Wallace, Duno and Lammers Take First Win of 2005 in 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, Canada (May 21, 2005) -- In a six-hour Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race that featured a little bit of everything, Andy...
Wallace, Duno and Lammers Take First Win of 2005 in 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant
MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, Canada (May 21, 2005) -- In a six-hour Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race that featured a little bit of everything, Andy Wallace charged from third to first in the span of two turns with slightly more than 10 minutes remaining to take the victory in the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant for himself and co-drivers Milka Duno and Jan Lammers.
On Lap 180 of what would be a 188-lap affair, Wallace--driving the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford--battled past defending race winner and Daytona Prototype co-champion Scott Pruett in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley to take over second place in Turn 14 after stalking him for several laps. Little did Wallace know, however, that leader Max Angelelli was losing first, second and third gears in his No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley at the same time he was making his way past Pruett.
In the next turn, Wallace and Pruett came upon Angelelli's hobbled car and shot past, giving Wallace the lead and Pruett second position. Shortly thereafter, Pruett was forced to conserve fuel to make it to the finish--eventually giving second place to Ganassi teammate Stefan Johansson in the No. 02 New Century Mortgage Lexus Riley--allowing Wallace to cruise to a 3.843-second victory over Johansson.
"It was a wild one," Wallace said. "It was great race even though the conditions were very difficult at the start. Milka did a great job keeping the car on the track. They did a great job in the car and the team kept working and working on the car during the race. The last stretch was very exciting and some great racing. We've had a tough start to the year and this makes it all worth while."
The triumph was the first of the season for the Howard-Boss Motorsports team. It was the first win for Wallace and Duno since the Miami 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway last September, and was Lammers' first-ever victory in Rolex Series competition.
"This was so exciting to be a part of this win with Andy and Milka," Lammers said. "She did a great job under those terrible conditions early in the race. Thanks to the team for all their hard work and the opportunity to be involved with this win. I'm extremely happy for Max and Jan Crawford and everyone who worked so hard for this victory."
Duno may have had the biggest challenge of the CITGO trio, as she started the race from 17th on the grid. Making things even more difficult was the fact that her entire stint--and essentially the entire first half of the race--was run under rainy conditions. Nevertheless, Duno persevered and was rewarded with her third career Rolex Series victory.
"I'm so happy for the CITGO team," Duno said. "Andy and Jan are great teammates and they did a great job. It was very difficult at the start with the weather conditions. This team is great and really deserved this win. This is our first win of the season and it's very exciting."
Johansson and co-driver Cort Wagner overcame their share of adversity as well to finish second. After taking the lead from Pruett on Lap 22, Johansson slid off course in Turn 10 and made contact with the tire barrier. He was fortunate to avoid serious damage to the car, although he lost several positions in the running order. In spite of the incident, Johansson and Wagner battled back to record their best result of the season to date.
"It was a very eventful drive that's for sure," Johansson said. "After the big shunt I had in the lead, I thought the car would have been destroyed. I was just hanging on hoping that my legs were going to be all right. But those cars are incredibly durable. I just started it right back up, drove off, and believe it or not we didn't make one change to it after that. Toward the end we got into some contact with a few other cars which slowed our pace a bit. We were never able to fully recover to catch the leader."
It was a Rolex Series career-best result for Johansson, and matched Wagner's best overall result in Rolex Series competition. It was Wagner's first podium finish since he finished third at Phoenix in 2004 and was his best run overall since he placed second in the Grand Prix of Miami in February of last year.
"It was a fun race, I just wish we could have had a little bit more for [Andy] Wallace's car," Wagner said. "The New Century Mortgage team pulled together for a great six-hour run this afternoon and we came home with the best result of the season so far. It's awesome to get up on the podium with Chip Ganassi Racing. Hopefully we can climb one more notch at Watkins Glen."
Pruett and co-driver Luis Diaz came home third to place both Chip Ganassi Racing cars on the Rolex Series podium for the third time in team history. More importantly, they managed to cut even more into the points lead shared by No. 10 co-drivers Angelelli and Wayne Taylor, who finished sixth. After five of 14 races, the Taylor and Angelelli lead Pruett and Diaz by just five points (155-150).
The hardest charger over the closing laps appeared to be Memo Gidley in the No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley for Finlay Motorsports. After spinning off course and falling off the lead lap at the start of the race, Gidley and co-driver Michael McDowell fought their way back to a fourth-place result.
Jorg Bergmeister and Christian Fittipaldi completed the top-five in the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley and the duo combined to lead a race-high 56 laps. They were among nine drivers in seven different Daytona Prototypes to lead at some point in the race, a group that also included the No. 10 SunTrust machine, the top-three finishers and impressive showings by the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Pontiac Crawford that Doug Goad kept in front for five laps and the No. 77 Crown Royal Special Reserve Lexus Doran that rookie Matteo Bobbi had up front for 16 laps.
BMW TEAM PTG SCORES THIRD-STRAIGHT GT CLASS WIN
In a unique turn of events, Joey Hand scored not only a race victory, but also a third-place finish in the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant. After starting the race in the No. 16 F1 Air BMW M3 for BMW Team PTG, Hand drove the final stint in the No. 22 Prototype Technology Group BMW to earn the victory alongside No. 22 co-driver Ian James.
While Hand celebrated the win in the No. 22, his No. 16 co-drivers Tom Milner and Justin Marks managed to bring that car home in third place to give Hand a rare double podium finish. As he started the race in the No. 16, however, Hand will only receive third-place points. For James, meanwhile, the triumph was his first in Rolex Series competition after 26 starts.
"I wish I could have done better for the No. 16 car," Hand said. "I simply could not see through the windshield early on and had to pit. I was a bit upset at that, so when I got in the No. 22 M3, I got after it. PTG always gives me the best M3 they possibly can and they definitely did that today."
"Joey did an amazing job for the final half of the race," James said. "This is my first GT win and I could not be happier to win it in a BMW M3."
Finishing second were Craig Stanton and David Murry in the No. 80 Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup. It was the second-straight runner-up result for Stanton and Murry, and was Stanton's fifth-consecutive top-four class result. As a result, Stanton extended his lead in the GT point standings to 18 points, 146-128, over Murry with five of 14 races in the books.
"The Synergy team did a great job today," Stanton said. "David is my hero. He did a great opening stint and the last stint was brilliant as well. I enjoyed every second on my middle stint. It went from extremely wet to dry to wet. We had great pit stops and we had the number one Porsche which I'm really excited about. We'll fly the flag real fast and real high for Porsche North America today."
"I'm so happy -- the Synergy team did a great job," Murry added. "Craig did a really awesome job and I think he increased his points lead and that's what really matters for the championship. We're on the right track."
Quebecois favorite Jean-Francois Dumoulin and co-drivers Michael Levitas and Hugh Plumb brought the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup home in fourth place. It was the fourth-straight top-five finish for Levitas. Joao Barbosa and Jeff Segal capped a triumphant Rolex Series return for the Ferrari of Washington team with a fifth-place showing in the No. 33 Maserati Trofeo.