Dodge/Honda battle See-Saws at Trois Rivieres August 4, 1996 Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada - Dodge won on Saturday, and Honda on Sunday at Trois Rivieres, the fifth event in the inaugural season of Super Touring in North America. The results...
Dodge/Honda battle See-Saws at Trois Rivieres
August 4, 1996
Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada - Dodge won on Saturday, and Honda on Sunday at Trois Rivieres, the fifth event in the inaugural season of Super Touring in North America. The results maintained the tight points race for both the Drivers' Championship, and the Michelin Cup - the manufacturers' Championship. Honda continues the lead it took in Toronto, now with 181 points to Didge's 176. Dominic Dobson drove his #7 PacWest Dodge to victory on Saturday and Randy Pobst continued his winning ways in the T.C. Kline Neuspeed Honda, by taking the chequered flag first on Sunday. Pobst leads Dobson by a scant ten points after rounds nine and ten.
Saturday's race saw Dobson jump into the lead on the green flag with a terrific start from third on the grid. Polesitter Donohue had mechanical trouble at the start, and the field had to detour around him. Hardman bogged slightly from second spot on the grid, and lost the drag race to the first corner with Dobson. After a couple of close laps, Dobson began pulling away, with Hardman and Pobst dicing for position. On lap three, the yellow flag allowed the field to bunch up once more, and when the green flew, the T.C. Kline Hondas were once again on the bumper of Dobson's Dodge. Dobson pulled away at first, but then Hardman began reeling him in again. Try as he might, with passing zones so scarce at Trois Rivieres, he could do nothing but look, and finished second to Dobson's excellent drive.
Dobson was happy to take the win for Dodge and his PacWest team. "We want to stay in the hunt for the Drivers' Championship and the Michelin Cup, and this will help," he commented.
The race on Sunday demonstrated once again how important it is to start up front at Trois Rivieres. Pobst was on pole with teammate Hardman in second, and Dobson in the third spot behind Pobst. At the flag Pobst launched well, but Hardman baubled slightly once again, allowing Dobson to get by him on the inside, with another great start. For a lap or two Dobson tried sticking his nose in on Pobst, and considered a pass on two occasions. The opportunities happened on difficult turns on a difficult track, and Dobson determined that discretion was the wiser choice and held back for better options. They never arrived and Pobst proceeeded to check out, taking a relatively easy victory.
Meanwhile, Hardman was drawing a bead on Dobson, and decided to try passing him in Turn 1. He went down the inside hot, but exited wide, and Dobson smoothly repassed. As this was happening, Peter Cunnigham driving the H.A.R.T. Honda, was pursuing closely in fourth, watching for mistakes, and occasionally threatening Hardman. The race progressed in this order until lap 7, when David Donohue, in the second Dodge, who had been shadowing Cunningham, lost an engine. The retirement capped a frustrating weekend for the talented Dodge driver who had looked for a good result.
Donohue's fifth spot was picked up by newcomer David Welch in the Rock-it-Cargo Ford of Fastech Racing. Welch was running quickly in his first drive in a Super Touring car, but his drive was cut short on lap 10, when brake problems left him in the Turn 8 gravel trap. The following lap, Cunningham pitted for electrical problems, re-entering in seventh. Independent Steve Petty, fighting inconsistent handling in his BMW, was rewarded a fourth for his efforts. But, at the front, it was Pobst, Dobson and Hardman in the top three positions. All the drivers commented on the difficulty to pass on the tight track, and remarked on their mutual respect for the concrete barriers surrounding the 1.6 mile circuit. Donohue, for his part, commented that this had been a bittersweet weekend for Dodge and PacWest, "Bitter for me, and sweet for Dominic." Next weekend the Super Touring Championship moves to Mid Ohio for the Miller Genuine Draft 200 IndyCar weekend.
For further information on the Super Touring Championship contact Mark Turner at Performance Communications Group, Inc.
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