NICK WITTMER WINS THE SEASON FINALE AND HIS BROTHER KUNO WITTMER TAKES THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Bowmanville, ON, October 2, 2005 - Nick Wittmer won the Honda/Michelin Challenge Series season finale held Sunday at Mosport International Raceway, but it was his brother Kuno who took the spoils by winning his first-ever Canadian road racing championship. Nick Wittmer, of Hudson (QC), crossed the finish line only 0.085 seconds ahead of Frederick Lelièvre of Mont-Joli (QC) and Kuno Wittmer finished third. Starting on the pole Kuno Wittmer led with his Honda de Sigi Autosport Civic DX Coupe for the first 11 laps before being overtaken by his brother Nick who led the next three circuits. Lelièvre then took the lead from Nick Wittmer for the next two laps, but Nick fought back to take the final lead on lap 16 of 18 to score his third win of the season.
Fourth place went to Didier Schraenen of Mont-Saint-Hilaire (QC) followed by Lombardi Honda Racing teammates Robert Boyer and Steven Laporte, both from Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs. Laporte started third but went off course in turn five on lap 7 seven cutting the left rear tire. The 2004 series champion had to pit, but was fortunate that a full course caution kept him on the lead lap. Laporte went from 15th on lap 10 to finish sixth overall.
Sylvain Ouellet finished seventh ahead of Emmanuel Boivin-Moreau. Jeff Pabst of Newmarket (ON) and rookie Philip Major of Ottawa round out the top-10.
''When I heard that Steven (Laporte) was in the pits for a flat tire, it took a big load of my chest,'' said Kuno Wittmer, the new series champion. ''When my brother Nick took first place from me, I didn't really resist, but Fred (Lelièvre) totally surprised me with his move on the same lap to take second away from me. Winning a race is very important, but today, the championship was on the line and I had to finish at least third to win the title. The Honda de Sigi AutoSport team did a great job all year and this championship is also theirs.''
The race winner was also a very happy driver after the race. ''The Honda de Sigi strategy was to try and run away from Steven (Laporte),'' said Nick Wittmer. ''When he went into the pits for repairs, we knew that our chances to win the title were pretty good then. But, the full course caution changed everything because we know that Steven can weave his way up the field in no time. Fortunately, things turned out okay for us even though Fred (Lelièvre) became an important factor in the race in the second half of the event.'' ''I really wanted that win,'' said Frederick Lelièvre who has three podiums this season. ''It's been two long years and this one was real close at the finish. Nick was quicker in the first part of the course and I was giving him a hard time in the last three corners. I got him once, but could not do it again on the last lap.''
The Provisional Standings
In the provisional points standing after the ninth and final round, Kuno Wittmer secured the 2005 Honda/Michelin Series crown. Kuno scored a total of 272 points to edge his younger brother Nick by only 1 point. Third place went to Steven Laporte with 262 points, followed by Didier Schraenen (243) and Frederick Lelièvre (211). Robert Boyer finished sixth with 197 points ahead of Emmanuel Boivin-Moreau (170) and Alex Penfold (157) of Georgetown (ON). Tyler Givogue finished ninth overall with 149 points but won the rookie of the year title. Tenth place went to Kris Rams of Toronto.