GRAF WINS THIRD TRANS-AM EVENT AND NAMED ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR; JAGUAR WIN MANUFACTURUER'S TITLE ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 21, 2005) Klaus Graf drove the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR to victory this morning in the Rumble at the Road Trans-Am...
GRAF WINS THIRD TRANS-AM EVENT AND NAMED ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR; JAGUAR WIN MANUFACTURUER'S TITLE
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 21, 2005) Klaus Graf drove the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR to victory this morning in the Rumble at the Road Trans-Am event at Road America. Today's victo ry is Graf's second consecutive victory and third of the season. Taking the checkered flag first, Graf won the Rookie-of-the Year title and handed Jaguar their fifth Manufacturer's Championship. Rocketsports owner Paul Gentilozzi brought the No. 1 Jaguar R Performance XKR home second followed by friend and competitor Greg Pickett in the Cytomax Jaguar. Tomy Drissi charged through the field in the No. 5 Transporter2 the Movie Jaguar XKR to finish fifth.
Graf became the first German national to capture the Rookie-of-the-Year title since its inception in 1982. In his rookie season, Graf has three wins, five Fastest Qualifier and set Fastest Race Laps four times. The championship point's leader heads to Montreal, Canada next weekend with a 12 points advantage over second place Randy Ruhlman. "A perfect weekend all around for me with the pole position yesterday and the win today," said Graf. "It's fantastic to clinch the manufacturer's title for Jaguar. It was one of our main goals to win the title, we wrapped it up here which is really good heading into Montreal. Having the rookie title is another good thing obviously; my priority goal is to with the overall championship. We have one more race to go in Montreal, I can play a little bit there and be a bit more careful even though it's not my style."
After starting seventh, four-time champion, Paul Gentilozzi worked his way to second place on with five laps to go and followed Graf across the finish line in a photo opportunity for the 2005 Manufacturer's Champion, Jaguar. "That was our first goal, we had three goals for the year," said Gentilozzi. "One, to make Klaus Rookie-of-the-Year, two, to ma ke a Jaguar driver the champion, we're almost there and then win the manufacturer's championship and we've done that."
Charging from the 16th position to the top-five on lap seven, Drissi spun on lap 22 but recovered and maintain his fifth place spot and finish the race. The Rockin' Moroccan had a podium finish in mind but was pleased with the results. "I had a great car today, maybe not good enough to catch Klaus, but it was good," described Drissi. "I was trying to get around Randy for a while and when it was time to go I pushed it and spun. We had a large lead on sixth so I didn't lose the spot. Fifth place keeps us in fourth in the points and with Greg not going to Montreal I should be able to move to third."
Jaguar needed the win today to secure the 2005 Manufacturer title before the last race of the year, the five-time winner of the honor took the four of the top-five spots including sweeping the podium. This is Jaguars third consecutive manufacturers' title, with the other two coming in 1978 and 2001.
Watch the exciting Rumble at the Road Trans-Am event from Road America on SPEED channel Sunday, August 28th at 3:00 pm Eastern Time.