STEVEN LAPORTE WINS EXCITING HONDA/MICHELIN SERIES RACE AT MOSPORT Bowmanville, ON, June 19, 2005 - Steven Laporte of Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs (QC) won Round 3 of the Honda/Michelin Challenge Series held Sunday at Mosport International Raceway to...
STEVEN LAPORTE WINS EXCITING HONDA/MICHELIN SERIES RACE AT MOSPORT
Bowmanville, ON, June 19, 2005 - Steven Laporte of Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs (QC) won Round 3 of the Honda/Michelin Challenge Series held Sunday at Mosport International Raceway to become the third winner in as many races so far this season. In a battle to the finish, the Lombardi Racing driver crossed the finish line 4.251 seconds ahead of Didier Schraenen of Mont-Saint-Hilaire (QC). But the gap between the two leaders had been less than half a second from lap 7 to 18 as Schraenen was setting Laporte up for a last lap pass. Schraenen did make his move in turn 8 but spun after the two cars touched. The Énergie/NAPA/RDS driver went backwards, but he was able to bring it back in time to finish in second place.
Third place went to Robert Boyer, who was also in a tight fight all race long with Frédérick Lelièvre of Mont Joli (QC), Emmanuel Boivin-Moreau of Longueuil (QC) and Alex Penfold of Georgetown (ON). This train of Honda Civics exchanged positions at just about every lap to finally cross the finish line just two seconds apart. However, Boivin-Moreau received a 30-second penalty for unnecessary contact and pushed back from fifth to tenth place.
Polesitter Nick Wittmer of Hudson (QC), who led the first two laps, finished sixth overall after a long trek on the grass on the back straightaway. His brother Kuno Wittmer finished seventh ahead of Kris Rams of Toronto. Rookie Richard Penfold of Georgetown, Ontario was ninth.
The win for Laporte was his first of the season, the seventh of his Honda/Michelin Series career. He led 14 of the 18-lap race. ''Didier (Schraenen) came inside on the last lap, but it was too close for comfort,'' said Laporte who is the new leader in the points standings. ''We touched but I was able to save it because I had the racing line. Overall, it was a clean battle all the way. During the first seven laps, Didier and Nick (Wittmer) and I were inches from one another more than once. It was a fun race to win.''
Starting on the outside of the front row, Schraenen had a poor start and finished his first lap in third place. He made his way back to the front of the field to lead lap 5 before being passed again by Laporte who led the last 12 circuits of the race. ''We touched in corner 3 with three laps to go and we both continued,'' said Schraenen. ''Steven (Laporte) knew I was going to try him again in turn 8, but he shut the door. I didn't try to pass him earlier because I wanted to build a safe lead on the third-place car in case my strategy did not work. It's a good thing I waited until the last lap as I spun during my passing attempt. It's my third podium in a row, and I'm only one point away from first in the standings.''
In the championship race, Laporte leads with 98 points, one more than Schraenen in second place. Third place belongs to Nick Wittmer with 84, followed by Alex Penfold, fourth with 80. Kuno Wittmer is fifth with 74 points, one more point than Robert Boyer. The next race, Round 4 of the Honda/Michelin Challenge Series, will be held the weekend of June 10 at the Molson Indy Toronto.