Canadian driver Michael Valiante of Lynx Racing held off hard-charging Alex Gurney to win the 45-lap, ninth round of the Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. He also won in Toronto. Fellow Canadian Marc De Vellis was...
Canadian driver Michael Valiante of Lynx Racing held off hard-charging Alex Gurney to win the 45-lap, ninth round of the Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. He also won in Toronto.
Fellow Canadian Marc De Vellis was also highly impressive, taking third place in his first Toyota Atlantic race ever.
Valiante's victory extends his lead in the championship to 19 points over Jon Fogarty. Valiante held the lead from start to finish with the exception of a brief lead change when Alex Gurney passed him.
"I overcooked a corner getting around a back marker and then hit a false neutral" explained Gurney, "That allowed Michael to get back around me. I flat-spotted my left front tire but still pushed hard to catch back up to him."
De Vellis, who came from tenth on the grid to clinch third, hails from the same town as Valiante, Burnaby, British Columbia. "This is great! We (the team) have only been together for ten months! I knew we were good but this is more than I expected."
Jon Fogarty held onto his qualifying position of fourth and advanced to second in the championship. After suffering a broken nose cone due to a collision, Rocky Moran, Jr. advanced from eleventh to fifth.
Luis Diaz came from eighth on the grid to finish sixth. Ryan Hunter-Reay dropped to third in the points by finishing seventh.
Back in his first race after suffering serious injuries in the Spring, driver Joey Hand finished ninth. "Traffic was tough. There was a lot of bumping and touching. I banged up my wing quite a bit. It's great to be back! I just need to work more on my stamina."
The single yellow flag of the race came on Lap 9 when there was contact between Frank Dancs and Carl Russo. Russo was unable to continue.
"There's one more Canadian race this year," said Valiante. [Molson Indy, Montreal, August 25]. "I would love to win them all!"
The next Toyota Atlantic round is at Road America, August 18th.