Pontiac's GTO.R Continues Podium Streak With Win Andy Lally and Marc Bunting Score Another Victory at Barber Motorsports Park; Max Angelelli and Jan Magnussen in No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley Clinch Second-place in Daytona Prototypes BIRMINGHAM,...
Pontiac's GTO.R Continues Podium Streak With Win Andy Lally and Marc Bunting Score Another Victory at Barber Motorsports Park; Max Angelelli and Jan Magnussen in No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley Clinch Second-place in Daytona Prototypes
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Andy Lally and Marc Bunting co-drove their No. 65 TRG/F1 Air Pontiac GTO.R to another GT-class victory, this time at Barber Motorsports Park in what was the 12th round of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. The team took their fourth win of the season to extend their team and driver points lead (now 11 points) over the #72 Porsche of Robin Liddell and Wolf Henzler and have boosted Pontiac's lead in manufacturer points. After two-consecutive Daytona Prototype manufacturer championships, the brand is looking to claim a GT-class manufacturers championship in its first full season of GT competition.
"We came into the race with only one goal," said Bunting. "We wanted to make sure that we finished ahead of the No. 72 car. They've been real tough all season, and with only two races to go, it's going to be a tight battle to the end, so we want to make sure we have as big of a cushion as we can heading into the last race. The whole team did a great job this weekend."
Bunting and Lally's teammates, Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins of the #64 TRG/iRise Pontiac GTO.R, rounded out the podium at third place. With the two of the three Pontiac GTO.Rs finishing on the podium (the #98 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Ironclad GTO.R finished an impressive fifth after brothers Burt and Brian Frisselle shared the machine for the first time) this race marks the 17th race in a row that at least one Pontiac GTO.R finished on the podium. This streak is a Rolex Series GT-class record and making this statistic even more remarkable for Pontiac is the fact that there were only two races where the GTO.R did not finish on the podium - the cars' first two races of last year.
The two GTO.Rs (with help in four races from the #98 PCM Pontiac GTO.R) have now seven wins, 10 additional podium finishes (16 including the wins) and a podium sweep for 2006. Since the cars were introduced into the series that's 11 wins, 13 additional podium finishes (23 total) and one podium sweep.
Pontiac had a strong Daytona Prototype effort and with a second-place finish by Max Angelelli and Jan Magnussen of the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley, the brand moves up to share first place with Lexus in the manufacturers championship standings. After holding second place for much of the season, this boost puts the brand nearer to a third-consecutive championship. With only three races left for the Daytona Prototype class (two for GT), it will be no easy task to clinch another DP manufacturers championship since the three top manufacturers are now within two points of one another - Lexus and Pontiac with 420 and Ford with 418. Ford's jump to second place in the standings was due to a win by Jorg Bergmeister and Colin Braun in the #76 Krohn Racing Ford Riley; they finished just 1.327 seconds ahead of the #10 SunTrust Pontiac.
"I felt we were pretty close in terms of performance, but at the end - the last two laps - Jorg had just a little more than I did," said Angelelli after the race. "I pushed very hard, and when you push, you make mistakes, which I did. I fell a little back, tried to recover, but Jorg was really fast. I was giving everything I had just to get there."
Pontiac saw two more of its Daytona Prototypes in the top five; the #99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty and the #12 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series continues with the Daytona Prototype-only Crown Royal 200 At The Glen, at Watkins Glen International on August 11 at 6:30 p.m. EDT. SPEED TV will televise the race the same evening at 9:00 p.m. EDT.