CANADA (May 20, 2001)- Peter Cunningham, of W. Bend, Wis., led flag-to-flag for his second-consecutive SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge GT Championship race win, taking the Mosport International Raceway Victoria Day weekend event-the...
CANADA (May 20, 2001)- Peter Cunningham, of W. Bend, Wis., led flag-to-flag for his second-consecutive SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge GT Championship race win, taking the Mosport International Raceway Victoria Day weekend event-the 100th in World Challenge history. Mike Fitzgerald, of Phoenix, Ariz., and Michael Galati, of N. Olmstead, Ohio, completed the top-three.
Driving the supercharged No. 42 RealTime Racing Acura NSX, Cunningham started from the pole and led each of the 29-laps to take a 1.498-second win over Fitzgerald, averaging 83.351 mph.
Cunningham got away from the standing start first, but had his mirrors full of Fitzgerald's No. 94 Trans Sport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for several laps until a fire on Tommy Safar's Saleen SR bunched the field up under caution.
Upon the restart, the field experienced and accordion effect, with Galati's No. 9 Champion Audi S4 Competition getting into the back of Jeff McMillin's BMW M3, which was in third at the time. McMillin in turn gave Fitzgerald a bump, which was the push he needed to challenge Cunningham for the lead. The Acura held on, however, while McMillin made a call to the pits for repairs, eventually finishing 14th.
Cunningham held off Fitzgerald the next several laps, and gradually pulled away to take his record-setting 21st win, taking the season points lead, with 96.
"The race was a little harder than it probably looked, but the Acura NSX is really a great car for Mosport International Raceway," said Cunningham. "After the yellow, Mike Fitzgerald was really pressuring me, so I had to push harder in some areas of the track and started to use up the tires. There were a couple of laps where I began to pull away at the end."
Fitzgerald kept within 1.3 seconds for most of the race, but caught slower traffic, which pushed the margin up to nearly three seconds with a scarce number of laps remaining.
"I caught a couple of cars in turn eight that [Cunningham] was able to pass on the back straight," said Fitzgerald. "I didn't get around the second one until after turn one, and that really hurt. I was doing all I could. My crew was telling me Cunningham's lap times, which were always about a tenth quicker than mine."
Galati came back from an uncharacteristically poor start from third on the grid to retake the position on the lap-eight restart. Galati, who was tied with Cunningham for the point lead prior to the event, left six points behind, with 90.
"Everybody checked up [on the restart] and I got into the back of McMillin," said Galati. "I hit him pretty hard and it hurt my car because my front splitter was pointing straight up. I thought we were done.
"At the start, I got a good launch, but the car just bogged down and everyone went past."
Galati was rewarded at the end of the day with the Rogaine "Hair Raising" Pass of the Race, when he passed Johannes van Overbeek and Phil McClure in turn five.
van Overbeek, of Danville, Calif., came out on top of a great battle for fourth, which also included fifth-place finisher Jimmy Adams, of Suffolk, Va., Justin Jackson, of Alpharetta, Ga., Bobby Archer, of Fort Worth, Texas, and McClure, of Floris, Iowa.
Bob Miller, of Oakton, Va., started 15th in his Roagine/DirecPC/At Speed Motorsports Porsche, spun to last and made his way back up to ninth to earn the Borla Performance Award.