KONI Challenge Series Street Tuner Race at Le Circuit de Trois-Rivieres
Compass360 Racing teammates trade roles in victory; Holtom retakes ST point lead
Adam Burrows and Trevor Hopwood traded roles in their driving efforts Saturday in Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, and those endeavors paid off in their second Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Street Tuner (ST) victory of the season.
Burrows, normally the starting driver between the two, led the final 34 laps of the 75-lap event, taking the point in the No. 76 Compass360 Racing Skunk2/K&N Acura TSX after pit stops cycled through. He then held off a determined Pierre Kleinubing over the final handful of laps to score their second victory in three races. The final margin of victory stood at 2.755 seconds.
The race was also a major boost - and rebound - for Burrows and Hopwood, who finished near the tail end of last week's race at Iowa Speedway after car problems. Hopwood took the lead for eight laps when Andy Lally pitted on Lap 16, and held the point until he pitted on Lap 24. Burrows conservatively moved through the standings and earned the lead when Stuart Robinson pitted on Lap 42.
The only caution period occurred from Laps 64-66 - due to debris in Turn 1 - and set up a sprint between Burrows and Kleinubing. The Brazilian Kleinubing dogged Burrows for several laps, trying to get by in the final of the 1.521-mile track's 11 turns, but he fell back in the waning laps as Burrows set the race's fastest lap coming to the white flag. Kleinubing and co-driver Toby Grahovec finished a career-best second in the No. 86 Classic BMW-Plano BMW Z4. Grahovec pitted on Lap 17 from fourth place after running in the top five for nearly five laps.
Polesitter Andy Lally and co-driver Jamie Holtom finished third in the No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt. Lally led the opening 15 laps after leading the 34-car field to the green flag, but pitted after only 20 minutes as he is not running for championship points. From there, Holtom weaved through the field and left with a two-point advantage (185-183) over incoming point co-leaders Kristian Skavnes and Chuck Hemmingson, who finished eighth in the No. 111 ICY/Phoenix Racing Subaru Legacy.
Steven Ott and Tony Rivera - who drove two cars - finished fourth in the No. 51 Brass Mitchell Racing Hal Joy Renewable Fuels/Driversource Mazda RX-8, putting four different manufacturers in the top four. Defending race winners Kuno and Nick Wittmer were the highest-finishing Quebec natives, as they finished fifth in the No. 32 i-MOTO Racing Cybernation/Alpinestar Acura TSX. Kuno Wittmer is now seven points behind Holtom in the standings.
The ST class returns to action Sunday, Aug. 31 at Thunderbolt Raceway at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J. The GS class will run its 80-lap, one-hour and 45-minute race starting at 9:10 a.m. Sunday. Marc-Antoine Camirand of St. Leonard d'Aston, Quebec, who finished 27th in the ST race after contact with the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i midway through the race, will lead the GS field to the green flag.
NEWS & NOTES
- Best Finish for Classic BMW-Plano: This is the best career finish for the Classic BMW-Plano team in KONI Challenge competition. Pierre Kleinubing and Toby Grahovec finished third in 2007 at Watkins Glen International. The team's No. 85 BMW Z4, with Al Lamb and Leo Maia behind the wheel, ran in the top 10 for several laps before contact with Peter Cunningham on Lap 68. Maia took the car off the course, where it retired. The car was credited with 26th.
- Compass360 Racing, Brass Mitchell Racing Score Two Top 10s: Adam Burrows and Trevor Hopwood weren't the only Compass360 Racing (based in Toronto) drivers in the top 10. Benoit Theetge and Christian Miller finished sixth in the No. 74 Honda Civic Si. For Miller, it was his fifth sixth-place finish of the season. Meanwhile, there were two cars from the Brass Mitchell Racing stable in the top 10. Tony Rivera started the No. 51 Mazda RX-8 in its fourth-place run, and finished the No. 49 Mazda RX-8 in 10th after the car led two laps behind the efforts of Stuart Robinson.
- Other Top Quebec Drivers: Stephan Roy (Trois-Rivieres) finished 15th in the No. 127 Fountain Motorsports BMW 330i with Guy Cosmo, and Jocelyn Hebert (Becancour) and Cyril Hamelin (Trois-Rivieres) finished 18th in the No. 189 89 Racing Team Honda Civic Si.
- Tough Day for Bill Fenton Motorsports: It was a tough day for Bill Fenton Motorsports after the team put two cars in the top 10 in Saturday morning's qualifying session. Bill Fenton's No. 27 Honda Civic Si didn't even complete a lap as the car's differential broke on the pace lap. Bob Beede led 16 laps before pitting and handing the car off to Bob Endicott, who returned to the track in 13th. Endicott made it back to ninth at the checkered flag.
- A Strong Finish for APR: APR Motorsport finished seventh in the race with drivers Mark White and Randy Pobst in the No. 181 APR/BBS/Motul Volkswagen GTI. The duo stayed consistent throughout the race after White started 10th.
TOP-THREE POST-RACE DRIVER QUOTES
Adam Burrows (No. 76 Compass360 Racing Acura TSX): "Through the second half of the race, I was putting together a conservative race and trying to save the brakes. But when that caution came out, I knew that Pierre (Kleinubing) was going to push. There were a few places he might have been faster, but we had him in other places, and I think that made the difference. We were running some of the car's fastest laps of the day there at the end. This track is notoriously hard on brakes, and we just have to thank Cobalt for the way their pads held up today. Hats off too to the entire Compass360 Racing team for giving us a great car. We've had some ups and downs this season, but these guys never stop working hard. And Acura gave us a great car as always."
Trevor Hopwood (No. 76 Compass360 Racing Acura TSX): "It was a lot of fun qualifying on the front row, but it was even more of a thrill to put the car up front in the race, for sure. The car felt really good, and my job was just to keep the brakes under me so that Adam had something to fight with and do the job we gave him to do. He held off one of the best in the business in Pierre (Kleinubing). After the heartbreak at Iowa (Speedway) last week, this feels really good. Gotta thank Compass360 Racing, Fischer Skis, Cobalt Brakes - for the pads to go the distance - and Sunday Group Management.
"I asked Adam if he wanted to switch it up after practice yesterday, which is why we decided that I would start the car and that Adam would finish. Our luck has been a little spotty this year - either really good or really bad - and we're basically out of the championship, so we thought ‘What the heck.' It worked and we're really happy with the performance."
Pierre Kleinubing (No. 86 Classic BMW-Plano BMW Z4): "I've been racing here a long time. I've come here with other series' in the past. I know how good the fans are. It's a good place to do well. It's the best finish we've had in a long time. We've been having problems often. Thought I had a strong finish last week in Iowa, we didn't get it, we were so close. It feels good to finally get one. Classic deserves it and we have to thank Cobalt brakes - they improve our program tremendously."
Toby Grahovec (No. 86 Classic BMW-Plano BMW Z4): "It's great to finish here second with all these great fans up here in Canada. It's great to be on the podium here with Classic. It feels great. We've been so close all year, but we finally made it up there. Hopefully we can step on up one more step and get a win in the next couple of races."
Jamie Holtom (No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS): "I can't say enough about these Georgian Bay Motorsports guys. I can't be happy enough to be back in the point lead, and we're not going to take this for granted. As for this race, we were doing everything we could to keep up with those guys; they just had more than us today. We tried everything, from using the front tires to save the brakes and using up the gearbox. We didn't have the pace today - we had the strategy, just not the car - but we know we'll be good at the next few tracks. We want this championship badly, so we're going to go after it."
Andy Lally (No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS): "We had a great run today; it was a lot of fun. Like I said earlier in the day, it was my first time running a front-wheel drive car in a while. The car was fast from the start, and we wanted to give the car to Jamie as soon as we could. He did a great job once he got in; we just didn't have anything for the guys at the end. Hopefully tomorrow will a little bit better in terms of the finish."