SpeedSource Scores Two Top Fifteens; Assentato Wins Bob Akin Award Montreal, Quebec, Canada - SpeedSource Race Engineering headed to Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for a 400 kilometer Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series battle thru the...
SpeedSource Scores Two Top Fifteens; Assentato Wins Bob Akin Award
Montreal, Quebec, Canada - SpeedSource Race Engineering headed to Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for a 400 kilometer Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series battle thru the heart of the Quebec province. The course, on Ile Notre Dame, a man-made island in the St. Lawrence River, was built to attract some of the best racers in the world. On Wednesday some of sports cars finest drivers pulled onto the 2.708-mile 15-turn circuit, many for the first time.
Sylvain Tremblay, driver of the #70 Mazda RX-8 and owner of SpeedSource, returned home to Montreal with high expectations and anticipation.
"It's a special feeling. I was born on the Ile de Montreal and grew up in Laval (Quebec), right on the other side of the bridge, per say. Interestingly enough I have never raced here at this circuit."
Tremblay in a press conference Thursday, along with six other Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve drivers, reflected on his past experiences at the track with a nostalgic affection.
"To tell you how important this circuit's history is to me, yesterday, driving on the race track in a rental car, I refused to go over the Circuit Gilled Villeneuve start/finish. The guys were like 'Why's that?' It's sacred to me; this is a hallowed place for me, and it's pretty special."
Sharing the weekend with the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR sanctioned Canadian Tire Series, the Grand-Am teams qualified Friday morning and raced the same evening. Tremblay's co-driver Nick Ham turned in an impressive second place qualifying run, while teammates Emil Assentato and Nick Longhi qualified fourth in the #69 Mazda RX-8
Looking toward a scheduled 4:15 PM start, the teams watched the weather closely as severe thunder storms threatening to roll in. Tremblay and the SpeedSource team remained optimistic about the upcoming race, weather not withstanding.
"Despite the rain forecast, there was a packed house around the circuit. The race fans around this area are some of the best in the world. There were a lot of fans round this circuit and it was great to see them so excited to see the Rolex cars battle around this track."
Emil Assentato again turned in an impressive showing in the battle for the Bob Akin Award. The award is for the top gentleman driver every race and is based upon finishing position and the amount of time spent behind the wheel. Assentato and his co-driver Nick Longhi scored a twelfth place finish and took the award by six points, or one finishing position. Assentato is now 69 points ahead of Team Sahlen's Joe Nonnamaker for the end of the season award.
SpeedSource technical director David Haskell was impressed with the #69 FXDD Mazda and its drivers.
"Emil did a great job. He started the race and then took over at the end of the race to take home the twelfth place finish. He and Nick may have had a stronger run had it not been for contact from another GT machine late in the race."
The #70 Mazdaspeed Mazda took home a ninth place finish as Nick Ham and Tremblay encountered late race contact. The SpeedSource duo ran in the GT top five for most of the event. The late race contact with another GT car and the subsequent spin knocked the car out of podium contention.
Ham and Tremblay are currently sitting third in the GT team championship standings, individually Tremblay is fifth and Ham is sixth respectively with one race to go.
The final race in the GT season will be at Miller Motorsports Park in Toole, Utah on September 15th. The 1,000 kilometer season finale will be run around the 4.5 mile road course. Assentato, who leads the Bob Akin Award, will be looking to secure the honor with a strong run in the #69 Mazda RX-8.
Prior to heading to Miller Motorsports Park, SpeedSource will compete in the August 17th Grand-Am Koni Challenge event in Trois Rivieres, Quebec. With three races remaining in the 2007 Koni Challenge Street Tuner Series the team sits only 18 points out of the Driver and Team Championship.