Ricci Robbed by Ruling Houston, TX - Conquest Racing’s Giacomo Ricci finished eighth in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Houston Champ Car Atlantic powered by Mazda race after race officials mistakenly penalized the Italian two positions.
Teammate Matt Lee delivered the best weekend performance of his young Atlantic career with a fifth place qualifying effort and a strong race performance before a late race spin sent him back in the running order to finish seventeenth.
“It is tremendously frustrating for Giacomo to get this penalty,” said Conquest Racing team owner Eric Bachelart. “He had to bypass the chicane to avoid contact with another car, but he did not get any advantage from it. The officials admitted that to me but did not change the penalty, so I am also deeply frustrated by this.”
While the officiating was not what Bachelart was hoping to see, the performance of both his young Atlantics drivers certainly was as Ricci dealt maturely with the penalty to take his second Atlantic top-ten finish as Matt Lee put in his best performance of the season.
“I am happy with my end result,” said Ricci. “The track was really hard for me to drive and there were many bumps. I had a good start but I needed to cut the chicane. I did not win but I did not lose either because the level of competition is so high in this series that I think my team did well. The team worked really hard to improve the car for me and I think after the break, we will have a fresh start in Portland.”
Lee, who raced for two seasons in Formula BMW USA and scored runner-up in the 2006 Championship, did not get the result he was looking for, but his strong performance all weekend has him anxious to get to Portland in just over a month.
“The car was pretty good but I just hit a bump the wrong way and spun in turn seven,” said Lee. “I didn’t hit anything and kept going to try to make a charge back through the field, but it was so spread out that I was only able to pass a few cars even though we were really quick. I was praying for a yellow, but that didn’t happen. I have to thank Conquest Racing because they worked really hard and the engineers gave me a good set-up. Hopefully we can be quick again out in Portland.” Conquest Racing PR
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