JAMES HINCHCLIFFE GRABS FIRST SERIES POLE IN MONTREAL
 
 

MONTREAL (August 26, 2006) - Canadian pride was in abundance Saturday afternoon at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as the top Canadian driver in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship captured his first series pole. James Hinchcliffe of Toronto picked a perfect time to win his first Atlantic pole as the 19-year-old Forsythe Championship Racing rookie blasted an impressive lap of 1:32.171 (105.808 mph) in the final minute of qualifying to claim the top starting position for Sunday's Atlantic race.

"Hinch," as he's known in the Atlantic paddock, has shown good speed all weekend long at the 2.709-mile classic road circuit. After competing at the circuit in each of the last two seasons in different racing series, Hinchcliffe has used that experience to his advantage this weekend. He was second in opening round qualifying on Friday, but he was still trying to break into the top-five times as final qualifying wound down on Saturday. With the pressure on and his countrymen on their feet cheering him on, Hinchcliffe produced. He carded the fastest time of the weekend on his 15th lap, with just one minute remaining on the qualifying clock.

There were a few anxious moments for Hinch as both of the other fast Atlantic drivers this weekend - American Graham Rahal and series leader Simon Pagenaud - each had a chance to top the Canadian's time but they were unable to knock him off the pole.