BESNARD CAPS OFF RECORD-SETTING F2000 SEASON WITH THRILLING EIGHTH WIN
FOUNTAIN, Colo. (September 27, 1998) David Besnard, of Sydney, Australia, wrapped-up the 1998 U.S. F2000 National Championship in record-setting fashion, winning his eighth race of the season at the Pikes Peak International Raceway Children's Hospital Grand Prix of Colorado. Andy Lally and Robby McGehee completed the top-three.
Driving the No. 13 Primus Racing Karts Van Diemen Ford, Besnard averaged 76.810 mph for the 36-lap, 48.24-mile contest to beat Lally, of Northport, N.Y., by 0.887-second. After starting on his record eighth pole, Besnard led the initial 28 laps under green before caution came out for a car parked in a dangerous position.
The lap-33 restart set up a four-lap dash to the finish and Marc-Antoine Camirand, of Trois- Rivieres, Que., Can., took the lead in a daring outside pass in the turn-three hairpin. Besnard came inside Camirand in the same spot the following lap, forcing Camirand into the grass on the exit, relegating him to fifth. From there, Lally took second after starting 11th, following Besnard the final two laps to the finish.
"After Marc-Antoine (Camirand) passed me, I out-braked him into turn three and thought he pulled in behind me, so I took my normal line," said Besnard, who broke Chris Simmons' record of seven wins in a season. "I looked in my mirror and saw Andy (Lally) right behind me and didn't see Marc until he was in the grass. He was in my blind spot not an intentional move."
Lally, who led much of Saturday's contest in the No. 5 Red Line Oil/Highcroft/Maida Bowman Ford before retiring after an accident, charged from 11th on the grid to take second for the second time this year. Lally's performance earned him fourth place in the Championship after Camirand's fifth place.
"My tires heated up, but the yellow flag let them cool down," said Lally. "I was good at anticipating the restarts and was able to be on the gas hard before anyone else. We're real happy to be on the podium to finish the season."
McGehee, of St. Louis, Mo., came across the finish line fourth, but was credited with third after Ryan Hampton, of Glendora, Calif., was disqualified after a foreign substance was discovered on Hampton's tires in post-race technical inspection.
The disqualification of Hampton did not affect the final point standings. Hampton remains second behind Besnard's 384, with 275 points, with McGehee in third, with 270.
Camirand was credited with fourth, with Key Tours Teammate and three-time Tour de France Champion Greg LeMond in fifth. Lally's run from 11th earned him the Taylor Race Engineering "Shark" Award for improving nine positions. Mirl Swan, of Topeka, Kansas, won the "B" Class and the Competition Data Systems Drive of the Day.