GRANDAM: Series Montreal race report
After following Ricky Taylor for the opening 24 laps, Fogarty ran two strong laps before his pit stop after the No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet/Dallara pitted. Gurney held the lead after the exchange of pit stops, and was able to maintain the advantage throughout the remainder of the two-hour race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Memo Rojas sustained minor bodywork damage in the Daytona Prototype championship-leading No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley co-driven by Scott Pruett. The team went on to finish fifth, and hold a 20-point lead (353-333) entering the final round at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sept. 27. Pruett and Rojas can clinch their third DP championship in four years by competing 30 minutes and finishing at least 16th in the season finale.
Darren Law and David Donohue finished third in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Porsche/Riley, followed by the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Chevrolet/Coyote of Paul Edwards and Antonio Garcia.
The GT race also saw a major turnaround. Robin Liddell and Ronnie Bremer co-drove the No. 57 Chevrolet Camaro to the class victory, giving Stevenson Motorsports its third victory in four years at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The No. 57 team’s triumph came one week after they led the most laps but finished 20th at Watkins Glen International.
Liddell led the final 27 laps despite repeated efforts by Jonathan Bomarito in the No. 70 Mazdaspeed/Castrol Edge Mazda RX-8 started by Montreal native Sylvain Tremblay. Bomarito was able to pull alongside the leader on the final lap, but Liddell held the lead through the final turn and won by .289 seconds. Finishing third, another tenth of a second back, was the No. 41 Seattle Children’s Hospital/Bass 2 Billfish/Fishingcapital.com Mazda RX-8 of James Gue and Dane Cameron.
Bill Lester and Jordan Taylor finished ninth in the No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, retaining a three-point lead entering the season finale. Leh Keen and Andrew Davis finished fifth in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup to close the gap to 294-291 points. Tremblay and Bomarito now have 289 points, five behind the points leaders.
Boris Said won the pole and led 11 laps in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette. Owen Kelly lost the brakes in the closing laps and spun into the barrier at the pit exit, resulting in the lone caution period in the event.
Paul Edwards and Antonio Garcia finished fourth, their best finish of the season in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Chevrolet/Coyote.
Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett finished fifth in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley, only the second time all season they failed to finish first or second.
Making his second start in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW M3, Billy Johnson finished fourth in GT, giving Paul Dalla Lana his best finish in seven races.
Craig Stanton and John Potter appeared to be headed for their second consecutive podium finish in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3, but a late pit stop relegated them to a seventh-place finish.
Mike Skeen – running at Montreal for the first time – was fastest in Thursday’s afternoon practice in the No. 07 The Cool TV/Mobile 1 Chevrolet Camaro.
2 – Number of laps led by both David Donohue and Darren Law
3 – Number of Montreal victories for Robin Liddell and Stevenson Motorsports
16 – Consecutive Rolex Series races led by Ricky Taylor
50 – GT laps led for the second consecutive race by the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, 27 for Robin Liddell and 23 for Ronnie Bremer
96.050 – Speed in miles per hour of Billy Johnson’s fastest GT race lap
“We’ve been trying really hard to win here the last five years. We’ve had fast cars, but were never able to capitalize. Today we knew our car was really good. After Watkins Glen, we wanted to win the last two races, and I’m stoked we were able to pull it off here.” Alex Gurney, No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley
“After Ricky made his pit stop, I ran a couple of good, quick laps. I almost crashed coming into the pits, I was trying so hard. That was the turning point, coming out of the pits ahead of the SunTrust team.” Jon Fogarty, No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley
“I was hoping the race would stay green, because my car was getting better and better. But I lost time on the restart, and that killed me.” – Max Angelelli, No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet/Dallara
“Every lap for the last 30 minutes felt like a qualifying lap. We were not leaving anything on the table trying to stay ahead.” Robin Liddell, No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro? “Today was real special for me, being on the podium with lots of friends and relatives from my hometown. We almost got them at the end. We raced them like they raced us, nice and clean.” – Sylvain Tremblay, No. 70 Mazdaspeed/Castrol Edge Mazda RX-8
“This track requires so much commitment and trust that you’re not going to take the wall down.” – Boris Said, No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette
The Next Race:
The Rolex Series will wrap up its 2011 season with the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a two-hour, 45-minute race on Saturday, Sept. 17. This will be the first time that the 13-turn, 2.258- mile circuit in Lexington, Ohio, hosts the GRAND-AM finale.