Team Stargate Worlds Muniz and De Silvestro Battle It Out at Sebring
Sebring, FL March 22, 2009: After days of testing and a solid qualifying effort Team Stargate Worlds' Frankie Muniz and Simona De Silvestro showed up Friday afternoon to compete at Round One of the Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda race at Sebring International Raceway. Under perfect weather conditions the team was looking forward to a great race. While it eventually turned out to be a great race it wasn't under ideal conditions and yet the duo still showed incredible perseverance.
Starting in the eighth and ninth spots respectively Team Stargate Worlds drivers Simona De Silvestro and Frankie Muniz lined up on the grid awaiting for the signal to start their engines. When the call finally came Muniz's #77 did not start. The team had no choice but to push the car off-course and began to methodically figure out the source of the problem. A bad ECU was discovered and a new one was installed, but it came too late and Muniz was forced to start at the end of the pack. Efforts were further hampered by the fact that Muniz had lost all radio communication. The team was unable to listen to him and vice versa. Undeterred by the issues Muniz quickly made up ground and fought his way back into the race by swiftly passing the C2 category cars and immediately began attacking the rest of the field. With determination Muniz quickly caught up to tenth place and made the pass. With the race ending Muniz had closed the gap between him and the ninth place of Jensen Motorsport's driver Matt Lee. Separated by only a few feet Muniz and Lee battled for the position but unfortunately time ran out and a pass was never realized. Muniz would end up in tenth. Coming back from the nineteenth spot Muniz's tenth place finish was an impressive feet. He also ran the sixth fastest lap of the race. For his efforts Muniz earned 4 valuable points towards the 2009 Atlantic Championship
For Simona De Silvestro's she began the race and charged through the first turn and narrowly escaped being part of the horrific incident between defending series champion Markus Niemela and 2008 championship runner-up Jonathan Bomarito. Both of whom were involved in a scary crash in turn 17 on the opening lap. Avoiding the incident De Silvestro began to focus on the # 6 of Borja Garcia and after stalking him for the first half of the race De Silvestro made her move on the inside and passed Garcia on lap # 8 for fifth and proceeded to chase the fourth place car of rookie driver Harald Schlegelmilch. De Silvestro's time would eventually run out and she would go on to earn a fifth place for her debut with Team Stargate Worlds. De Silvestro earned 10 points for her fifth spot finish.
Frankie Muniz: “It was a pretty disappointing start. First it was the radio that didn't work then the car didn't start and with that I thought my day was done but we changed the ECU and started in the back. With all that I still think I ran a strong race and ran fast lap times throughout the race. It was unfortunate that the circumstances were that way but we'll learn from this and be ready for the next race. I have to thank everyone at Team Stargate Worlds for their great work and thanks to our sponsors for their continued support.”
Simona De Silvestro - “Well I think we did very good and had the caution been a bit shorter I think we might have had a shot to take one more position. This being our first race and to finish fifth is a strong finish and if we can continue to finish strong and win races I believe we can be in a great position for the Championship. Team Stargate Worlds gave me a great car and I want to thank them and our sponsors for their great efforts.”