Lites: Tom Drewer Road Atlanta summary

Drewer on podium at Petit Le Mans two years in a row. Tom Drewer has claimed a podium finish for the second successive year at the Road Atlanta circuit in Georgia USA at the running of the Petit Le Mans event. The ex- Adelaide driver took...

Drewer on podium at Petit Le Mans two years in a row.

Tom Drewer has claimed a podium finish for the second successive year at the Road Atlanta circuit in Georgia USA at the running of the Petit Le Mans event.

The ex- Adelaide driver took second place in the pent ultimate 2009 IMSA Lites round, backing up his two victories at the iconic event last year in the L2 category that also saw him take the Championship in his first year of international competition.

Drewer started his 2009 Road Atlanta campaign extremely strongly on the fast undulating 2.54mile (4km) circuit with his Ubantu Resort sponsored car second fastest until the dying seconds of qualifying when he was bumped to fourth.

"Qualifying was like a world title fight. We were trading fastest times all session long and it was a matter of who landed the last blow with the fastest lap before the bell rang to finish the session. It was a real blast and I guess any of about six of seven drivers could have had pole", Drewer said.

In Race 1 Drewer and his Ubantu Resort Elan showed electrifying pace and he pushed Canadian Kyle Marcelli until the very end after the pair eventually broke away from the pack in the highly competitive 25 car field.

"Like in qualifying I had a ball. The race was run all the way without a caution or a pace car and we really went for it.

For about the first third of the race the top ten were all backed up with each other, but then Kyle and I broke away and in the end we finished more than 20 seconds ahead of the guy in third. We just kept on punching out 180kph average lap speeds, but I just couldn't put the pass on Kyle and he deserved the win. He drove a great race"

With grid positions for Race 2 determined by lap times in the first event, Drewer was elevated to the front row by virtue of him turning a lap of 1:21.059 - faster than Marcelli - but an agonising 6 thousands of a second off the pole time set by Gary Gibson

In the race Drewer again pushed hard from the green and slotted into second, but then Marcelli attempted a pass around the outside into turn 10 and the two cars touched.

"I wanted to give Kyle racing room and I figure he didn't try to pull into me, but when we made contact my car got a little out of shape and it turned me round into the gravel.

It's a little unusual to come out second best in an incident like this when you are on the inside, but I'm not blaming Kyle and I figure it was a true racing incident. We race to win and drive tough but as far as I am concerned it was just one of those things. I figure I will still buy Kyle a beer and a pie from the Aussie pie shop here in Atlanta when I get a chance!

Unfortunately I got beached in the gravel and it took forever to get out of it. I was nearly a lap down on the leader but I just went for it from the back of the field and set the second fastest lap of the race, and went faster than the three guys on the podium despite all the traffic I had to pass.

I was sort of hoping for a yellow to bunch it all up. It's funny because most of the time I hate the caution laps, but anyway it didn't happen so I passed about 10 cars and finished in 13th.

It was a great race and it's sometimes like that. You don't get the result at the end but you know you when you are in the zone and I was very positive about my drive. I had a good car, I had the speed, and I didn't leave anything in the garage. That's why I go racing.

I guess my podium in race 1 and the drive in race 2 made some impact also because one of the guys from the Audi Le Mans team and plenty of others in the paddock took the time to give me a pat on the back. That's nice when you get that sort of feedback from guys who really know the business."

Drewer now looks to winter testing in the USA for the 2010 season before returning home to Australia for Christmas.

"I am determined to make another progression in 2010. I'm already speaking to multiple teams about different rides next year and I might just be testing one of those possibilities very soon. So as they say, stay tuned.

I didn't win the Championship this year, but I am a better, more complete driver than I was 12 months ago, and two years ago when I left Australia to have a real go.

Pole in New Jersey was cool and to podium here at Road Atlanta was really great.

A huge thanks to everyone that has made this season possible- Ubantu Resort, Nichole Jennings and John Trimble, my dad Mike and mom Jacquie, Terry Little, and everyone who has backed my car from Australia.

Then there is my trainer Gary Daniels and Health Defense, Comprent Motor Sport team owner Kevin Kloepfer, my crew guys Terry Jinks, Casey Free and John Stephens and all the others back at the shop. They have all done an awesome job."

-credit: tomdrewer.com

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About this article
Series IMSA Others
Drivers Kyle Marcelli , Gary Gibson , Tom Drewer