Pat Jennings, Grand-Am Correspondent
Fogarty & Gurney handily take Montreal victory; Stevenson Motorsports wins GT class
The pole sitting Gainsco Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley shared by Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney won for the second time this season Saturday, leading 45 of 73 laps at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve to take the checkered flag in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Montreal 200.
It was the best car we’ve had all year.
Gurney held a comfortable lead over Ricky Taylor’s SunTrust Racing Chevrolet Dallara in the closing laps of the event and it looked as if the lanky, second-generation driver would easily cruise to the win. But the race’s only caution period came with about ten minutes remaining in the two-hour race. The yellow allowed Taylor and the rest of the field to close up on Gurney as the field circulated behind the safety car. Despite struggling with a broken cool suit that forced him to have to open the door to his car under the yellow to cool off, Gurney drove away from Taylor on the restart with ease, opening up a 15-car length gap in just a few turns. Gurney ended up crossing the finish line almost two seconds ahead of Taylor.
“It was the best car we’ve had all year,” said Gurney. “We rolled off (the truck) quick and Jon did and awesome job in qualifying. We’ve been trying to hard to win here for the last five years. This is awesome.”
Taylor’s second-place finish kept him in contention for the Daytona Prototype drivers championship with one race remaining in 2011. He and teammate Max Angelelli lie 20 points behind Ganassi Racing’s Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. The maximum number of points a driver can amass in a Rolex Series race is 35, meaning that the Ganassi team would probably have to experience quite a bit of bad luck to lose the championship.
“The championship’s going to be tough,” admitted Taylor, who led the race’s first 24 laps. “The (Gainsco) car was really tough today. But we did we all we could. We got some good points.”
The No. 5 Action Express Racing Porsche Riley of Darren Law and David Donohue led four laps and rounded out the top-three in the headlining Daytona Prototype class, followed by the Spirit of Daytona Chevrolet Coyote driven by Paul Edwards and Antonio Garcia and the Ganassi Racing BMW Riley of Pruett and Rojas.
“We knew we had a decent car today,” explained Law. “David had a great first stint. We had a third place car and we finished up third. It is nice to back on the podium.”
Robin Liddell and Ronnie Bremer won the GT class in the Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro GT.R. A pair of Mazda RX-8s finished second and third, with the SpeedSource entry of Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito edging out the Dempsey Racing car shared by James Gue and Dane Cameron.
The GT class points leading Autohaus Camaro ended up ninth in class, meaning that the drivers of that car, Bill Lester and Jordan Taylor, now hold a three-point lead over the Brumos Porsche drivers, Andrew Davis and Leh Keen, who finished fifth, in the GT class drivers’ standings. Bomarito and Tremblay are only five points behind the Autohaus drivers.
The Rolex Series’ final race will be Saturday, September 17 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.