Kenney Takes Tenth in Mosport Thriller Ontario, Canada (May 18, 2008) -- Canada's Mosport International Raceway hosted an eventful Round 2 of the 2008 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Series with Virginia's Liam Kenney overcoming penalties and ...
Kenney Takes Tenth in Mosport Thriller
Ontario, Canada (May 18, 2008) -- Canada's Mosport International Raceway hosted an eventful Round 2 of the 2008 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Series with Virginia's Liam Kenney overcoming penalties and treacherous conditions to score his first top-ten finish of the season with a well earned tenth at the checkered.
Kenney, making his race debut at the 2.459-mile permanent road course, had his first taste of the Canadian circuit in Saturday's 30-minute practice session. With rain greeting the 29-strong field of 2009-specification Volkswagen Jetta TDI's, all featuring clean diesel engines, the 16-year-old quickly learned his way in the wet. Posting the 20th fastest lap in the #35 ViON/Allsports Grand Prix/Speed Secrets entry, a dry track looked on the cards for the afternoon's qualifying session.
Despite the improved track conditions the field remained on wet tires for qualifying and tire degradation became an issue as the outing wore on. While Kenney just missed out on a top-ten lap time, the subsequent awarding of penalties relating to the opening round at Virginia International Raceway, issued post-qualifying at Mosport, demoted the 16-year-old Sterling resident to 20th on the grid for Round 2. With no fewer than 17 drivers being hit with penalties, the race order proved to be a mixed bag with only a handful of starting slots being representative of qualifying times.
Sunday morning's 30-minute race lacked little in the way of drama with the opening lap accounting for several retirements in the gravel traps at the first two turns. The subsequent deployment of the safety car held the field for the first six laps with Liam steering clear of incident to climb to an impressive 12th. Rain threatened at the re-start on lap seven, with 15 minutes already on the clock, while Kenney again found himself in the thick of the action.
He briefly raced as part of a 12-car lead train, climbing as high as fifth later as the rain eventually arrived and caught out the opposition. A brief off, due to the ever-worsening conditions, cost Kenney track position but he held on to take a deserved tenth place in the rain-shortened 11-lap race. Washington's David Jurca claimed the win ahead of Chris Holman and Jimmy Underhill.
"There was quite a bit of action going on at the start of the race, not all of it good," stated Kenney post-race. "I worked hard to avoid some of the carnage, kept my nose clean and drove as hard as I could out there without risking the car. When we got the green flag again I gained a ton of ground going from 12th to as high as fifth which was great but then the rain really started to beat down.
"Being out there in those conditions on slick tires was really tough but I tried to be as smooth as possible. The rear end of the car snapped out on me at the third turn and I made a great save to get back on track but had dropped down to ninth. From that point on it was almost impossible to control the car due to the rain so I concentrated on keeping it safe and making it home to the checkered. I can't complain about the result given where I started. It's great to get points and a top-ten finish."
Portland International Raceway in Portland, Oregon hosts Round 3 of the 2008 Jetta TDI Cup Series, Friday 25th -- Sunday 27th July 2008