Bowmanville, Ontario (August 8, 2004) - Steven Laporte of St. Sauveur (QC) crossed the finish line first at Round Seven of the Honda / Michelin Series held Sunday at the Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport. The Team Lombardi Honda driver edged Kuno ...
Bowmanville, Ontario (August 8, 2004) - Steven Laporte of St. Sauveur (QC) crossed the finish line first at Round Seven of the Honda / Michelin Series held Sunday at the Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport. The Team Lombardi Honda driver edged Kuno Wittmer of Hudson (QC) by 0.256 second at the conclusion of the 16-lap race. The third driver on the podium was Frederick Lelièvre of Mont-Joli (QC) who finished half a second behind the race winner.
The exciting race saw the Top-3 finishers exchanged the lead four times. Starting second on the grid, Laporte went by polesitter Lelièvre on lap 4 and held the lead until lap 6. The Team Lombardi driver was then passed by Kuno Wittmer on lap 7. He held off Laporte until the latter went by him on the back straight on lap 11 to run with the lead until the checkered flag.
However, following post-race inspection, Laporte's Honda was found to be underweight and he was excluded from the results, giving the win to Kuno Wittmer, his first of the season. Lelièvre inherited second place and Nick Wittmer, Kuno's brother third.
Starting fifth, Kuno Wittmer was up to second by lap five, and three laps later, his Honda de Sigi DX Coupe was leading the race. ''This was an exciting race,'' said Kuno. ''I made some passes to move up the field and led the race. So that is great. Steven (Laporte) and Fred (Lelièvre) are very tough competitors and that's what makes great racing. On the third lap, my brother (Nick) made a mistake in Moss Corner and I was able to take over third place. After that, there was the race long battle with Steven and Fred.'' As for Lelièvre, who now moves into first place in the standings tied with Nick Wittmer, he was pleased with the outcome of the race. ''This was the hardest race of my life,'' said the Lamontagne Auto driver, who led from the pole. ''This is a great series because all the cars are identical and it's the drivers that make the difference. I worked with Steven (Laporte) at the beginning of the race and led the first three laps. I made a driver mistake and Steven went by me to take the lead. On the next lap, Kuno (Wittmer) passed me coming out of Moss Corner. I never expected him to make a move there. I gave him room because I did not want to be involved in a crash. Points are more important, and this podium keeps me in the championship hunt.''
Nick Wittmer inherited third place with his Ste-Rose Honda sponsored Civic DX Coupe. He crossed the finish line only six-tenths ahead of Normand Boyer of Ste. Agathe. Didier Schraenen of Mont St. Hilaire finished fifth. The Energie/NAPA/RDS driver lost three positions at the start of the race to drop to seventh. ''We came in three wide in corner 1 at the start of the race,'' said Schraenen. ''There was nowhere to go but onto the grass, and that's where I lost positions.''
Robert Boyer of Ste. Anne-des-Lacs (QC), Travis Walker of Mississauga (ON), Denis Baillargeon of Montreal, Emmanuel Boivin-Moreau of Longueuil (QC) and Russ Bond of Uxbridge (ON) round up the Top-10.
After seven races, Nick Wittmer and Frederick Lelièvre are now the new provisional points leaders with 157 points each. Third is Didier Schraenen with 155, followed by Normand Boyer with 142 and race winner Kuno Wittmer with 141.
Round 8 of the Honda / Michelin Series will be held August 22 at the Saint-Eustache (QC) road course.
The Honda / Michelin series is a 10-race series held over nine weekends. Six races are contested in Ontario (Mosport & Shannonville) and four in Quebec (Montreal, Trois-Rivières, Saint-Eustache & Mont-Tremblant).
The stock Honda Civic DX Coupes are equipped with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires, and provide a truly low cost form of motor racing. The series was re-introduced to encourage young drivers to enter the sport, but it did not deter some veterans from returning to the series. The single-make Championship Series gives drivers the opportunity the showcase their talent in identical cars. The Honda / Michelin Challenge Series reinforces the fun-to-drive aspects of the Civic and will be further supported by its reputation for quality, reliability and durability. The Honda Civic has been the top-selling passenger car in Canada for the past six years.
The road racing series was originally launched in 1976 with the Honda Civic hatchback. During its 17-year run, the series has attracted more than 400 racers. Among the Canadian race drivers who have competed in this series are Richard Spenard, Tony Morris, Frank Allers, Marc Dancose and Jacques Villeneuve, brother of the late Formula 1 driver Gilles Villeneuve.
The series is sanctioned by ASN Canada FIA and sponsored by Honda Canada Inc. The series is co-sponsored by Michelin North America (Canada) Inc., Alpine, Bosal, CSC, Goodridge and NGK.