Dorricott Racing finishes 2-4-6 at Trois-Rivieres; Gurney scores second place in masterful performance. TROIS-RIVIERES, Que., Canada (Aug. 4, 2002) - Dorricott Racing was the dominant team at the 34th running of the Le Grand Prix...
Dorricott Racing finishes 2-4-6 at Trois-Rivieres; Gurney scores second place in masterful performance.
TROIS-RIVIERES, Que., Canada (Aug. 4, 2002) - Dorricott Racing was the dominant team at the 34th running of the Le Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres but Alex Gurney, of Newport Beach, Calif., earned top team honors in finishing second place after starting on the outside pole. Dorricott Racing also fared well with Jon Fogarty, of Portola Valley, Calif., and Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, claiming fourth and sixth place, respectively, to conclude the ninth round of the 12-race Toyota Atlantic Championship.
Race winner and series leader Michael Valiante, of Canada, led all 45 laps around the 10-turn, 1.521-mile temporary street but that didn't tell the whole story. Gurney maintained a tight, harassing posture the entire race and nearly pulled off a remarkable pass on lap 36. Valiante and Gurney both charged into the tight left hand corner in Turn Six. After chasing down Valiante, who had been slowed by lapped traffic, Gurney attempted to outbreak the Canadian on the inside as the pair approached the turn. Gurney slid into the turn and briefly led, but Valiante ducked to the inside exiting the turn and regained it by the time he had reached Turn 7. Valiante continued on to win the race by 0.742-seconds.
This was Gurney's second visit to the podium this season. He finished second place at Long Beach in April. However, Long Beach was also the site where Valiante made a daring Turn 1 pass on Gurney that propelled him to his first career win. Gurney hadn't forgotten.
"It was a good, long, hard race," cited Gurney. "I had that moment when I took the lead and I was thinking about Long Beach and paying Michael back. He pulled one of those on me and won the race. I almost had it but I caught neutral in the gear coming through the corner. He was able to recover and slip past me."
"Michael probably realized near the end of the race that he had enough of a cushion to win," continued Gurney. "I was trying not to let up just in case he slipped. I pushed hard the entire race. I caught up on the last lap but he essentially controlled the race by then. The car was the best it's been all year. I had a minor problem with the front brakes locking but it wasn't enough to affect the outcome."
Fogarty, meanwhile, displayed championship form in nearly scoring a podium spot beside Gurney. Fogarty started fourth and ran fourth place most of the race before passing Canadian Marc DeVellis for third place on lap 38. Fogarty held third place until lap 44 when DeVellis found a gap and was able to slip back into third place.
"It was a tough race because it was so hard to make up lost ground," said Fogarty. "Valiante had a great start but it became more a matter of my trying to catch the front row. I was able to move into third place with about seven laps to go but I couldn't hold the position and gave it back on lap 44. Overall, this was a good race weekend but I didn't help my championship cause by not improving as much as a point on Valiante. This championship is far from over but time is running short so Road America will be a big race for all of us still in the hunt."
Another well executed race came from Diaz. Diaz, who qualified eight, finished in sixth place but not before dropping positions and fighting back. His first challenge came on lap 17 when Jonathon Macri attempted to pass another driver but rather swung into Diaz making side-to-side contact. Diaz had moved into sixth place at that point, but fell three spots to ninth after the contact and skinning the wall. Macri ended in the wall and 24th place.
Diaz continued but under painful duress from an injury to his right forefinger presumably from the wall contact. He was relentless in his pursuit of the front-runners and recaptured lost positions plus one to move into fifth place by lap 37. Rocky Moran Jr. was able to pass Diaz on lap 41 but Diaz still brought the Telmex Swift 014a home to sixth place.
"I had a better run than Macri out of the Turn Four exit," said Diaz. "I was on the outside of the back-straight. I'm not sure if he could see me but he pushed me into the wall. We crashed but my car wasn't damaged much. I lost three positions nonetheless. That could have cost me a podium finish. It was difficult to maneuver around the track with all the traffic on it. I was trying at some point to pass DeVellis but Rocky Moran Jr. had a better run than I did and passed me."
Key to Dorricott Racing in the final three races of 2002 is being within range of Valiante down the stretch. Valiante extended his Championship lead to 19 points over second-place Fogarty, 123-104. Fogarty, however, regained the lead for Atlantic Rookie of the Year over Ryan Hunter-Reay, 104-102.
Gurney is fourth place overall with 92 points, while Diaz is in sixth place with 84 points. Only 33 points separate the top five contenders.
Dorricott Racing's drivers are the majority of the top-five prize money winners this season (excluding mid-season bonus winnings). After Trois-Rivieres, Fogarty is third on the earnings board with $87,500. Diaz is fourth with $63,600 while Gurney jumped to fifth place with $61,500.
Round 10 of the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship will be at picturesque Road America near Elkhart Lake, Wis., Sunday, Aug. 18.