SpeedSource Takes Pole Position and Keeps Points Lead at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Monterey, CA - For SpeedSource, the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is one of the most important of the season. Coming into...
SpeedSource Takes Pole Position and Keeps Points Lead at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Monterey, CA - For SpeedSource, the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is one of the most important of the season. Coming into the event with a stout points lead, the No. 70 Mazda GT RX-8 carried momentum into the race with four top-five finishes, including two wins. The team looked to do well at their manufacturer's home track, and Nick Ham set the rotary-powered RX-8 solidly on pole for the two and a half hour race.
An early caution saw SpeedSource duck into the pits to comply with Grand-Am Rolex rules requiring a pit stop in the first 45 minutes of the race. Ham rejoined the field in ninth place and continued to climb his way back through the pack. By lap 26 he had regained the lead.
Ham held the lead for ten laps before pitting for fuel and a driver change. Team owner Sylvain Tremblay replaced Ham in the driver's seat and rejoined the race in eighth place. Tremblay wasted no time and within eight laps was back in second place.
"Grand-Am added weight to our car after the last race," commented Tremblay. "The change undoubtedly affected us and [Team Technical Director] Dave [Haskell] has worked hard to minimize the effect of the added weight. The Mazda is a very nimble, well-balanced car and we feel confident that we can maintain the car's handling, one of its biggest assets."
With a predominantly caution-free race, Tremblay was forced into the pits with only eleven laps remaining for his last splash of fuel. Back on the track in ninth position, Tremblay valiantly regained two positions in the remaining laps to finish seventh.
While not the podium finish they had come for, the team remains atop the point standings. David Haskell commented on the outcome. "Just prior to the Rolex race, we competed in the Koni Challenge Street Tuner race, which saw a tremendous number of caution periods. We expected a similar race for the GT cars, but unfortunately we didn't have the yellows we needed to get to the end without a final fuel stop." Added Tremblay, "This outcome just makes us hungrier for the next win."
Also posting a strong run, the No. 69 FXDD RX-8 secured a ninth place finish. The duo of Emil Assentato and Nick Longhi ran as high as fourth place. A late-race green flag pit stop dropped the No. 69 to the back of the lead lap and kept the car from climbing its way further up the ranks.
Speed TV coverage of the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca event airs on May 26th at 8:00 PM EST. With seven races remaining in the 2007 Rolex Sports Car Series GT Class season, SpeedSource travels next to Lime Rock Park, Connecticut, for the Monday, May 28 race. The Lime Rock race will air May 28th at 3:00 PM EST.