Montreal: GM Racing race report

Stevenson Pontiac GXP.R Wins GT At Montreal Cheever Racing Second in DP Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 1, 2008 -- Stevenson Motorsports' Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis drove their Pontiac GXP.R to the GT class win today in round ten of the ...

Stevenson Pontiac GXP.R Wins GT At Montreal
Cheever Racing Second in DP

Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 1, 2008 -- Stevenson Motorsports' Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis drove their Pontiac GXP.R to the GT class win today in round ten of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 race run at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Cheever Racing came second in their Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Pontiac Coyote in the Daytona Prototype (DP) class.

The two-hour timed race became a strategy event for the Rolex Series GT competitors. The lack of a late race caution rewarded the teams that chose to pit on lap 37 of the 69 lap race. The Stevenson Motorsports No. 57 GXP.R was one of those that pitted for gas. The leading cars in the class stayed out, relegating them to mid-pack as they ran out of fuel on the last lap. Robin Liddell took the white flag, one lap remaining, in third position and crossed the line in first as the front two cars sputtered out of fuel. The Stevenson crew adds another win to their victories at Mexico City and Virginia International Raceway.

"I was running with the 40 and the 21 early in my stint," Liddell said. "I just kept the pressure on them and forced them into mistakes. The team did a great job with the strategy. Late in the race I was just pushing as hard I could to try and make up spots. The cars in front of me were questionable on gas. With ten laps to go I was wondering if we made the right choice. I was following the 86 his engine stumbled and went by and then I knew the 87 was running out as well and he stumbled on the last turn and I got by him for the win. It was a team win today. Andrew did a great job at the start and the guys had excellent pit work and of course great strategy for our third win. I was amazed by the number of cars that ran out of gas on my in lap after the checker."

The No. 21 Pontiac GTO.R of Connolly Motorsports finished the day in third. Matt Connolly and Diego Alessi wheeled the Pontiac back from down the field to take the third step on the podium.

"I drove for nearly the entire race," Alessi said. "I had a lot of good battles, especially with the 57 car. I lost some positions on one of the restarts because we were having radio problems. Everyone was having fuel problems on the last lap and that really helped us at the end. The team did a great job with pit stops and the strategy to help us get our second podium in four races."

The No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac of Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins ended their day in seventh. Collins had early contact which resulted in a spin which cost him several places early. What looked like a sure podium or win became a seventh when Edwards nearly ran out of fuel on the last half-lap. Collins and Edwards still lead the points by six.

"I was going into the chicane and the 30 car came up alongside, we both braked stood the cars on their nose and then he cut across me," Collins said. "I had to maneuver around him and ended up spinning. We have to be careful with the chances we take for the championship. We made a call on the fuel and it ended up costing us a podium today."

The Banner Racing 06 of Canadian Ron Fellows and Marc Bunting finished tenth. Fellows was involved in some on-track contact in the Casino turn when he was forced into the 99 DP car. This ended up costing Fellows valuable track position.

"My stint was uneventful except for the first lap," Bunting said. "I had a spin in turn four. I was then focusing on running good clean laps to turn the car over to Ron on the lead lap. I was able to do that and we were looking good for a top finish. The team had the right strategy we pitted a second time for fuel and were ready to go to the end when Ron got caught up in the Casino turn."

The No. 72 Autohaus Motorsport Pontiac GXP.R had a left front tire go down on lap 21 and had to limp the car around the track as the Pirelli delaminated. Terry Borcheller took over from Tim Lewis Jr. and then had heavy contact on lap 47 in the Casino turn. The results ended the day early for the team from Florida relegating them to an 18th place finish.

"When I got in the steering was turned so there was some damage in the front from the tire going on Tim," Borcheller said. "I couldn't see out of the left side mirror as a result of the tire damage. I was going into the Casino turn and a DP car came up under me, I thought there would be more and there wasn't, I then lost reference got loose and got into a couple cars in the Casino turn. I just made an error."

In the DP class the Montreal crowd witnessed some of the best racing of the season. Cheever Racing had their Coyote come alive for a second place finish. The team's best previous finish was ninth at Daytona in July. Christian Fittipaldi rejoined Antonio Garcia and the team that he has had history with this weekend to help spark a successful weekend.

"It was a big team effort today," Fittipaldi said. "I am happy for Eddie and Crown Royal and the whole team. I had a good stint, I was able to run up at the front and really challenge for the lead. Antonio and I get along really good. Last year when we ran together we really performed well. We have some updates coming for the car for the last races so I am hoping to finish the year strong."

The SunTrust Pontiac Dallara of Michael Valiante and Max Angelelli finished eighth. The team was a fixture in the top five most of the race and then the car developed some brake fade.

"The car was working really well," Valiante said. "It was tough at the start I got into the side of the 61 at the beginning. We are having a brake issue right now. After the first laps the brakes started to fade a lot. The car is working, but we have a bit of a brake problem right now. It is hard to out brake out there with our issue. We haven't tested that much to get the exact combination, so we are doing the best we can."

The GAINSCO Pontiac Riley of Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney finished the day in eighth. Fogarty started the red 99 from the front row. On lap 19 he briefly took the lead and it was deemed the pass was made with avoidable contact and he was forced to perform a drive-thru penalty. After the pit stops, Alex Gurney took over and was able to lead once again on lap 44. Gurney was then caught up in the Casino turn melee on lap 47 which cost him the lead and valuable track position.

"This race was just kind of symbolic of our season so far," Gurney said. "We had a very good car but didn't end up with much to show for it. I struggled with the brakes all day but we were good enough to stay out front. I was managing the gap to Rojas when I had the lead there for the longest time and I just got caught up in a GT incident where one guy missed the brake zone and the next guy hit me. It was a really hard hit and I actually thought we were out. It was that hard of a hit and the car steered quite a bit to the left after that. I tried to get back going again and the car seemed okay but later on I got caught up in an incident with Ricardo Zonta who consistently hits people. It was just a really frustrating day for everybody on the team. We made it to the end on fuel but we had the other problems and that was it."

The No. 75 of Tracy Krohn and Oliver Gavin had a quiet day as they finished 10th. Oliver Gavin filled in Krohn regular Eric van de Poele and combined with team owner Krohn to finish 10th.

"It was sure nice to have a Top 10," Krohn said. "Ollie did a great job! The car was a little bit tentative at first because of the brake situation we've had. But after awhile the car settled down. I started running some quicker laps. I turned it over to Ollie on the lead lap and he took it from there and improved it several positions and ended up in the Top 10. So it was a really good day for us. Of course, this was not the ideal track for this car at this point of the development. But it's getting better all the time so we're catching up."

The No. 76 Krohn Racing Lola of Nic Jonsson and Ricardo Zonta came home in 12th. The green 76 also spent time at the front of the pack. On lap 60 with a fading brake pedal Zonta had contact with the No. 99 and had to also had to perform a drive-thru penalty.

"We had a difficult race I'd say, especially because of the brake conditions," Zonta said. "Also, we had so much pushing. It was even worse than the brakes because you had to stop the car to turn the car. So the big problem was to stop the car. The brakes were not stable. One time it would lock the front up or another time it would lock the rear brakes. And that made me to hit the 99 car, just because of the instability on braking. I am really sorry and want to apologize to those guys for that."

Jim Matthews and Marc Goossens finished the 17th today in their No. 91 Riley-Matthews Pontiac Riley. Matthews started the car and turned over to Goossens who set about climbing the timing chart. Running in the top ten, Goossens had to pit on lap 44 to clean the radiator. Matthews got back in the 91 at the end, but a failing gear box had him limping the car to the checker.

"We lost second gear and couldn't get to first," Matthews said. "I had a pretty good start. The cool weather really had the car handling and running well. Marc had a little bad luck and we had to pit him to clean out the radiator. At the end I was running through the slow corners in third gear, because was second was gone and I couldn't get to first."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Nic Jönsson
Teams Krohn Racing , Stevenson Motorsports