Didier Schraenen to Defend his Points Lead Against Seven-Time Mosport Winner Normand Boyer Bowmanville, Ontario (August 5, 2004) - The Honda / Michelin Challenge Series returns to Mosport International Raceway this weekend for the third time...
Didier Schraenen to Defend his Points Lead Against Seven-Time Mosport Winner Normand Boyer
Bowmanville, Ontario (August 5, 2004) - The Honda / Michelin Challenge Series returns to Mosport International Raceway this weekend for the third time this season for Round 7 of the 2004 schedule. The series brings its competitive door-to-door racing as a support race for the Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport this weekend with the American Le Mans Series and the SPEED World Challenge Series.
"Mosport's road course poses a significant challenge for Honda Michelin Series racers," said Ralph Luciw, Honda Series Director. "Drivers can't afford to make mistakes on this difficult circuit, as they will be quickly in trouble. During the first half of the season, our young drivers have learned how the Honda Civics react in racing situations, and the lessons learned have paid off with wins by rookie Travis Walker and Nick Wittmer in the last two events. Armed with a two-race experience in Mosport, they will be a force to be reckoned with this weekend."
Many racers are looking forward to racing at their home track for the third time this season. Alex Penfold of Georgetown (ON), tied for sixth place in the standings with Normand Boyer with 119 points each, is looking for his first win of the season. The Pfaff Leasing driver earned his second podium of the season in the last race held at Trois-Rivières, finishing behind race winner Nick Wittmer. Penfold had won Round 3 at Mosport from pole position, but the rookie driver was penalized two spots for contact while trying to gain a position (on Steven Laporte) on the last lap of the race. He's eager to show that he can win again.
Tied for fourth in the standings with Montrealer Nick Wittmer with 121 points each, Ryan Kelly of London (ON) has six Top-9 finishes this season with a second-place podium finish in Round 5 at Shannonville on July 4. The KelCoatings sponsored driver has also won two poles, the first one in the season opener at Mosport and in Shannonville 2 where he finished second. Rookie Travis Walker is ninth in the standings with 103 points. The Mississauga driver has had had an up and down season with a brilliant win in Round 5 at Shannonville, but the Oakville Honda sponsored driver also has four finishes outside the Top-10.
What's at Stake?
This will be a crucial race for Didier Schraenen as he defends his 5-point lead in the standings over fellow Quebec drivers Steven Laporte and Frederick Lelièvre. Schraenen has been holding on to first place for the last two events. But Didier's biggest threat in Mosport may come from Normand Boyer of Ste. Agathe (QC) who won seven times at the famed Ontario track since 1986 and twice so far this season. Boyer is only 15 points back of Schraenen.
Five drivers have won races in the first six events Coming into Round 7 at Mosport, veteran Didier Schraenen (Winner in Shannonville 1) is still the series leader with 134 points following Trois-Rivières. The Energie/NAPA/RDS driver's lead has been reduced from eight to five points over Steven Laporte (Winner in Montreal) and Frederick Lelièvre. Nick Wittmer (Winner in Trois-Rivières) is fourth, tied with Ryan Kelly with 121 points each. Two points back is three-time champion Normand Boyer (Winner of both Mosport races) and rookie Alex Penfold with 119 points each. Denis Baillargeon is eighth with 114 points. Rookie Travis Walker (Winner in Shannonville 2) and Kuno Wittmer round up the Top-10 with 103 and 102 points respectively.
In the rookie standings, Penfold leads with 167 points, seven up on Walker. Emmanuel Boivin-Moreau of Longueuil (QC) is third with 148 points, followed by Jamie Holtom of Ottawa with 102 and Kyle Brack of Toronto with 73.
The racing excitement for the Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport gets underway on Friday morning with a 30-minute practice session at 11:30. Honda / Michelin Series drivers will return on track on Saturday at 10:15 a.m. for the qualifying session that will set the grid for Sunday's race that will begin at 3:00 p.m.
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.