Gerardo Bonilla opens the 2007 IMSA Lites Championship with dual wins at Sebring Orlando, FL - March 19, 2007 - Gerardo Bonilla, the 2006 Star Mazda Sebring race winner, won both IMSA Lites races held this weekend in support of the American...
Gerardo Bonilla opens the 2007 IMSA Lites Championship with dual wins at Sebring
Orlando, FL - March 19, 2007 - Gerardo Bonilla, the 2006 Star Mazda Sebring race winner, won both IMSA Lites races held this weekend in support of the American LeMans Series 12-Hours of Sebring. Bonilla has extended his Sebring winning streak to five races dating back to his 2005 Skip Barber National Championship double-win.
Driving his B-K Motorsports prepared Elan DP-02 racecar, Gerardo Bonilla overcame unfamiliarity with a car he had never driven until two days before his first race. Rising to the challenge, he won Pole position in a field of 30 cars.
In Race 1, starting from Pole, Bonilla immediately built a gap to second place driver Tonis Kasmets. Several laps into the race the track became greasy, making life difficult for all the drivers. After a caution, Bonilla survived a tough restart, slipping in nearly every corner. "That was one of the hardest single laps I've ever done in a race car," related Bonilla. "The track had gotten so slick, it was everything I could do to stay on the pavement. Fortunately, everyone else was having the same problem." Another crash led to another caution period, which lasted until the checkered flag with Bonilla in the lead.
In Race 2, starting from 2nd on a wet racetrack, Gerardo followed Tonis Kasmets for the opening laps. After two laps Kasmets had a comfortable lead, but a caution allowed Gerardo to close the gap. On the restart Bonilla timed his start well, making a very close pass for the lead into Turn 1. Another caution period would lead to a finish under yellow. "Tonis was so good those first two laps in the wet, especially in the brake zones," exclaimed a happy Gerardo. "I just went to school on him, learning what the Hankook tires were capable of, then added another 2% to get by him and pull away on the restart. It was a great mental exercise. I must also thank Thomas, Steve, and Mike from the LMP2 team for their help with my car preparation."