Turner Motorsport Victorious in Grand-Am KONI Challenge GS Race at Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres Auberlen/Gleason take the win in GS Class while Hopwood/Burrows maintain lead in ST Championship TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Canada (August 19, 2007) -...
Turner Motorsport Victorious in Grand-Am KONI Challenge GS Race at Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres
Auberlen/Gleason take the win in GS Class while Hopwood/Burrows maintain lead in ST Championship
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Canada (August 19, 2007) - Sports car star Bill Auberlen took the lead with 15 minutes remaining in Sunday's two-hour Grand-Am KONI Challenge Grand Sport (GS) race and went on to win at the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres for the second time in three years in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport/Stoptech Brakes/H&R Springs BMW M3 he co-drove with Chris Gleason.
Auberlen drove all but the first eight laps of the 90-lap race and took the lead for the second and final time when Scott Maxwell pitted while leading during the race's third and final caution period on lap 77. On the restart, Andy Lally pressured Auberlen until the finish but was never able to pass for the lead. Auberlen led Lally's Porsche 997 across the finish line by a tight .267 of a second as the pair of Grand-Am champions raced each other hard but clean for the final 10 laps.
"It was a tight race at the end before we came into the pits, we had a 13-second lead, but after the pit stop we somehow lost 10 seconds off the lead," said Auberlen, who won here in 2005 in the same Turner BMW M3 with Justin Marks. "Lally came out right behind me, but luckily he didn't catch me. It was a phenomenal race. He was tucked in so close to me, I lost sight of him many times in my mirror; it was really tough. Chris did an awesome job in the beginning"
Trois-Rivieres is known for being the toughest track on brakes in North America. While other teams were forced to conserve brakes to finish the race, Turner Motorsport credits much of their victory to their Stoptech brakes, which allowed them to maintain aggressive braking for the entire race.
Gleason, who first raced at Trois-Rivieres in Formula Atlantic competition in 1973, finally scored a win at one of his favorite races. After qualifying an impressive sixth, Gleason exited the No. 96 Turner BMW on lap eight and was joined by the other top finishers in the early driver change strategy. The gamble resulted in the Turner duo's second win of the year after scoring at Lime Rock on Memorial Day weekend.
"To win this race means so much to me," Gleason said. "If I could choose any race on the calendar, this would be the one I wanted to win. This is something I will treasure forever. Bill Auberlen, what can I say, no matter what I do, he steps up to the plate and gets it done. It was a great race for the fans. At the end, there were arguably the two best sports car racers in the U.S. battling it out. It was a wonderful event."
The last 10 laps featured one of the year's closest battles with the leaders racing side by side at some points. Lally and Auberlen both showed why they are considered to be two of the best American sports car talents and never made contact despite being only inches away from each other for over 15 minutes.
Driving the #97 H&R Springs/Borla Exhaust BMW M3, Will Turner and Don Salama raced hard from their front-row starting position. They were podium contenders before some car-to-car contact occurred late in the race, moving them back and ultimately finishing in 10th place for the race.
In the Street Tuner (ST) Class, Turner Motorsport drivers Trevor Hopwood and Adam Burrows finished with an impressive 3rd place - their fifth podium of the year. An intense battle during the two-hour race left many competitors making repairs in the pits but the Turner BMW 330i ran trouble-free all weekend allowing them to continue their lead in the ST Championship. With only 2 races left in the series, the duo will be looking to stand atop the podium again so they may clinch the ST class championship.
"I think we might have been too conservative at the end, we probably would have had something more for them at the end but that's racing," says Hopwood. "I have to thank Turner for giving us a great car. We knew this was going to be a bit of a survival race and it was great how the brakes held up for us all the way to the end. We really had the whole package here this weekend."