Claude Brouillard takes the season opener GRANBY, QC, May 22, 2004 -- Track champion in the Modified division in 2002, veteran driver Claude Brouillard got a good start at Autodrome Granby last Friday night by winning the season opener, the...
Claude Brouillard takes the season opener
GRANBY, QC, May 22, 2004 -- Track champion in the Modified division in 2002, veteran driver Claude Brouillard got a good start at Autodrome Granby last Friday night by winning the season opener, the "Docteur Pare-brise 50". Brouillard had the best on Marco Potvin and Mario Moreau. For the winner, it was his sixth consecutive presence on the podium on opening night at this Eastern Townships speedplant.
Third on the starting grid, Brouillard saw American driver Leon Gonyo having a real good start for the lead at the drop of the green flag. Followed by Ian Bussière, the fastest driver in the time trials, Gonyo then suddenly entered his pits due to mechanical problems after only nine laps. Bussière took the lead with Brouillard on his rear bumper. Six laps later, the young Drummondville driver made a little mistake and that was what Brouillard was waiting for.
After that, Brouillard never looked back. On lap 27, a spectacular crash occurred in turn three just behind the two leaders, Brouillard and Potvin who had made his way to the second spot after starting sixth. Involving almost ten cars, this impact caused a red flag for security reasons.
Involved were many favourites like Kayle Robidoux, Real Lafrance, Alain Boisvert. Martin Roy, Stephane Lafrance, Patrice McGrail, David Hebert, Alex Fortier and Ian Bussière. The race ended for many of these drivers but Hebert, McGrail and Bussière were able to come back as well as Real Lafrance. A few laps after the restart, Lafrance went back to his pits, retiring due to suspension problems.
The race went on without any other caution flags and the third place went to Mario Moreau, a driver whose car was powered by aluminum heads according to new rules in effect at Granby this season. Clement Therrien and Richard Chauvin rounded up the top five.
Earlier in the evening, the season had begun very well for Kayle Robidoux and David Hebert as they won their respective heats while Ontario's Stephane Lafrance took the consi.
A good performance
In the Sportsman division, 27 drivers took the start of the 20-lap feature. Fans were on their feet almost for the entire race to watch young driver Sebastien Gougeon. Twelfth on the starting grid, Gougeon was in Daniel Messier's rear bumper before the midway point. After that, Gougeon tried everything he could to overtake Messier and it's only by a few feet that Messier had the last word. Only at his second season, Michel Fagnan surprised everybody with a third place finish and a first time on the podium.
Gougeon and Michel Dusseault were the winners in their respective heats.
In the other divisions, Michel Coderre was the winner in the Semi-Pro and Jonathan Juinville in the 4 Cylinders.
Next Friday, Autodrome Granby will be the site of the 19th Eastern Townships Championship, a Syracuse qualifier.
MODIFIED -- 50 laps
1- 3, Claude Brouillard 2- 2, Marco Potvin 3- 5, Mario Moreau 4- 39, Clement Therien 5- 31, Richard Chauvin 6- 1, David Hebert 7- 66w, Wallace Stacey 8- 24, Stephane Michaud 9- 21, Ian Bussière 10- 10, Patrice McGrail 11- 78, Vince Quenneville Jr., 12- 19, Michel Pelletier 13- 8, Christian Salvas 14- 8G, Tom Gonyo 15- 11, Real Lafrance 16- 73, Alain Boisvert 17- 90, Martin Roy 18- 115, Stephane Lafrance 19- 46, Kayle Robidoux 20- 09, Alex Fortier 21- 4K, Jasmin Leveille 22- 4, Leon Gonyo 23- 2x, Mario Lajoie.