PLAYER'S LTD./TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP EMPRINGHAM AND HEARN SPLIT TROIS-RIVIERES by Robert Heathcote, for SpeedNet Player's Ltd./Toyota Atlantic Championship contenders David Empringham and Richie Hearn split the double-header at ...
PLAYER'S LTD./TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP
EMPRINGHAM AND HEARN SPLIT TROIS-RIVIERES by Robert Heathcote, for SpeedNet
Player's Ltd./Toyota Atlantic Championship contenders David Empringham and Richie Hearn split the double-header at Trois-Rivieres, Quebeck this weekend, but Hearn managed to gain 18 points on the series-leader when Empringham finish 13th in the second race, closing the title chase to within two points.
On Saturday, Empringham won his third consecutive Player's Ltd/Toyota Atlantic Championship race with pole-sitter Hearn finishing second in the 30-laps event. Richie Hearn of Canyon Country, Calif., led the first 14 laps until he slowed briefly for a stalled car and allowed Empringham to take an inside line down the straight.
"Hearn was quicker in the areas that led into good passing zones, so it was really difficult to figure out where I was going to get him," explained Empringham. (coming up on the stalled car) "he slowed up a bit more than I did, for the yellow, and I had to jump on that one opportunity, even though it was pretty risky."
After Saturday's race Empringham had 20 championship points over Hearn, who would again start from pole for Sunday's 40-lap event.
At the start of the second race, Empringham slipped to third behind Case Montgomery of Salinas, Calif., and held that position for three laps, until...
"Going into the bridge turn, I thought I was a fair way up on (Montgomery's) sidepod, and I ended up in the wall," said a dejected Empringham, who finished 13th after a costly pitstop to repair damage. Montgomery finished 2nd, 8.8-seconds behind winner Hearn.
"Yesterday, we were 20 points behind (Empringham) in the championship and today we are trailing by only two," said an elated Hearn. "Today wasn't easy and I fought every lap to stay on track and keep my lead."
The next race will be August 13 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, before moving on Toronto and the season finale at Laguna Seca.
/end --- SpeedNet: Motorsports at the speed of thought!