Bunting and Lally Second in Controversial Championship Finish Mexico City -- Paul Edwards and Jan Magnussen drove their number 64/TRG/Pontiac GTO.R from the last row on the GT grid to victory today in the final round of the Grand American Rolex...
Bunting and Lally Second in Controversial Championship Finish
Mexico City -- Paul Edwards and Jan Magnussen drove their number 64/TRG/Pontiac GTO.R from the last row on the GT grid to victory today in the final round of the Grand American Rolex Series race held at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Paul Edwards started the car from the last row of the grid as his second place qualifying effort was negated due to the car failing technical inspection for a 1/10th millimeter too large air restrictor. The California resident was able to drive up to second before handing over to Magnussen. Jan then proceeded to chase down the leader and take the front position on lap 61 and drive away to the win.
Marc Bunting and Andy Lally were focused on beating the number 80 Porsche of Craig Stanton to make their claim for the GT championship. Bunting started the car, again from the back row as both GTO.Rs failed tech, and proceeded to run consistent laps before handing over to Lally on lap 53 in third place. Andy proceeded to make up a 19-second deficit to their championship foes getting within two-seconds with just 25 laps remaining. Lally tried several moves to rattle Porsche pilot David Murry and finally went for it on the last lap. After Lally passed the Porsche in turn 11, Murry then launched his 996 off of the curb into the air at Lally's GTO.R, hitting him in the rear in turn fourteen and getting by the stricken Pontiac to take the drivers championship.
The team had protested the move at the end of the race that decided the championship. Currently Bunting and Lally find themselves in second, one point back in the season ending standings. The team did manage to win the GT team championship.
Marc Bunting, #65/TRG/Pontiac GTO.R: "I had a good opening stint, the power steering was intermittent and that affected the handling of the car, but then it came back. There was some oil on the track at one point making things interesting but my time was uneventful. Andy did a great job and he put a good racing move on Murry and then he came back at us. Not the way we wanted to end the day or the championship."
Andy Lally, #65/TRG/Pontiac GTO.R: "I went in and we had contact and I put the pass on him. I had about five car lengths on him going into the stadium turn and then he hit me from behind, it was a silly move. It is tough it that it went that way at the end. We were battling hard for the last 20 laps and then the ugly finish. Marc did a great job to keep us up there at the beginning, it turned out all wrong."
Paul Edwards, #64/TRG/Pontiac GTO.R: b^0x001cStarting from the back was not that big of a deal, there the GT field was pretty sparse. The car was really good from turn four to turn 14 and then we would lose ground on the long straight. I turned the car over to Jan in second and he did the rest."
Jan Magnussen, #64/TRG/Pontiac GTO.R: b^0x001cPaul did a great job to make up the places from back of the grid. When I got the car we were in second and I set out do consistent laps and make up as much room in the twisty parts as possible. The car was really good through the esses and I was able to drive away."
Kevin Buckler, TRG team owner: "I watched the replay and Andy nudged Murry and got by him, I thought it was a good racing move. Murry came back and launched his car at ours and hit us in the back. It was a great race until that move. I feel bad for Mark and Andy they had a good season and to end like this is disappointing."
The series will resume on January 26 - 27 for the series signature event, the Rolex Daytona 24 Hours.