Bonaccorsi and Tri-Point Motorsports prevail for second time this season. Mazda moves into second in Manufacturers Championship. August 18, 2002. Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. Returning to Mosport International Raceway, site of the first pole...
Bonaccorsi and Tri-Point Motorsports prevail for second time this season. Mazda moves into second in Manufacturers Championship.
August 18, 2002. Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. Returning to Mosport International Raceway, site of the first pole position for the Mazda Protege in SPEED World Challenge Touring Car competition back in May, the Tri-Point Motorsports crew was hoping to build on their prior success after a string of difficult weekends on temporary circuits. In thrilling fashion, Paul Bonaccorsi obliged the team and all it's supporters in attendance to claim his second victory of the season, and thrust Mazda back into the hunt for the manufacturers championship.
"Once again words can't fully describe how it feels to be here right now," an excited Bonaccorsi said afterwards. "This series is so competitive, with all the teams so closely matched, that it makes this second victory even sweeter than the first. I can't thank the team enough for giving me an excellent car, and I also want to thank the Toronto-Area Mazda Dealers for their support this weekend, this victory is for them."
With the intense competition, and parity, between teams in World Challenge competition, qualifying takes on a crucial aspect of weekend success and Bonaccorsi served up notice that he would be a major player in the race, qualifying second overall behind Will Turner. Tri-Point teammates Jeff Altenburg and Shauna Marinus would also position their cars towards the front of the field, bring their cars home in eighth and tenth respectively, despite both having difficulties getting clean runs on the track due to traffic.
With standing starts, the opportunity for triumph or tragedy, of positions lost or gained, often makes the opening laps of World Challenge competition a story in themselves, however this time the start proved almost anti-climactic as Bonaccorsi maintained his second spot, while Altenburg slipped one spot to ninth and Marinus down into thirteenth a the end of the first lap. Altenburg drew first blood on the competition on the third lap, passing both defending series champion Pierre Kleinubing and his teammate Peter Cunningham on the third lap, in what would be a duel until lap eighteen of the twenty-seven lap affair when contact between the two forced Altenburg off track and into a battle to reclaim the positions lost.
Fortunes were changing at the head of the field as well, as Bonaccorsi, unsatisfied with second place, worked his way past Turner and into the lead, a position he would refuse to relinquish for the rest of the event, as the cars entered turn ten at the end of the fifth lap. "The car was a pleasure to drive out there," Bonaccorsi said. "The tires, brakes, handling, everything was working perfectly. I only made one slip there on the last lap and Turner was able to get alongside me into turn ten, but I was able to hold of his final charge to the finish."
While Bonaccorsi was on his way to capturing the checkered, Altenburg and Marinus were fighting mixed fortunes in the closing stages of the race. Recovering from the contact on lap eighteen that dropped him down to eighteenth overall, Altenburg managed to work his way back up a few spots into fourteenth. Marinus, on the other hand, spent the middle laps of the race working her way towards the top ten, only to be collected in turn eight and dropped down to twenty-seventh position. With only two laps remaining Marinus was only able to regain one spot by the end of the event.
With his second victory of the season, Bonaccorsi propels himself into sixth overall in the championship with three races remaining. His victory also helps Mazda add valuable points in the Manufacturers Championship, moving Mazda into second place overall. "Mazda has done so much for us and we'll keep plugging away trying to get them the manufacturers title," Bonaccorsi said. "They've given us a great car with the Protege and victories are the best way of saying thanks!"
Round Nine of the SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship will be held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, on September 20-22. For more information on Tri-Point Motorsports please visit www.tripointengineering.com.