TRG Places Two Porsches in Top 10 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve No. 65 Porsche MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada - TRG came into the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Montreal 200 as the defending GT race champions,...
TRG Places Two Porsches in Top 10 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
No. 65 Porsche MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada - TRG came into the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Montreal 200 as the defending GT race champions, and for most of the race, it appeared the team had a good shot at repeating the performance.
Unfortunately, the racing gods had other ideas and TRG's Porsches were forced to pit lane in the closing minutes of the two-hour timed event, denying them a shot a victory. However, the late pit stops did enable two of the four TRG entries to come home with top-10 results.
"We had a great run," said TRG owner Kevin Buckler. "We tried to stretch that fuel as much as we could, and no matter what we would have done, we would have had to come in. It would have been a throwaway. We were hoping for a yellow or anything to slow the field down. It didn't happen, that's the way it goes. We had to come in for fuel, but we had two cars in the top 10 and no accidents. It was a good weekend, but we would have liked to finish better."
Topping the charts for the team was the No. 67 Johnny Love Vodka/TRG Porsche GT3 of co-drivers Tim George Jr. and Andy Lally. George drove the opening stint and turned the No. 67 machine over to Lally in 10th at the 45-minute mark in the race. Lally then worked his way up through the remaining hour and 15 minutes, and was poised for a top-five result. However, the three-time Rolex Series champion was forced to pit lane with about one minute left in the race and he brought the No. 67 machine home in sixth place.
It was the team's eighth top-10 result in 11 races and allowed George to continue leading the MESCO Building for the Future Rookie of the Year championship with two races still remaining on the schedule. It was also Lally's fourth consecutive top 10 and his fifth in six races this year, while it was the third straight top-10 run for George and his eighth top 10 of the year overall.
"It was very interesting at the end," said George. "People started running out of gas. We had cars coasting to the checkered. It was really good. I gave Andy a pretty decent car there. We had a little issue with the rear brake bias in the beginning, but we got that sorted out. I got a little hit from the (No.) 21 (car) and had a couple of GT cars that went by us, but other than that, we brought the Johnny Love Vodka/TRG Porsche to pit lane in pretty decent shape, in the top 10. I've got a nice, solid grip on the rookie lead and that's what we're working on now towards the end of the season."
Coming home two spots behind their No. 67 teammates were Canadian Hima Maher and 2005 Rolex Series GT champion Craig Stanton in the No. 65 Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing/Total R Solutions Porsche GT3 for TRG/Riegel Autosport. It was Stanton's fifth top-10 result in his past seven starts and was Maher's fourth straight top-10 performance. The Calgary, Alberta-resident matched his career-best result of eighth, which he also achieved at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May and Daytona International Speedway last month.
"This one was the best," Maher said. "We stayed on the lead lap. We got, maybe, 20 laps total in practice yesterday. It was a quick qualifying today and we were thrown into the race. We stayed on the lead lap and did a great fuel strategy. We finished in eighth and on the lead lap. I'm ecstatic!"
Just missing the top 10 were co-drivers Spencer Pumpelly and Ted Ballou in the No. 66 Mitchell Rubber Porsche GT3. Within the final 10 minutes of the race, Pumpelly was actually running second and had the leader in sight. Unfortunately, he came onto pit road with about five minutes remaining in the race for a quick splash of fuel and rejoined the fight in eighth place. With many other cars running out of fuel on the final lap of the race, Pumpelly would have likely scored a top-10 result himself, but the tank ran dry on the final lap and the No. 66 machine was scored in 11th place, one lap down to the class winners.
"We had a good race," Ballou said. "I picked up a few spots at the beginning and handed it over to Spencer. We had a great car. The crew did a great job getting it back together after yesterday. I had an abbreviated drive yesterday, so I didn't drive much. Spencer drove straight to the front and did an incredible job. We deserved better. Unfortunately, we ran out of gas out there. That's the way it goes in racing, but it was a lot of fun. Spencer did a great job."
RJ Valentine and Bryan Sellers came home 16th in the No. 68 CRG/Maxter/Rotax/MBA Group/F1 Air Porsche GT3. Valentine drove the opening stint before turning the car over to Sellers, who suffered terrible luck with two flat tires dropping him several laps back. Valentine, though drove his fastest laps of the weekend in the heat and pressure of the race itself and Sellers turned the fastest lap of the entire GT field during the race.