KRIS SZEKERES LEADS SAMAX MOTORSPORT TO TENTH-PLACE FINISH IN MONTREAL Montreal, Canada, August 4, 2007 - It was "Alabama" hot and humid in Montreal (Quebec) on Friday evening but Kris Szekeres did the bulk of the driving duties in Round 11...
KRIS SZEKERES LEADS SAMAX MOTORSPORT TO TENTH-PLACE FINISH IN MONTREAL
Montreal, Canada, August 4, 2007 - It was "Alabama" hot and humid in Montreal (Quebec) on Friday evening but Kris Szekeres did the bulk of the driving duties in Round 11 of the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to bring his Daytona Prototype Pontiac Riley home in 10th place overall, six seconds from race winner Max Angelelli. His teammate Patrick Carpentier had qualified the SAMAX Motorsport entry in third place in the morning session, but rolled into the pits during the race's first caution flag on lap 13 of 68 to hand over the Pontiac to Szekeres.
Szekeres returned to the track in fifth place, but first among the cars that had pitted and made a driver change, thanks to the efficient work of the SAMAX crew during the stop. When the green flag was waved on lap 18 to resume the race, series points leader Scott Pruett rammed the rear of Skekeres' Pontiac sending the Daytona Prototype into a spin in Corner One and out of contention in 16th place. When the leaders pitted for a driver change following the third full course yellow caused by Scott Maxwell's stalled car on the pit straight on lap 34, the Hartland Michigan driver soldiered on and elected not to pit in order to move up the field. He was sixth overall with one hour to go, but he slowly slipped down to 10th place where he finished the race. For Szekeres, it was a long day at the wheel, probably the longest driving stint of his young racing career.
"I wasn't supposed to drive all this time as Pat (Carpentier) was to do the last stint of the race but the team told me to continue," said an exhausted Szekeres after the race. "If it hadn't been for all those yellows (five cautions for 28 laps), I don't think I would have been able to finish the race, as I was so tired at the end. The car was handling very well. The crew gave me a car that was easy to drive and I am happy with this Top-10 finish. I was hoping for more, but we will take this one after so many disappointments."
Szekeres was seen driving along the pit straight with his door open in order to get a bit of cooler air during the caution periods, but what upset him the most is the fact that he has been bumped out of contention once and out of the race twice in the last three races and that nobody has been penalized or even warned for those incidents.
Carpentier was seen pouring water over his head as he sat down on the pavement against the pit wall following his 12-lap stint in the race for interview with reporters. The Quebec native, who lives in Las Vegas, is pulling double duty this weekend driving in the Busch Series race, as are five other road racing stars from the Rolex Series.
"The team found the right set ups for Montreal and the car is handling very well," Carpentier said. "In the last race in Alabama, the crew had made big changes and improved the car a lot, and when we arrived here, they made some more and the car is just fantastic."
It was win number two of the season for Max Angelelli and Jan Magnussen who led their Pontiac Riley to the Winner's Circle. They crossed the finish line only four tenths of a second ahead Marc Goossens of Belgium and co-driver Jim Matthews. Third place went to polesitter Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney to give Pontiac and Riley another podium sweep. With the win, Angelelli closed within two markers of points leader Scott Pruett.