Trois-Rivieres Saturday report

CARPENTIER ON ROLL; DOMINATES OPENER OF TROIS-RIVIERES DOUBLE-HEADER TROIS-RIVIERES, Que. (Aug. 3) - - Patrick Carpentier entered the Player's/Toyota Atlantic Championship double-header at the Player's Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres wanting to ...


TROIS-RIVIERES, Que. (Aug. 3) - - Patrick Carpentier entered the Player's/Toyota Atlantic Championship double-header at the Player's Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres wanting to dominate both Round 7 and Round 8. After Saturday's third-straight wire-to-wire victory, Carpentier was halfway there.

Driving the Lynx Racing-prepared Ralt RT-41, the 24-year-old from Joliette, Que., went flag-to-flag in the 30-lap seventh round sprint race, and was never seriously threatened, eventually beating race runner-up Paul Jasper, of Lake Forest, Ill., by 12.57 seconds. Carpentier averaged 79.17 miles-per-hour and covered the 45.18 miles in 34:14.401.

Carpentier's solid victory increased his point total to129 heading into Sunday's event. Lee Bentham, of Richmond Hill, Ont., is second in the points with 84, followed by Jasper with 81. Case Montgomery, of Salinas, Calif., entered the race in second place, but an accident on a lap-11 restart ended his day, dropping him into fourth place with 73.

"I could drive where I wanted to, and lay the power down where I wanted to, so while it is never easy to win a race, I just drove like I drive in testing ... every lap the same, not pushing too hard and trying to be very smooth," said Carpentier, who claimed an $18,000 winner's purse for his fourth Atlantic victory in 1996. "We didn't make any adjustments at all between qualifying and the race, and I told the team that I didn't want them to touch the car before Sunday's race, except maybe to wash off the dirt."

Jasper, in the B.D.J.S.-Quaker State/SHURTECH/Sylvania/AGFA Ralt RT-41, also was rock-solid during the race, collecting a season-best second place. Starting sixth, Jasper worked his way into fourth by lap eight. On a lap-11 restart, Jasper was the beneficiary of nose-to-rear contact between Montgomery and Jeret Schroeder. The aftermath left Jasper in second place by lap 12, and he held the position for the last 18 laps.

"A fourth in Montreal, a third in Toronto, and now a second in Trois-Rivieres ... there's only more more step to go," said Jasper. "We're definitely right where we want to be. We've got another race (on Sunday) and we're starting on the front row. At the restart, Case (Montgomery) and Jeret (Schroeder) ran into some bad luck. I was able to get by them both, but by that time Patrick was long gone."

Bentham, perhaps one of the most consistent drivers in the series, started third and finished third, but his race was anything but steady. Bentham couldn't get his P1 Racing-NTN Bearing Canada Ltd./TMI Racing Ralt RT-41 into first gear on the standing start, leaving him temporarily stranded on the front straight.

Undaunted, Bentham popped the car into fourth, and sped through the field. By lap 12, Bentham had improved all the way into fifth place. His third-place ending was his fifth podium finish this season.

Stan Wattles, of Sewall's Point, Fla., picked up his second straight top-five finish with a season-best fourth. Wattles, in the Metro Racing Systems Ralt RT-41, started 10th and consistently worked himself through the field.

Former series champion Chris Smith, of Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., made his 1996 debut, taking his Intercar-Earl's Performance Racing Ralt RT-40 for a ride. Smith jumped the start, was brought in for a stop-and-go penalty that dropped him from seventh to 14th, then raced to a fifth-place finish.

Several Atlantic drivers came through with season-best finishes. Montreal's Martin Roy started 11th and finished sixth, while C2 driver Mike Agnifilo, of North Salem, N.Y., improved five positions during the race to capture the C2 category, placing seventh overall. Mike Shank, of Columbus, Ohio, remained in the C2 points lead with 82 following his sixth-place finish in class, and 15th overall.

Montgomery's 22nd-place finish not only dropped him from second to fourth in the standings, but also placd the Long Beach winner 56 points behind Carpentier with five races remaining in the season. Canadian Alexandre Tagliani was in position to post his best finish of the season, starting second. But a spinout on lap seven dropped him to 22nd. Tagliani moved up to 10th by race's end.

The Trois-Rivieres double-header will conclude with Round 8 on Sunday, Aug. 4.

Round Seven will be broacast on ESPN2 on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., ET, and on Wednesday, Aug. 14, from 1:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m., ET. ESPN International will broadcast the race on Sunday, Aug. 11, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., ET. CTV will telecast the race on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET.


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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Jeret Schroeder , Patrick Carpentier , Stan Wattles , Chris Smith , Lee Bentham , Martin Roy