CORE autosport score its first ALMS 1-2 at Mosport
BOWMANVILLE, ON, Sunday, July 24, 2011: CORE autosport scored its first 1-2 American Le Mans Series victory in a “roller coaster” day of emotions at the Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport in Canada today.
While Gunnar Jeannette and Ricardo Gonzalez stormed into the race lead off the start and were never troubled throughout the two hour, 45 minute enduro – their teammates Jon Bennett and Frankie Montecalvo fought back to join them on the podium in second place in an afternoon of contact, determination, unscheduled pit stops and late race good fortune.
We’ll take the team’s first 1-2 today – it was a very good day.
Gonzalez started the #06 Excel Consultants / Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 from second on the grid and grabbed the lead off the start.
Bennett aboard the #05 Bayshore Recycling / Composite Resources machine also gained a spot on the start to move to third but an early race off-track excursion sent him to the pits to check for damage.
The team founder then began a fightback to work his back through the field. At the front of the pack, Gonzalez continued to open up a handy lead that was growing with every lap.
Bennett was forced back to the pits for a second time after contact with the car of Jon Field – his forced late arrival unfortunately costing the team more time with Montecalvo having to put on his helmet to swap places with the team boss.
Gonzalez handed over the #06 car to fellow championship leader Jeannette and the pair continued their untroubled run – extending their lead by up to two complete laps at one stage.
Montecalvo continued the fightback for the #06 and eventually settled into fourth place in LMPC with 30 minutes remaining.
He was unable to catch the cars of Field and Anthony Nicolosi who both were stretching their fuel mileage trying to make it to the finish.
Fortunately for the CORE squad, both the Field and Nicolosi cars ran out of fuel on the final lap with Montecalvo and Bennett not only moving onto the podium but earning second place behind their teammates Jeannette and Gonzalez.
The victory was the second Mosport success in a row for Jeannette who was also successful at the high speed Canadian circuit in the LMPC class in 2010.
Today’s result pushed the CORE autosport squad back into the team’s championship lead by 6 points and extended the driver’s championship lead for Jeannette and Gonzelez to 12 points.
Today’s victory was CORE autosport’s second in its debut season in the American Le Mans Series – following on from its win at Long Beach earlier this year.
In four races to date, the team has scored six podiums out of a possible eight finishes and finished every race.
The Rock Hill, SC-based squad will now set its sights on another solid performance at the next round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 6.
Gunnar Jeannette “Today was pretty awesome. Ricardo and the team made that so easy for me today. When I got in the car the guys told me I had a lap and half lead to second place so I immediately went into cruise mode and made sure I didn’t do anything silly to ruin the day.
“I can’t say enough about the CORE autosport team. The boy’s motto is ‘never quit’ and they showed that today when the #05 car went a couple of laps down due to contact but the guys got them back out and they ended up second.
“It just goes to show you should never give up.
“We’re stoked with the result. It is great for the championship but we can’t think about that too much.
“We’ll take the team’s first 1-2 today – it was a very good day. If you are a real racecar driver you have to love Mosport. It really is a challenging track and it is great to come back and win here again for the second year in a row.”
“I’m very happy. Our aim from the beginning was to have a fast opening stint and get a gap so we could finish the race calmly, not make mistakes and be hurried towards the end of the race.
“That was the plan at the last race, but our strategy didn’t work out.
“I was able to get the lead straight away and get up the inside into the first corner.
“From there on, I started pulling away and was able to open up around a second a lap during the first 15 laps.
“I was pushing very hard the whole time but also worked on being smart through traffic.
“The car was very comfortable. The balance changed a little during the stint but it was very drivable – it was a very nice car.
“Our championship is our main objective and today was one step closer to making that happen.”
“There really aren’t words to describe how happy I am right now. I was hoping one day that our team would finish 1-2 but for it to happen in only our fourth race is really spectacular.
“All the guys did a fantastic job and Frankie and I probably backed into our result today but we both drove really hard.
“Gunnar and Ricardo were really on fire out there. I am really happy for all the boys on the team who have been working very hard to get us to where we are today.
“Racing can be hard and unpredictable but today was a case when you just have to never quit. I had an unforced error when I looped the car trying to make a pass in turns 9-10 early in the race.
“Luckily I didn’t damage the car and the boys dusted me off, sent me back out and we started the climb back.
“Frankie drove the wheels off at the finish and I’m delighted for both of us to get our second podium.”
“I like to keep things quiet on the radio and towards the end I really didn’t know where we were.
“I was just trying to keep my nose clean and work my way through the traffic.
“We had a little slower straight line speed than the other LMPC teams which made it a challenge to pass but we just had to press on.
“It wasn’t until a couple of corners after the finish that my engineer Burke came on the radio and told me we’d finished second.
“I saw the Performance Tech car come into the pits and then I noticed the Field Intersport car on the side of the road so I guessed things were turning out well.
“Jon and I definitely needed to get back on the podium. We’ve had some rough luck in the past couple of races but to finish 1-2 is really great for our team.”
by: core autosport