KLAUS GRAF- VICTORIOUS IN AMERICA PORTLAND, Ore. (June 18, 2005) Trans-Am series rookie, Klaus Graf, drove his No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR to victory in only his second race with the Rocketsports Racing team. Starting the Rose City 100 from...
KLAUS GRAF- VICTORIOUS IN AMERICA
PORTLAND, Ore. (June 18, 2005) Trans-Am series rookie, Klaus Graf, drove his No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR to victory in only his second race with the Rocketsports Racing team. Starting the Rose City 100 from the fifth position after the inversion rule, Graf slowly worked his way to the front and took the lead from teammate, Paul Gentilozzi on Lap 15 and never looked back. Gentilozzi led the first 15 laps until an electric issue sidelined the four-time champions. The 1999 rookie of the year, Tomy Drissi, flirted with the top-five all day but an altercation with another competitor relinquished his No. 5 Fantastic Four the Movie Jaguar XKR to eighth place.
After taking the lead from Gentilozzi, Graf drove a flawless race winning his first event in the Trans-Am series and the United Sates. Saturdays victory was the third for the Rocketsports developed, Jaguar production based AJ-V8 fuel injected engine. "It feels great to get our first win in the Trans-Am series," declared the German native. "The crew kept working on the car, and qualifying was a bit odd for all of us with the red flag. It took me a while to get in the rhythm. Randy (Ruhlman) wiggled a little bit coming out of the festival curve and Paul had a problem. After I was in the lead I was able to control it and kept my pace."
Gentilozzi's chances of breaking the tie for most career wins with the legendary, Mark Donohue will have to wait until at least Cleveland as an electric harness burnt threw ending the four-time champion's day early after leading from the start. In, 2004, Gentilozzi started this event from the rear of the field and capture win number 26 of 29. "The record will have to wait," said Gentilozzi. "You never know how long it will take to get the next win. We lost an electrical harness, and we had a little problem with a sticking throttle but the harness was the big issue. It burnt right threw completely."
Last years pole sitter's day went from good to worse in the final laps when Tim Cowen spun Drissi in the festival curve. "I knew we had a great car coming into race," said Drissi. "The level of competition this year made it difficult to pass. We didn't finish where we should because of getting spun late in the race. We'll go on to Cleveland challenge for the win there."
The exciting Rose City 100 Trans-Am event from the beautiful Portland International Raceway will air on SPEED TV June 26th at 12:30pm Eastern time.