Mexico City: GM Racing race report

Pontiac Wins DP, Pontiac Wins GT In Mexico City Riley- Matthews wins DP and Stevenson Motorsports wins GT Mexico City, Mexico, April 19, 2008 -- Marc Goossens and Jim Matthews drove to the win today in the Daytona Prototype (DP) class in round...

Pontiac Wins DP, Pontiac Wins GT In Mexico City
Riley- Matthews wins DP and Stevenson Motorsports wins GT

Mexico City, Mexico, April 19, 2008 -- Marc Goossens and Jim Matthews drove to the win today in the Daytona Prototype (DP) class in round three of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Mexico City 250. In GT Stevenson Motorsports drivers Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell drove to victory in their Pontiac GXP.R.

Jim Matthews started the No. 91 Riley-Mathews Pontiac from deep in the field. Matthews turned over the controls to Goossens who set about utilizing excellent pit strategy to march through the field to the victory. The Belgian made a competitive pass for the lead on lap 71 and never looked back.

"I am glad we come to Mexico to race," Goossens said. "The track is great, although it is a little dusty. I had a lot of pressure the last third of the race. I couldn't relax for a second. The 01 car was all over me and then the 76 came up as well. My team did a great job in the pits and with the strategy. The car was a little slow down the long straight, but we were able to make it up in the back section. I was able to control the race and get through the slower traffic and win."

Ricardo Zonta and Nic Jonsson posted the best finish for their new Lola today with a strong third place. The team from Atlanta used strong strategy to move up from their seventh place qualifying position to take the last step on the podium

"It was a really good finish," Zonta said. "The only problem was on the restart we lost a little bit because of the speed on the straights and also the cold tires. The first two laps the tires were maybe too cold or low pressure. It made it quite difficult to hold the position. I'm very happy to finish third. I think our car was quicker over the corners, but we couldn't overtake the cars on the straights. I'm very happy and I think Nic did a very good job as well. It is good for the team and for our points for the season as well."

Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty had to fight from a differing strategy to come home in fourth. The team from Texas had the fans baffled when Fogarty came down pit road on the first lap. The team was forced to leave Fogarty out for a long stint before changing over to Gurney for the finish.

"I think we were just trying to race the yellow," said Gurney. "We recovered from that and lost some positions which are a pretty hard to get back here, but the car was very good and hung in there on old tires, it seemed, better than the other guys. I really got very few breaks in traffic and it seemed like I was following a GT car through the esses almost every lap. I think if I was able to run free, I was a little quicker than the guys in front of me, but it didn't happen. We are encouraged by the speed of the car and it was a fun race, but I just got no brakes in traffic at all."

Tracy Krohn and Eric van de Poele just missed the top ten in their Krohn Pontiac Lola. Krohn had early contact causing him to pit out of sequence costing the team owner valuable track position. Van de Poele, together with the team, was able to stay on the lead lap and finish in 11th.

"It was just a fun race to watch," Krohn said. "Coming out here with a first-year car and getting on the podium the third race of the season and second with the new car is just great news. We were down a little bit on straight-line speed so hopefully we'll work on that a little bit. Nic and Ricardo just did an awesome job. Eric also drove a great race. We were down a little bit on straight-line speed in our car as well. He had a little bit of bad luck on a couple of restarts but he did spectacular. It was a great race and we're excited to finish in the Top 10. It was a great day for Krohn Racing."

Max Angelelli was hit from behind as he completed a pass through the very fast last turn. The Italian got turned around and into the wall ending the day for the SunTrust team and causing heavy damage to their new Dallara.

"I was in front of him, completely overtaking him, in the middle of the corner," Angelelli said. "I moved over to the right and he hit me in the back. What can I say? He hit me in the back. I was by him. He should have given up (the position)."

In only their third outing with the Pontiac GXP.R, Stevenson Motorsports won the GT race today. Andrew Davis started from the second row and kept the No. 57 Pontiac in the top five. Robin Liddell took over and through a very long run on the track with old tires was able to secure the team's first ever Grand-Am win.

"We had to overcome a lot this weekend," Liddell said. "We were coming off of a difficult Daytona and Homestead races, where we did not have the finishes that this team is capable of. In addition, Mike Johnson, our team manager, had to leave on Thursday because his wife was having a baby. He returned this morning and went right to work. The team had excellent pit strategy. We decided to stay out and work the yellows on the long run and it paid off. I almost got taken out when the 16 spun in front of me, but other than that it was pretty fault free. A great first win for the team."

In second was the Homestead winning duo of Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards. Kelly Collins started the 07 Banner Pontiac from outside the front row. He managed the start like a true professional maintaining his second place position. The team called in Collins under the first yellow on lap 21, getting teammate Edwards back on the track and in the lead.

"It was a good race upfront all day," Edwards said. "The 57 and the 87 and our 07 were locked in a battle. Also Ron Fellows was running upfront in the 06 as well. We were able to lead a lot of laps and had to pit late. There was still time to come back to second, but not enough time to get by the 57. We are leading the points championship now in GT and have a lot of momentum going into VIR."

In the No. 72 Autohaus Pontiac Tim Lewis Jr. started from the fourth row and ran as high as fifth during his stint. The Autohaus crew managed through the pit strategy, making two more stops than the other GT competitors and still managed a strong fourth place finish. The result was the team's best of the young season.

"I was dicing with a Porsche and ended up having some contact to get by," Aschenbach said. "We had a consistent car and I was able to complete some strong passes into turn 11. We had the throttle start to stick when I left the pits. I came in once and then went back out. The second time I came in they changed the return spring and that fixed it. That put us back a little. I was able to drive up through the field and then I spun. These guys deserved a better a finish than that today."

In the No. 06 Banner Pontiac GXP.R Leighton Reese started from his tenth place qualifying position and moved up the field before handing over to weekend teammate Ron Fellows. Fellows was relying on the team's strategy to keep him out for a long stint and up toward the front of the field, running as high as second place. A late race pit stop relegated the veterans to a seventh place finish.

"We had a pretty good car," Fellows said. "We didn't have a great start and the car seemed a little down on top speed down the straight. I was out there a long time on my first set of tires, maybe a half-dozen laps too long. We were also out of sequence on the stops and had to come in for a splash late. The team does a good job prepping the car and the pit stops are fast, I had fun."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ricardo Zonta , Alex Gurney , Jon Fogarty , Ron Fellows , Marc Goossens , Eric van de Poele , Robin Liddell , Kelly Collins , Leighton Reese , Max Angelelli , Jim Matthews , Andrew Davis , Mike Johnson , Tracy Krohn , Tim Lewis , Nic Jonsson
Teams Krohn Racing , Stevenson Motorsports