Toronto, Canada (July 18, 2007) - The final leg of the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda Canadian tour takes places this weekend, Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd July, with Toronto's James Hinchcliffe back in action in a double-header race meeting at Edmonton's City Centre Airport.
Following starts earlier this month at Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec and on the streets of Toronto, Ontario, the Atlantic pack heads west to Alberta for Rounds 9 and 10 of the 12-race series on the 1.973-mile temporary course in Edmonton, the season later concluding with events in San Jose, California, Sunday 29th July and Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Sunday 12th August.
Having been taken out of his hometown event last time out in Toronto, James Hinchcliffe is keen to put the frustrations of Round 8 firmly behind him and concentrate on making the most of this weekend's races behind the wheel of the #9 NOCO/ProWorks Sierra Sierra Enterprises Swift Mazda-Cosworth. Round 8's chaotic wet race two weeks ago saw 'Hinch' retire for the first time this season, ending a run of five straight top-six finishes, but an eleventh place classification brought some consolation to the 20-year-old in the form of 10 more championship points.
Despite this it wasn't enough to prevent the popular Canadian from surrendering second in the Driver Standings to France's Franck Perera, the GP2 Series veteran posting back-to-back wins at Mont-Tremblant and Toronto to sit 31 points adrift of season-long points leader, Brazil's Raphael Matos. Currently tied with fellow countryman Robert Wickens in third place on 178 points, James is hoping to avoid the bad luck which blighted his Toronto outing and aim for victory this weekend, the sophomore racer still searching for his first win of the season and first top-step since Portland last June.
"I'm looking forward to going back to Edmonton," said Hinchcliffe. "For a temporary track, the layout at the airport's pretty impressive. The organizers have done a really good job in making it feel like a proper road course rather than a temporary street circuit. It's extremely fast and extremely physical so the fact that we have a double-header meeting means it will be a serious test of driver and machine!"
He continued, "Obviously being punted out of the race in Toronto has really hurt my title chances. The gap to Rafa (Matos) is quite big so I'm going to be out there in attack mode racing for wins as I don't really have to protect my position. I'm confident I can pass Wickens and try and get back ahead of Perera, although he's on a roll right now but if Rafa was to strike some bad luck we could be sitting pretty to try and capitalize on that!"
Round 9 starts in Edmonton at 2:30pm EST on Saturday 21st July with Round 10 starting on Sunday 22nd July at 12:30pm EST. Both races will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Monday 23rd July at 5pm EST.
Top-Five Atlantic Drivers R8/12: 1st Matos (BRA) 228pts, 2nd Perera (FRA) 197pts, 3rd Wickens (CAN) 178pts, =3rd HINCHCLIFFE (CAN) 178pts, 5th Ricci (ITA) 125pts.
From Stuart Morrison Public Relations