who was forced to retire. The Spaniard was also fined and placed on probation for two races.
“I'm very disappointed," Niemela sighed, "In qualifying, I had a good chance for the top three but I screwed it up with a spin and missed my best laps. In the race, all I had to do was get a great start and then use the opportunities I had to overtake. I had a great launch from the starting line and was going for third, but got pushed off to the gravel on the start straight and dropped down to eighth. I started recovering again, and had just passed for fourth on the last lap when Garcia hit my rear wheel on the exit of turn one, which took us both out. He apologized, but that doesn't change the result.”
That incident allowed Atlantic veteran Tonis Kasemets to complete the top five in the #18 Genoa Racing machine, while team-mate Summerton recovered from dropping to the tail of the field due to an opening lap excursion to claim sixth in the #19 machine and give Genoa Racing three of the top six finishers. Condor's Max Lefevre, Winslow, Jensen team-mate Matt Lee and Michael Nacol completed the championship class runners, with lone C2 entry Michael Mallinen finishing tenth overall for Swan Racing.
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