for Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Races at Le Circuit de Trois-Rivieres
Sunday’s GS race slated for a 9:10 a.m. start
Marc-Antoine Camirand started off what he hopes to be a historic weekend at Le Circuit de Trois-Rivieres on Saturday morning when he earned the pole for the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport (GS) race, which will commence at 9:10 a.m. Sunday.
A resident of nearby St. Leonard d'Aston, Quebec, Camirand took the No. 79 Kinetic Motorsports BMW M3 to the top of the charts with a time of 1:11.365 (76.727 mph), and will pace the 21-car field to the green flag in hopes of becoming the all-time victory leader at the 1.521-mile track. Camirand, also driving in the Street Tuner (ST) race this afternoon, will co-drive with Andy Lally, who garnered the ST pole. Camirand and Lally will drive different cars in the ST race, which will kick off at 1:30 this afternoon.
Joe Foster, who with Toronto's Scott Maxwell won the only other Canadian race on the KONI Challenge circuit in June at Mosport International Raceway, will start alongside Camirand in hopes of sweeping the two Canadian races. Foster's time of 1:11.588 (76.488 mph) was actually his second quickest of the session, as his original fast time was disallowed when he caused a caution when he hit the wall and lost his right-side mirror. The incident eliminated his previous best time, but the Atlanta-based driver was able to get back on track for a solid second effort in the No. 55 Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT.
Turner Motorsport driver Bryan Ortiz, in his first race at the track, was third in the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 (1:11.789; 76.274 mph) he shares with Don Salama. Turner Motorsport is the defending race team winner at Trois-Rivieres. Jack Roush Jr. was fourth in the No. 59 Rehagen Racing Roush Performance Products/Valvoline Ford Mustang GT (1:11.979; 76.072 mph) co-driven by Dean Martin, while Bret Seafuse rounded out the top five in the No. 37 JBS Motorsports Trumansburg Shursave Ford Mustang GT (1:11.994; 76.056 mph) he drives with James Gue.
Point co-leader Jep Thornton was seventh in the No. 09 Automatic Racing Imported Car Store/Land Air BMW M3 (1:12.232; 75.806 mph) he shares with Jeff Segal, while Trois-Rivieres native Louis-Philippe Dumoulin was 11th in the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Performance Drink Porsche 997 (1:12.293; 75.742 mph) he shares with brother Jean-Francois Dumoulin. Matthew Alhadeff qualified 15th in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 (1:12.606; 75.415 mph) he shares with defending race co-winner Bill Auberlen.
Lally's quick time in the ST class came in the No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS he shares with three-time 2008 race winner Jamie Holtom. Lally drove the car to a time of 1:14.655 (73.345 mph) and will lead the 34-car field to the green flag this afternoon. Holtom is five points behind point leaders Chuck Hemmingson and Kristian Skavnes (160-155); Hemmingson qualified 12th in the No. 111 ICY/Phoenix Racing Subaru Legacy (1:15.364; 72.655 mph).
Trevor Hopwood, third a year ago, mustered second in the No. 76 Compass360 Racing Skunk2/K&N Acura TSX with a time of 1:14.725 (73.277 mph). Hopwood is driving with Adam Burrows, and the two hope to add to their victory total after winning last month's race at Watkins Glen International.
Hudson, Quebec driver and defending race co-winner Nick Wittmer was third in the No. 32 i-MOTO Racing Cybernation/Alpinestar Acura TSX (1:14.734; 73.268 mph) he co-pilots with brother Kuno Wittmer. Bob Beede was fourth in the No. 29 Bill Fenton Motorsports Honda Certified Used Cars/H&R Springs Honda Civic Si (1:14.940; 73.066 mph) he shares with Bob Endicott, while Tony Rivera was fifth in the No. 51 Brass Mitchell Racing Hall Joy Renewable Fuels/Driversource Mazda RX-8 (1:14.992; 73.016 mph) he shares with Steven Ott.
Other Quebec drivers included Boischitel's Benoit Theetge 11th in the No. 74 Compass360 Racing Skunk2/Sunday Group Management Acura TSX (1:15.371; 72.649 mph; co-driver Christian Miller qualified the car); Ste. Anne Des Lacs driver Robert Boyer 19th in the No. 53 Predator Auto Sport Chevrolet Cobalt SS (1:15.866; 72.175 mph; co-driver Matt Pritiko qualified the car); Becancour's Jocelyn Hebert 22nd in the No. 189 89 Racing Team Trois-Rivieres Honda/TVA-CHEM Honda Civic Si (1:15.952; 72.093 mph; shared by Cyril Hamelin of Trois-Rivieres); and Trois-Rivieres' Stephan Roy 26th in the No. 127 Fountain Motorsports Hawk Brakes/Marren Fuel Injection BMW 330i (1:15.274; 72.742 mph; shared by Guy Cosmo).
POST-QUALIFYING DRIVER QUOTES (TOP THREE IN EACH CLASS)
Marc-Antoine Camirand (No. 79 Kinetic Motorsports BMW M3): "I think we have a really good car. I'm happy with how we qualified and to race with Kinetic Motorsports. We have a chance to win because my teammate Andy Lally is a really good driver too. The track was good this morning - a little bit cold.
"I think we have to bring a good car to Andy, take care of the brakes and stay away from accidents and I think we're going to be in good shape."
Joe Foster (No. 55 Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT): "First of all, I just really want to give congratulations to Marc-Antoine Camirand - fantastic pole in his own country. I know it means the world to him. I haven't had that experience on your tracks quite lately. Fantastic job, as well, to Kinetic Motorsports; I know that they worked very hard on that car.
"The Hyper Sport Multimatic Ford Mustang ran just fine. We obviously ran afoul of the rule at one point. We're second on the grid and very happy for that. As usual, this is a fantastic event to be a part of. It's great to come up here and have people feel enthusiastic about racing. We very much love to come out here; it's a great race. We're looking forward to a long race of me preserving the brakes so I won't be, as we say, making it to the back of the pack trying to keep the brakes on the car early on. It was a good session. The track was good - the cool morning air."
Bryan Ortiz (No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3): "For this being my first time and this track I think the team did a great job giving me a car that was drivable and comfortable for me. I really like this track and hopefully tomorrow we have a great race and staff in the front."
Andy Lally (No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS): "It's always a great facility here. It's always great to be here. This was tricky day for me; yesterday was a very tricky day for me. It was my first time in a four-wheel drive car in three years. If it wasn't for Jamie Holtom and the Georgian Bay guys really helping me out to see where I was lost out there, I wouldn't have been able to figure it out for this morning. They gave me a really good car, really great handling car - good power. The GM guys have been hustling to make this a complete package. I was lucky to get all of my mistakes out of the way yesterday and put a good clean one together this morning."
Trevor Hopwood (No. 76 Compass360 Racing Acura TSX): "This morning was incredibly faster than yesterday. Normally Adam (Burrows) qualifies the car. He had a little bit more pace than me yesterday so we decided to switch it up; we're basically out of the championship. This Compass360 Acura TSX has been awesome all weekend. It was real fast right out of the box. The car felt great this morning."
Nick Wittmer (No. 32 i-MOTO Racing Acura TSX): "Last year I did a (1:14.8) in qualifying and scored the pole. This year I did a (1:14.7) on the second lap, so I felt very good. That's why I pulled it in - to keep the car safe. With about five minutes left in the session, Andy (Lally) ripped off a nice one and then Trevor (Hopwood) got one too. So I tried to go back out there, caught a little bit of traffic and tried to do as much as I could and overheated the tires a little bit, but I still tried my best. I like third and we're just going to hang back and enjoy the race and hopefully go for the win. That's definitely what me and my brother are going to be doing out there."