Drama and delight for Comprent at Road America. Being new to the IMSA Lites calendar this year, Road America was always going to provide one of the most interesting race weekend's of the season but no one in the Comprent camp ...
Drama and delight for Comprent at Road America.
Being new to the IMSA Lites calendar this year, Road America was always going to provide one of the most interesting race weekend's of the season but no one in the Comprent camp expected it to be filled with so much drama, carnage, heartache or delight.
In practise Jonathan Gore (Franklin, TN) and Charlie Shears (Houston, TX) set the pace within the Comprent team, but in Friday Qualifying it was Australian Tom Drewer (Adelaide, AUS) who shone early, putting together an early lap to be sitting in 2nd position before dropping to 4th as the session was red flagged due to a high speed crash involving fellow Comprent driver Wayne Ducote (New Orleans, LA).
While taking the infamous Road America kink flat-out at over 130mph, Wayne's left rear tyre instantly deflated pitching his Park One / Waskey Bridges car into the wall.
Describing the incident Wayne said, "I was a passenger. Normally I'm worried about how much it's going to cost but this time I was worried about how much it was going to hurt. But I managed to straighten the car and hit the wall side-on.
It's a testament to the strength of the Elan DP-02s. Everything broke in the right place, absorbing the impact and no damage was done to the carbon tub. That was a big hit and I wasn't even sore the next day."
After the track was cleared Charlie Shears moved up to 5th place while Tom and Jonathan's final hotlaps were halted. Tom's engine let go mid-lap, while Jonathan had to abort his lap when a safety car dispatched itself onto the hot circuit in front of the Foretravel Motorcoach driver. The pair finished qualifying 6th and 8th respectively.
David Ducote (Houston, TX) qualified in 15th place while Wayne's lap three shunt left him 17th.
The entire Comprent team banded together to rebuild Wayne's car and replace Tom's engine in time for Race 1, Round 9, on Saturday morning.
Once it finally got underway after two waive-offs, Jonathan Gore made a tremendous start to Race 1 to move in front of Tom Drewer heading into turn 1. Three quarters of a lap later the trio of Charlie Shears, Jonathan and Tom were lucky to avoid an incident involving Eurosport's Matt and Lucas Downs, which brought out a full-course yellow.
After the restart, Comprent Motor Sport were informed that Car #1, Tom Drewer, was receiving a black flag, and stop go penalty, for starting the race with a different engine to that used in qualifying. This however is not a rule in the IMSA Lites code and it must be noted that Comprent Motor Sport, its team members and driver Tom did in no way breach any rules or regulations.
Unable to negotiate the penalty the team complied with race control and instructed Tom to pit that lap for the incorrectly applied stop and go penalty. This effectively ruined Tom's weekend, who was running 6th at the time of being issued the black flag and rejoined the track in last place.
Before completing one full lap of the circuit at full pace the race was again placed under full-course yellow and the race remained under full-course yellow until the chequered flag was displayed. Tom Drewer's Ubantu Resort sponsored car was classified 14th in class.
Meanwhile Jonathan Gore used the multiple restarts to his full advantage, avoided the mayhem and got past teammate Charlie Shears (4th) to take 3rd, another podium finish for Comprent Motor Sports.
"This is another great result for myself and Foretravel Motorcoach. Another podium really helps my chase for the Championship", said Jonathan.
David and Wayne Ducote both pushed hard and moved through the field, finishing 8th and 13th respectively, from 15th and 17th on the grid.
As a result of the incorrectly issued black flag Tom Drewer never completed a full 'flying-lap' in Race 1 to set his qualifying position for Race 2, Round 10 and started in 15th position. The young Australian fought hard to finish in 8th position.
"Today was a race against the clock. We shouldn't have started where we did and I just pushed as hard as I could. I just ran out of laps", said Tom.
Jonathan Gore and Charlie Shears did however, and started Round 10 4th and 5th respectively.
Continuing on from his recent form Gore got a blinding start and led the field heading into Turn 1. Joel Feinberg took over the position on the next lap and Gore found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time in the draft dropping back to finish fifth.
It looked like it was Charlie Shears' turn to score another podium for Comprent. He looked set to claim either the second or third step on the podium after moving up past Jonathan. Then with three laps to go disaster struck the US Builders car.
"I'm gutted. We were on for second. I drove a great race and Kenny and the Comprent boys had prepared a great car. An axle failed with just three to go."
David Ducote, who started 11th lost one position to finish 12th, while his father Wayne moved up one place from 16th to 15th.
Comprent team owner Kevin Kloefper summed up the Road America weekend: "A fantastic podium and points haul for Jonathan Gore. Otherwise it was a weekend of adversity. Poor Charlie looked set to claim another podium but luck wasn't on his side.
As for Tom, I'm extremely disappointed with what happened. It was out of our control. We did nothing wrong, we didn't break any rules or regulations.
The team worked tirelessly to swap Tom's engines and to fix Wayne's car after that big wreck. This weekend was a big effort. I can't thank all the boys enough for all their hard work. Another podium is a great result. Once again, well done to Jonathan."