21 May 2006
FA: Rahal youngest winner after Monterrey victory.
tried to brake a bit later in the second turn and kept my second place. After that, I tried to catch Graham as my car was really well-balanced. I think I had the best car today, although there were some gearbox problems.
"It was hard to figure out because I was making mistakes when I was braking late. I had the same problem during warm-up, and we tried to solve the problem between then and the race. In the first part of the race, everything was okay, but it started going wrong during the second half. Still, it's a good result for me."
The feel-good story of weekend, however, belonged to Monterrey native Martinez who, after struggling with his results over the first two rounds, elevated his game in front of his hometown fans and fought to a third-place finish and his sixth career Atlantic podium. Martinez also finished third in Monterrey last season and hopes Sunday's result will be a turning point for his US RaceTronics team.
"I'm very happy to finish third," he insisted, "It was hot race with no yellows, but we had a great car. We really needed this podium for the team and for the sponsors, and the points for the championship. It's a great finish and I'm very happy."
Jonathan Bomarito brought home his second consecutive top-five finish in Monterrey. After starting fifth, the native of sound-alike Monterey in California made a nice pass early to claim fourth place and threatened Martinez late on before settling for fourth. South African Stephen Simpson took fifth place for his top Atlantic result and, after failing to complete his first two races due to on-track incidents, the Gelles Racing rookie performed admirably despite starting fourth.
Wirth emerged with a sixth-place finish for Forsythe Championship Racing after starting tenth, the young German's worst result since an eighth place in Monterrey last season. He failed in his bid to become the first driver in 16 years to win the first three events of an Atlantic season, but was able to maintain his lead in the championship.
American Alan Sciuto claimed seventh place for his third top ten of 2006, while Polestar Racing Group team-mate Alex Barron - the 1997 Atlantic champion - equalled his season-best result in eighth place. Newman Wachs Racing's Joe d'Agostino finished ninth, with Leonardo Maia rounding out the top ten.
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