Trois-Rivi?res GT race report

Trois-Rivières, Quebec (August 4, 2001) -- Spencer Pumpelly, of Mason Neck, Va., scored his first-ever Rolex Sports Car Series victory in the GT race at Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières today. Pumpelly started off the day by winning the GT class...

Trois-Rivières, Quebec (August 4, 2001) -- Spencer Pumpelly, of Mason Neck, Va., scored his first-ever Rolex Sports Car Series victory in the GT race at Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières today. Pumpelly started off the day by winning the GT class pole position and endured throughout the entire race, opting to not make a driver change, to capture the overall win.

Although Pumpelly was scheduled to co-drive with Rick Dilorio, of Boston, in the Alliance Residential Management #34 Porsche GT3 R of Zip/Pumpelly Racing, the team changed its strategy when they moved into the lead. Driver changes are customary during Rolex Series races, but are not mandatory. Teams are penalized bonus points for not performing a driver change, however the Zip/Pumpelly team is currently out of the race for the championship due to a late start on the season and felt an overall win was more important.

"We wanted to win, and G&W was going too fast," explained Dilorio, whose decision it was to keep Pumpelly behind the wheel. "If we got a yellow, we would have come in for a driver change and fresh tires, but we couldn't afford to do it under green."

Pumpelly took the lead on lap nine of the 82-lap race, after fighting to pass the polesitting ACP Motorsports Corvette for several laps. "The beginning of the race was tough because the AGT car gave me a really good race," he remarked.

As the race continued, several cars began ducking into the pits for driver changes, however Pumpelly and Tom Papadopoulos, of Forest Hills, N.Y., in the Autosport Designs Inc. Porsche GT3 R remained on the course and with a strong lead over the rest of the field. Eventually Papadopoulos pitted for fuel and fresh tires, leaving the Zip/Pumpelly machine with more than a 50-second lead.

However, Darren Law, of Phoenix, was gaining ground in the Motorola/Valley Group/CommScope #81 Porsche GT3 R of G&W Motorsports. Pumpelly eventually dove into the pits for a splash-and-go pit stop with only eight laps remaining. He held more than a 20-second lead over Law when he came back onto the track. Although the G&W Porsche continued to gain ground on the leader, it eventually ran out of time and took the checkered flag 7.6-seconds back.

"(Zip/Pumpelly) did the right thing as far as strategy, but we really were banking on everyone doing a driver change," said Law, whose second-place finish strengthened his quest for back-to-back team and driver championships.

Papadopoulos tried to hold on for third-place overall, but was outrun on the back straightaway during the final lap by Doug Goad, of Farmington Hills, Mich., in the X-1R Performance Lubricants/Goodyear-sponsored #09 Corvette. Goad and Team X-1R co-driver Craig Conway, of Daytona Beach, Fla., not only earned their first overall podium, but also picked up their sixth American GT win of the season.

Goad started the race in the Sunoco/Encompass-sponsored #011 Corvette of Powell Motorsports, which raced in the Super Grand Sport (SGS) class. He was leading the SGS class when he handed over the reigns of the Powell machine to Devon Powell, of Port Perry, Ont., in order to move into the X-1R Corvette. However, Powell was unable retake the class lead, and the team's six-race winning streak came to an end.

The Mears Motor Coach/Champion Porsche/Fikse/Dyanmnic Suspension-sponsored #65 Porsche 911 Supercup was too quick for the Corvette, and it cruised to its first-ever victory in the SGS class. "It was beautiful. It was the first time for both of us racing at this course," said Speedsource driver David Haskell, of Plantation, Fla., about he and co-driver Shelby Wellman, of Cary, N.C. "I'm sure focusing on only the SGS class helped. I really haven't had that much time in this car, since I usually race in the GS car too."

Two Grand-Am races will be run at Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières on Sunday, with the Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series taking to the course at 8:35 a.m., and the prototype and GTS cars of the Rolex Sports Car Series racing live on Speedvision at 3 p.m. Today's race will be aired on Speedvision at 2 p.m., on Sunday.

-www.grand-am.com.

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Devon Powell , Doug Goad , Shelby Wellman , David Haskell , Craig Conway , Darren Law , Spencer Pumpelly , Port Perry , Tom Papadopoulos