Empringham Leads Grand-Am KONI Challenge GS Practice at Grand Prix Trois-Rivieres; Theetge Tops ST Class TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Canada (August 17, 2007) -- Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres Hall of Famer David Empringham, driving the No....
Empringham Leads Grand-Am KONI Challenge GS Practice at Grand Prix Trois-Rivieres; Theetge Tops ST Class
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Canada (August 17, 2007) -- Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres Hall of Famer David Empringham, driving the No. 5 Blackforest Motorsports Mustang, and No. 75 Kensai Racing Acura TSX pilot Benoit Theetge paced their respective classes Friday in an action-filled opening day of practice for this weekend's double header on the legendary Trois-Rivieres circuit.
The morning GS practice saw great weather and fast lap times as Empringham turned what proved to be the fastest speed of the day at 1:12.510 (75.515 mph) just nine minutes into the session. Morning practice was cut short just one minute later, however, when Dean Martin was uninjured after flipping his No. 59 Rehagen Racing Mustang into the Turn 8 tire barrier.
"The car was very fast this morning," said Empringham, who will be inducted Friday evening into the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres Hall of Fame. "The team did a great job and we expect to have an excellent car for the race on Sunday. This is like a home track for me so I always enjoy the races here at Trois-Rivieres. It will definitely be an exciting and competitive race."
Championship contender Joe Foster managed to find some dry track after a mid-day rain shower to post the second fastest lap of the day in the afternoon session in the No. 55 Hyper Sport/Supercuts Mustang at 1:12.921 (75.089 mph). Friday's third fastest lap was recorded by the No. 49 Marcus Motorsports Porsche 997 of Spencer Pumpelly at 1:13.050 (74.957 mph).
Less than a second separated the times of the top 10 cars in the ST class, with Kensai Racing's Theetge leading the field. A Quebec local, Theetge posted the lap of 1:15.915 (72.128 mph) after taking over for teammate Beau Buisson halfway through this morning's session. Jocelyn Hebert, another stellar Canadian talent, posted the second fastest lap time at 1:16.003 (72.045 mph) in the No. 189 89 Racing Team Honda Civic Si. Rounding out the top three was Bob Endicott in the No. 144 Davis Motorsports Acura TSX at 1:16.077 (71.974 mph).
"The car was good this morning, after a couple of laps we turned a fast time on old tires and brake pads so we can't wait to see what the car will do with new tires and brakes," Theetge said. "We did not go out in the second session because we know the weather will be nice tomorrow and we did not want to take a chance of hurting the car. I definitely think we will have a strong car for the race tomorrow."
The afternoon session for the ST cars came just after the rain storm hit and only a limited number of competitors went out on the track which was much slower than the morning session.
The Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres will feature split KONI Challenge Series races. Qualifying for both races will be held tomorrow morning starting with the ST class at 9:15 a.m. and followed by the GS class at 9:45 a.m. The green flag will drop for the ST class race at 1:30 p.m. The weekend will wrap up with the GS race on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Following this weekend's event, the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series will appear again at Miller Motorsports Park for a combined race on August 14, and will conclude the 2007 season with split six-hour races at Virginia International Raceway on October 6 and 7.