KUNO WITTMER WINS HIS FOURTH HONDA/MICHELIN RACE AT CIRCUIT MONT-TREMBLANT
Mont-Tremblant, QC, September 25, 2005 - Under slippery damp track conditions, polesitter Kuno Wittmer of Hudson (QC) led flag to flag to score his fourth Honda/Michelin Challenge Series race of the season in round 8 held Sunday at Circuit Mont-Tremblant. The Honda de Sigi driver crossed the finish line only half a second ahead of his younger brother Nick Wittmer. Nick, who started from fourth place, was already in second place at the exit of turn two of the race. Starting in fifth, Steven Laporte followed Nick right off the start and settled into third looking for a way to pass the Wittmer brothers for the next 13 laps, but to no avail.
''My brother Nick tried to pass me several times but I was able to keep him at bay every time but once,'' said Kuno Wittmer who now leads the championship race by three points over Laporte. ''Once he did pass me but he was carrying too much speed into the next corner and I got him back. He was quicker than I was in the second half of the track, but I was always pulling away in the other half. It's a great 1-2 finish for the Honda de Sigi AutoSport team. We are going into the final race of the season in the lead and that's what I wanted.''
As for Nick Wittmer, he had a great start going four wide on the outside of corner two to gain two positions at the start. ''I out braked everyone but Kuno going into that corner and pulled it off,'' mentioned Nick who is still in the championship hunt in third place, only four points back from his brother Kuno and one point back from Laporte in second place. ''I stuck on Kuno's tail and tried at just about every corner to pass him, but he never made a mistake. My Honda de Sainte-Rose was so identical to Kuno's that only a driver's mistake could have made a difference.''
Steven Laporte would have preferred that the race finish would have been reversed. His third place finish cost him the lead in the standings. The Lombardi Honda Racing team driver now sits in second overall following his third place race finish.
''This was a tough race,'' said Laporte who crossed the line two seconds behind Kuno in the race. ''The Michelin rain tires were great, but unfortunately most of the other drivers were also using them. I had a good start coming from fifth to third, but there was no way I could pass the Wittmers if they did not make a mistake. I had a mechanical problem in qualifying on Saturday that cost me the championship lead today. Pole is everything. It's not over yet but I will need a perfect weekend with the pole and the win at Mosport in order for me and the Lombardi team to repeat as series champion.'' Sylvain Ouellet of Louiseville (QC) finished fourth ahead of Montrealer Denis Baillargeon. Didier Schraenen was next in sixth followed by Jacques Lelièvre and Emmanuel Boivin-Moreau. Jeff Pabst of Georgetown (ON) and rookie Tyler Givogue round out the top ten.
The Provisional Standings
In the provisional points standing after eight rounds, race winner Kuno Wittmer is the new points leader with 241, three more than series defending champion Steven Laporte. Nick Wittmer is still in third with 237. Didier Schraenen remains in fourth place with 216 points, followed by Lelièvre with 179 points. In the rookie standings, Tyler Givogue of Ottawa leads with 149 points, followed by his 16-year old rookie teammate Philip Major with 116 points. Matt Champagne of Fonthill (ON) is third, two points back from Major.
The Next Race
The Honda/Michelin Challenge Series concludes its 2005 racing season next weekend at Mosport International Raceway. The final race of the season will determine the 2005 series champion and the rookie of the year.