Canadians Maxwell, Holtom Lead Friday's Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Practice Session at Trois-Rivieres Both drivers shooting for Canadian sweep this weekend in KONI action TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Canada (Aug. 15, 2008) - Canadian drivers ...
Canadians Maxwell, Holtom Lead Friday's Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series
Practice Session at Trois-Rivieres
Both drivers shooting for Canadian sweep this weekend in KONI action
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Canada (Aug. 15, 2008) - Canadian drivers Scott Maxwell and Jamie Holtom hope to go two-for-two in Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series competition this weekend in Canada, but for now, they will just settle for being the quickest drivers in their respective classes on the first day of practice at Le Circuit de Trois-Rivieres.
Maxwell turned a time of 1:11.534 (76.545 mph) in the No. 55 Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT during Friday's second Grand Sport (GS) practice session on the 1.521-mile course and hopes the car will start from the pole position after he and co-driver Joe Foster emerge from Saturday morning's qualifying efforts. Maxwell, of Toronto, and Foster earned their first of two victories this season in June at Mosport International Raceway.
"I was just going in thinking how the car's going to be in the race, so I did both the run on really old tires and the run on new tires - just to see the difference and see where we're at," Maxwell said. "We always go quickly on new tires but old tires are key because that's how you finish the race. The car felt strong on both sets of tires. I'm satisfied.
"At this place, Trois-Rivieres, the typical street track; it's very hard on brakes," Maxwell continued. "Especially on the Mustangs and the Mustangs typically are hard on tires as well. You want to be able to go quick without abusing the brakes and at the same time not slide the car around and tear up the tires. We definitely seem to be easy on the tires but we're always concerned about brakes. You really can't tell until the race goes around. You can't go quite as quick in the race as you can in practice and qualifying just in order to save the brakes. The brakes are the concern."
Meanwhile, Holtom, of Ottawa, led the ST practice overall with a time of 1:15.258 (72.758 mph) during Friday's first practice session. Holtom will also look for his second Canadian victory this season after he and Eric Curran won at Mosport. Andy Lally, who finished second in last year's GS race and the most recent winner in GS competition - Sunday at Iowa Speedway -, will drive with Holtom in the No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS.
"Anybody can go out there and have a fast car and put in a really good lap but at the end of the day I think brakes win you this race," Holtom said. "We've been working really hard on it and put a lot of work into it. The Georgian Bay Motorsports guys and the guys from Chevrolet put awesome brakes on the car and it's been stable all day. You know I think we will be able to go out and run competitive times in the race and in qualifying as well.
"It would be great if we could win both Canadian races; we won Mosport already," Holtom continued. "So if we win this one too I think we will all be ecstatic for sure. There's a big difference between Quebec and Ontario but they're no less Canadian here. It would mean a ton to this team, absolutely.
"The biggest issue here has to be the brakes but other than that you have to setup the car so that you can carry lots of speed through the corners so you don't have to slow down the car. It's a combination of having really good brakes that will last all race long and also setting the car up so that I can carry speed, rather than having to stop, turn the car in the middle of the corner and having to accelerate out."
Lally was also second in GS competition with a time of 1:12.050 (75.997 mph) in the No. 87 Kinetic Motorsports BMW M3 he shares with St. Leonard d'Aston, Quebec driver Marc-Antoine Camirand. Camirand is running in four races this weekend - including the GS and ST events - and hopes to become the all-time leader in victories at the track.
"It's always good to come out here to Trois-Rivieres," Lally said. "It's always good to be fast obviously. You know Kinetic has given me a really good car today and I've got a great teammate and a great group of guys that are hustling on our Maxwell Paper M3. I can't wait to get this race started. It hate that it's Sunday. I just want to get it over with before anybody else figures out their cars any better. We're going to have three or four cars that are going to be real strong - the usual suspects here that we're going to have to deal with. That's just going to make for a great event.
"The Mustangs are always strong here on Torque and fortunate for them this race is a morning race because they're usually not got on brakes," Lally continued. "A little cooler ambient air will help them out a little bit and it might be a real big point for them. The BMW handles very well. It's geared well for this track and it brakes very well. We're going to have braking challenges. We'll be able to out-brake the Mustangs, but we're going to be right on par with the Porsche's. Probably right on par with power with the Porsches, too. I look forward to their being three different makes up there all day long on Sunday."
James Gue was third in the No. 37 JBS Motorsports Trumansburg Shursave Ford Mustang GT (1:12.250; 75.787 mph) he shares with Bret Seafuse. Spencer Pumpelly took fourth in the No. 39 TRG Porsche 997 (1:12.277; 75.759 mph) he co-drives with Duncan Ende, and Charles Espenlaub earned the fifth fastest time (1:12.279; 75.756 mph) in the No. 91 Automatic Racing BMW M3 he shares with Charlie Putman.
"Not only is this a Canadian track and that mean's a lot to our whole team," said Gue, who together with Seafuse has five top-10 finishes in six starts this season. "The crowd is here is really knowledgeable and there is a lot of history here at Trois-Rivieres, so winning means a lot. People appreciate racing here and they understand racing here and winning Trois-Rivieres is like winning Long Beach in the U.S. It's a historic street race and something you remember for a long time."
Defending race winner Bill Auberlen and co-driver Matthew Alhadeff were sixth in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 (1:12.463; 75.564 mph), while GS point co-leaders Jep Thornton and Jeff Segal were eighth in their No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3 (1:12.534; 75.490 mph). Brothers Jean-Francois and Louis-Philippe Dumoulin of Trois-Rivieres were 13th in the No. 83 BGB Motorsports Porsche 997 (1:12.825; 75.188 mph).
"I am very happy to be with the BGB team," Louis-Philippe Dumoulin said. "They gave me a very good car this afternoon. We have to improve on a few things here and there but where we're at I'm really happy. I'm looking forward to it tomorrow morning when I have to qualify. I'm going to be qualifying the car and Jeff is going to be ending the race. We'll try to have the best car to be in the top five in qualifying. We really want to have the car that's going to be the most efficient for the whole race.
"A victory would be awesome," he continued. "All of our family is here; friends and sponsors are all here in Trois-Rivieres. That would be just marvelous. We'll keep working at it though."
In ST, the Canadian ties didn't stop with Holtom. The Toronto-based Compass360 Racing team, with a series-high four cars entered for this weekend, was second and third in the final overall rundown, with their top two cars in practice separated by only one thousandth of a second. Adam Burrows was second in the No. 76 Compass360 Racing Acura TSX (1:15.441; 72.581 mph) he shares with Trevor Hopwood, while Oakville, Ontario's Ken Wilden was third in the No. 75 Compass360 Racing Acura TSX (1:15.442; 72.580 mph).
"The car was quick off the truck," Burrows said. "The car did an awesome job with the setup. The car worked so well. Trevor and I just love this track. It suits our driving style and its just great fun. The crowd is fabulous. We're looking forward to a good race tomorrow."
Randy Pobst was fourth on the charts in the No. 181 APR Motorsport Volkswagen GTI (1:15.506; 72.519 mph) he shares with Mark White, and Owen Trinkler was fifth in the No. 196 RSR Motorsports Mini Cooper S (1:15.681; 72.351 mph), co-driven by BJ Zacharias and team owner Randy Smalley.
Camirand was sixth in the No. 128 Fountain Motorsports BMW 330i (1:15.796; 72.241 mph) with Guy Cosmo, and Jocelyn Hebert of Becancour, Quebec and Cyril Hamelin of Trois-Rivieres were 13th in the No. 189 89 Racing Team Honda Civic Si (1:16.209; 71.850 mph).
Kuno and Nick Wittmer, the defending ST race winners from Hudson, Quebec, were 16th on the charts in the No. 32 i-MOTO Racing Acura TSX (1:16.283; 71.780 mph), while point co-leaders Chuck Hemmingson and Kristian Skavnes were 18th in the No. 111 ICY/Phoenix Racing Subaru Legacy (1:16.385; 71.684 mph).
ST qualifying begins at 8:20 a.m. Saturday with GS following at 8:50 a.m.