PLAYER'S-FORSYTHE JUMPS BACK INTO CHAMPIONSHIP PICTURE WITH 1-2 FINISH AT PLAYER'S CHALLENGE AT GRAND PRIX PLAYER'S DU CANADA MONTREAL, Que., June 6, 1998 - Lee Bentham passed Player's-Forsythe teammate Alexandre Tagliani just before...
PLAYER'S-FORSYTHE JUMPS BACK INTO CHAMPIONSHIP PICTURE WITH 1-2 FINISH AT PLAYER'S CHALLENGE AT GRAND PRIX PLAYER'S DU CANADA
MONTREAL, Que., June 6, 1998 - Lee Bentham passed Player's-Forsythe teammate Alexandre Tagliani just before the last turn Saturday to win Round Five of the KOOL /Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Player's Challenge at the Grand Prix Player's du Canada.
Bentham, of Richmond Hill, Ont., started on the pole in his Player's-Indeck Swift 008.a, but had to fight off Tagliani, of Lachenaie, Que., and Lynx Racing's Buddy Rice, of Phoenix, Ariz., throughout the 27-lap race on the Circuit-Gilles Villeneuve. Tagliani passed Bentham just before the final lap for the lead only to see Bentham return the favor at the same spot on the final lap. Bentham beat Tagliani by .074 of a second. Rice, who led the race three times in his Lynx Racing Ralt RT-41, finished third. There were 10 lead changes between the three drivers. Points leader Memo Gidley, Rice's teammate, fell out of the race on the third lap with mechanical problems, finishing 32nd. Gidley, of Novato, Calif., continues to lead the championship with 74 points. Andrew Bordin of Woodbridge, Ont., finished fifth and remains second in the points with 70. Bentham's victory moved him past Rice into third in the points with 58. Rice is fourth with 56 points. The opening round of the $70,000 Player's Challenge for Canadian-based events was wild from the start. Rice, who started third, slipped past front-row starters Bentham and Tagliani, on the standing start, taking the lead on the first lap. Tagliani then passed Rice on the next lap. At that point, Tagliani and Rice swapped the lead four more times before Bentham took the lead on lap 17. From there, it was Tagliani and Bentham fighting each other for the lead.
Tagliani made a brilliant move going into the chicane on lap 26, taking the lead, only to have Bentham draft him for the lead on the last lap, narrowly holding off Tagliani at the finish line.
"That was the closest race I've had yet," said Bentham. "I'm happy for the Player's team. Alex did a really good job. He was pushing me the whole way through. Our cars were so evenly matched, it was really a game of chance as to who would get the draft on the last lap and win the race. It couldn't have been any closer than that."
Matt Sielsky, in the D&L Racing - LCI International Ralt RT-41, continued to impress, with his fourth top-four finish of the season and remains fifth in the points at 47. Kenny Wilden, of Burlington, Ont., finished a season-best sixth place in his Mike Shank Racing - TrizecHahn Swift 008.a.
For his dramatic pass with just a few seconds left, Bentham was awarded the $1,000 "KOOL Move of the Race," along with the $1,000 "Yokohama Now You've Got Control" award. Bentham, who started on the pole, won the $1,000 "MCI Fast Pace" award while first-year driver Rice collected the "KOOL Rookie Challenge" award of $1,000. Saturday's Player's Challenge for the KOOL /Toyota Atlantic Championship will be broadcast the following Saturday, June 13, on ESPN2 and ESPN International at 5:30 p.m., with repeat broadcasts on ESPN2 on July 2, July 3 and July 5. CTV will broadcast the race in Canada on Saturday, June 13, at 4 p.m. All times are Eastern. Round 6 of the 1998 KOOL /Toyota Atlantic Championship will be held July 11 at the Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland.
MONTREAL, Que. -- Results Saturday's of the 27-lap, 73.683-mile KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Grand Prix Player's du Canada, with finishing position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out. 1. (1), Lee Bentham, Richmond Hill, Ont., Swift 008.a, 27. 2. (2), Alexandre Tagliani, Lachenaie, Que., Swift 008.a, 27. 3. (3), Buddy Rice, Phoenix, Ariz., Ralt RT-41, 27. 4. (7), Matt Sielsky, Northbrook, Ill., Ralt RT-41, 27, crash. 5. (5), Andrew Bordin, Woodbridge, Ont., Ralt RT-41, 27. 6. (14), Kenny Wilden, Burlington, Ont., Swift 008.a, 27. 7. (18), Michael David, Corona, Calif., Ralt RT-41, 27. 8. (21), Rob MacDonald, Keswick, Ont., Swift 008.a, 27. 9. (11), Masaoki Nagashima, Japan, Swift 008.a, 27. 10. (4), Anthony Lazzaro, Acworth, Ga., Swift 008.a, 27. 11. (9), Andrea Delorenzi, Italy, Ralt RT-41, 27. 12. (27), David Rutledge, West Vancouver, B.C., Swift 008.a, 27. 13. (36), Robert Sollenskog, Antioch, Ill., Swift 008.a, 26. 14. (23), Joe Sposato, Arcadia, Calif., Ralt RT-41, 26. 15. (22), Zak Brown, Indianapolis, Ind., Swift 008.a, 26. 16. (30), George Frazier, Prospect, Ky., Ralt RT-41, 25. 17. (33), Kevin Cogan, Plattsburgh, N.Y., Raven RVN 93, 25. 18. (26), Alessandro Cerundolo, Montreal, Que., Ralt RT-40, 24. 19. (17), Eric Lang, New York, N.Y., Ralt RT-41, 20, crash. 20. (19), Cam Binder, Calgary, Canada, Swift 008.a, 20, crash. 21. (35), John Rutherford, Ft. Worth, Texas, Swift 008.a, 18. 22. (28), Jean-Francois Dumoulin, Trois-Rivieres, Que., Ralt RT-41, 17, off course. 23. (20), Mark Tague, Laguna Hills, Calif., Ralt RT-41, 14, suspension. 24. (34), Pierre Gonyou, Los Angeles, Calif., Swift 008.a, 13, tire. 25. (31), Stephane Roy, Saint-Sauver, Que., Ralt RT-40, 12, mechanical. 26. (32), Bob Siska, San Francisco, Calif., Ralt RT-40, 10, electrical. 27. (24), Steve Forrer, Mequon, Wis., Ralt RT-40, 9, oil leak. 28. (25), Sergi Szortyka, Sinking Spring, Pa., Ralt RT-41, 8, suspension. 29. (15), David Pook, Long Beach, Calif., Swift 008.a, 8, gear box. 30. (10), Case Montgomery, Salinas, Calif., Swift 008.a, 7, off course. 31. (8), Derek Hill, Costa Mesa, Calif., Swift 008.a, 7, radiator. 32. (6), Memo Gidley, San Rafael, Calif., Ralt RT-41, 2, gear box. 33. (12), Luc Lesage, Trois-Rivieres, Que., Ralt RT-41, 2, off course. 34. (13), Michael Conte, Seattle, Wash., Ralt RT-41, 2, off course. 35. (16), John Brooks, Tucson, Ariz., Ralt RT-40, 1, off course. Race Statistics: Time of race: 44:32.839. Average speed: 99.242 mph. Margin of victory: .074 sec. Lap leaders: Rice, 1, 11, 14; Tagliani, 2-10, 12-13, 15-16, 20-23, 26; Bentham, 17-19, 24-25, 27. Fastest race lap: Bentham, 1:37.450 (100.814 mph). Points leaders: Gidley, 74; Bordin, 70; Bentham, 58; Rice, 56; Sielsky, 47; Tagliani, 43; Lazzaro, 31; David, 25; Montgomery, 22; Delorenzi, 21. Next race: July 11 at Cleveland.