2009 CASTROL TOURING CHAMPIONS WITTMER & LAUZIERE The Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship presented by Toyo Tires closed out it's season this past weekend at the Le Circuit ICAR just north of Montreal. An action packed pair of 40-minute...
2009 CASTROL TOURING CHAMPIONS WITTMER & LAUZIERE
The Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship presented by Toyo Tires closed out it's season this past weekend at the Le Circuit ICAR just north of Montreal. An action packed pair of 40-minute races that would decide the championship for both Super Touring & Touring car classes. The fans were treated to some of this years most intense battles all through the field as drivers drove with everything they had to finish atop the podium.
In the Super Touring class, Northwest Value Partners, BMW driver Greg Pootmans led the field to the green flag along side his teammate Aldo sponsored Driver David Bensadoun for Saturday's 40-minute heat race. Current championship points leader, Lombardi Honda driver Nick Wittmer & PCO Innovations', Etienne Borgeat (BMW) brought up the second row as they crossed the starting line.
Unfortunately for Wittmer's Lombardi Racing teammate, Jean-Francois Dumoulin suffered an engine failure on the very first lap that would slow the field down for two laps as they cleaned up the track. On lap 3 the race went green again. Pootmans, who would lead the entire race along with Bensadoun, Wittmer and Borgeat were nose to tail the entire 24 laps. Pootmans team mate Paul Dalla Lana was in the mix until lap 10 when his driveshaft failed bringing out the races second and final caution. Borgeat and Bensadoun would round out the remaining spots on the S/T podium.
8 Legs Racing's Eric Hochgeschurz and his teammate Arek Wojciechowski had their hands full with another BMW driver Dean Fantin and rookie Alex Healy in his powerful Acura RSX as they battled for position all race long. Wojciechowski was able to break free of the pack and pass Wittmer on lap 18 to finish 4th just behind Bensadoun.
The extremely competitive Touring Class had drivers Nigel Heron (Acura), Anthony Rapone (Honda Civic), Alain Lauziere (Mini Cooper), and Tom Kwok (Honda Civic) take the green flag along with 11 other class drivers. The battles started early as everyone jockeyed for key positions. Anthony Rapone took the class lead until lap 11 when Heron got by him with a daring pass. Kwok would hold Lauziere at bay for 14 laps when Lauziere made his way by for 3 laps until Kwok would take the position back on lap 18.
With only two laps to go, Andre Rapone driving the Durabond racing Honda Civic Si sedan was able to climb into the 3rd place spot when an on track incident put Lauziere in the pits with extensive front end damage that sidelined him from the finish.
Benjamin Distaulo made an impressive showing when he came from his 28th starting position to finish 5th in class just behind Tom Kwok.
The overall championship titles would all boil down to Sunday's feature race. It was an all BMW front row as Greg Pootmans & Etienne Borgeat would take the 31-car field to the green flag. Just behind the front row, David Bensadoun, Nick Wittmer & Arek Wojciechowski would battle nose to tail for 21 laps until Borgeat would pass Pootmans to take the lead & the win in the final two laps. On lap 13 Gary Kwok's Honda suffered a catastrophic engine failure & fire that brought out a full course yellow for 6 laps. With 4:34 left in the 40-minute timed race, one of the marshals responding to the fire was injured bringing out a red flag so that emergency crews could attend to him.
For the entire 23 lap race Lombardi Honda's Wittmer drove hard while playing it safe was able to hold on to a top 4 finish, just behind Bensadoun, clinching the championship in Super Touring. Substituting driving duties for Paul Dalla Lana, Marc-Antoine Camirand started the race in 28th position, made an impressive drive as brought the North West Value Partners BMW to 4th place in just 21 laps only to be sidelined just two laps short sending him back to a 13th place finish.
The Touring Class field led by pole sitter Nigel Heron & Anthony Rapone closely followed by Tom Kwok and 2008 Touring Class Champion, Andre Rapone made their way to turn one in the final 40-minute race of the 2009 season in a style every fan is accustomed to, side by side, bumper to bumper. Heron pulled out all the stops in his potent Acura Integra and held the position for the entire race. On lap one Andre's Honda would suffer a fuel pump failure that would force him to retire.
Class points leader Alain Lauziere started his Mini Cooper from the 26th position and used every trick in his book to move through the field and by lap 7 had made his way back into contention right behind the second place Honda Civic of Anthony Rapone. On lap 22 Rapone's car suffered a similar fuel pump failure forcing him to drop back into the field. Kwok who had been battling hard to stay with the top 3 cars was able to take the position and finish just behind the Touring Class Champion Lauziere.
For further information check out www.touringcar.ca for the latest championship news.