"Hauraney Shines Through Difficult Weekend at Toronto Molson Indy" Uxbridge, Ontario Peterborough native Tim Hauraney fought through a tough weekend at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in his local Toyota Atlantic debut during...
"Hauraney Shines Through Difficult Weekend at Toronto Molson Indy"
Uxbridge, Ontario Peterborough native Tim Hauraney fought through a tough weekend at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in his local Toyota Atlantic debut during the Toronto Molson Indy weekend. After posting the fastest time in Friday's practice session in the C2 class, Hauraney's weekend was a mixed bag of emotions all the way up to Sunday morning's final.
Hauraney and his Enerlog Systems/Spanky's Harley Davidson/Condor Motorsports team proved to be the combination to beat after Friday morning's practice session, posting a class- best time of 1:11.433, ahead of C2 championship leader, Justin Sofio. "We were really quick right off the trailer" said Hauraney, "but I really wasn't pushing all that hard. I was just trying to get my rhythm for the weekend and figure out some of the new pavement they had laid down in a few corners from last year."
Things changed for the talented 23 year-old in the afternoon's qualifying session, as a brush with the outside wall coming out of turn two broke a suspension mount on the gearbox and forced him to retire from the session. Prior to his retirement, Hauraney again set the session's quickest time of 1:11.326, but lost this time due to ChampCar's red-flag rule. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his best time of the session. "I was pushing it" an un- apologetic Hauraney claimed. "I had to find the car's limit and I was doing my job. I just came into the corner carrying as much speed as possible and drifted wide on exit and brushed the wall." The Condor Motorsports crew worked feverishly late into Friday night to repair the damage and get the car ready for Saturday.
Saturday's sessions brought some more experience to Hauraney, who was driving in only his third ever Toyota Atlantic race. The morning's practice session was held after the Trans-Am practice and the different compound of rubber used between the Trans-Am cars and the Toyota Atlantics were not very compatible. "It was very slippery out there" quipped an up- beat Hauraney after the session. "It almost felt like a different track. Our Yokohama tires offer an unbelievable amount of grip, but not on top of the Trans-Am guys' rubber." Hauraney carefully brought the #31 Enerlog Systems/Spanky's Harley Davidson/Condor Motorsports Swift around with the fourth fastest time, not wanting to repeat the events of Friday's qualifying. "I learned a whole lot about these cars today. Especially when to push and when to save the car." stated Hauraney after the session. He would look forward to the afternoon's final qualifying session as the time to show his cards.
In the final qualifying session, the C2 class pole was being traded back and forth between Hauraney and championship leader Sofio, until a red-flag brought the session to a stop, bringing all cars into the pits while the carnage on-track was cleaned up. At this point, Sofio made the switch from old tires to stickers and waited for the session to resume. Stretched on a wafer-thin budget, Hauraney and his crew were unable to make a tire change, as the rubber on the car was what he would need for Sunday's race. When the session ended, Hauraney was only three-tenths of a second off Sofio's pole time on older tires.
After making some minor adjustments to the car overnight, Hauraney and his Condor Motorsports crew were confident come Sunday morning. The fifteen minute warm-up session confirmed to the team that the changes made were just what Hauraney needed to make a run for the win. As round seven of the 2005 Toyota Atlantic Series Presented By Yokohama roared off the line in Toronto at 10:00AM, it was Justin Sofio leading Tim Hauraney into turn one at the Prince's Gates. On each successive lap, Hauraney was posting faster times than his rival and was quickly catching him. On lap seven, Hauraney was right on Sofio's gearbox coming down the start/finish straight, forcing Sofio to protect the passing lane coming into turn one. Hauraney had Sofio where he wanted him, but halfway through lap eight, it all came apart for the Peterborough native. "Coming into turn nine, I was right behind him and when I downshifted under braking for the corner, something happened and it snapped the back end around on me" claimed a disappointed Hauraney. While keeping the car off the wall after spinning in a tight street course like Toronto and keeping the engine running are no small feats, lady luck wasn't smiling on Hauraney on this day. While trying to select first gear and spin the car around to face the right direction, he found he had no drive. "I revved it up and dumped the clutch, but there was nothing. I guess it was first gear or something. The corner workers were ready to bump-start me, but ChampCar officials wouldn't let them."
Having proven that he was the only competition for Justin Sofio on this weekend gave encouragement to Hauraney in his third-ever Toyota Atlantic start. It was a weekend full of learning experiences and some emotional ups and downs, but in the end, no one could take away the true grit and determination displayed by Hauraney. Not to mention raw driving talent. "I knew I had the race" stated Hauraney, "I had Sofio really worried and that makes me feel good. I just wish I had enough sponsorship to compete with him for the rest of the year."
Toronto marked the final race in a three-race sponsorship deal with Enerlog Systems. Efforts are fully underway in the Hauraney camp to find him sponsorship money to take him to the win in the next few rounds and hopefully a full championship-run for 2006.