Gelles Racing ends BMW testing season

Front Royal – Gelles Racing ended the official Formula BMW USA pre-season testing schedule with most of its drivers improving their performances from previous sessions. After Road Atlanta and Virginia International Raceway, Carolina Motorsports Park was the site of the last two days of pre-season testing before the schedule gets underway in little more than two weeks at Mid-Ohio. Two Gelles drivers, Campbell and Saavedra were again among the Top Three. BMW officials were on location to scrutiny closely some cars and all Gelles machines were found in compliance.

“Another busy weekend for our team, admitted team owner Bob Gelles. We had one of our Champ Car Atlantic drivers, veteran Stephen Simpson, join in as driver coach. We put Campbell and Saavedra again in the Top Three: Campbell is the captain of this team and he shows his leadership by working relentlessly. Sebastian is a tiger: he takes no prisoner, never complains and is always right up there. John (Zartarian) was quick and confident in Carolina and I have to tip my hat to Joel (Jackson) for improving so much. We even kept one set of new tires for our testing day at Mid-Ohio. The surface is new and fresh rubber can only help get the best out of the Lexington tarmac. We have reached our goals, proving a six-car team can lead the field in such a professional and competitive series."

Ryan Campbell
Ryan fell a mere 0.014 short of the best overall time for the third test this Spring. He had to cut short some sessions to attend an interview on Speed Channel and was limited to four laps in another. ‘’I felt I left some speed in the Western Union car but the gossiping around the legality of my car and the visit at Speed TV with Mr. Despain probably took some focus away, he said. I had the black box installed by BMW USA technical staff on my car all weekend and I’m happy everything was legal as expected to hush the rumors. Now we can get ready for the first double header in three weeks.’’

Sebastian Saavedra
The 15-year old Colombian has to be the top 2006 rookie at this point. He was always in the Top Five, gave a driving clinic in the rain at Virginia and never put a wheel wrong. “I’m very impressed with this young man, added Gelles. We seem to forget he’s been only six days in an open wheel race car and is always at the top of the charts. Best is that he likes to work with all the drivers."

John Zartarian
John came into his own this weekend. He was only 0.6 second away from the best time and had a strong pace in all sessions. This can only imply that John will mean business when the reds go out at Mid-Ohio.

Joel Jackson
The Jamaican champion was really in full throttle mode this weekend. From more than two seconds away in the first Spring sessions, Joel was down to only 0.7 from the top at Carolina. “This is definitely the result of team work, claimed Gelles. Joel talks to other drivers, listens to Stephen Simpson and works with his engineers very well. This 19-year old can now set his sites to reach the Top Ten.

Maxime Pelletier
Pelletier did not have his best weekend in Carolina, although he was only a second away from the top of the chart. The French Canadian BMW USA Junior scholar lacked some concentration and could not find his usual speed. “I’m not worried about Maxime, said Gelles. He is among the drivers who will charge hard anytime in a race. At Carolina, it was not his best weekend."

Adrien Herberts
Herberts could have stayed home in bed all weekend. He came testing with a stomach flu and was merely the shadow of a racer. Even if he wasn’t as fast as could be expected from a seasoned returning driver like this Canuck, he kept working on his setups and his data. Adrian and his coach Danny are ready for Mid-Ohio.

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