Jonsson-Zonta Victorious In Grand-Am Action At Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen, NY – Ricardo Zonta and Nic Jonsson drove their Krohn Racing Ford Lola to victory in the Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen International on Friday evening. Taking the lead on the 73rd lap, the duo led the final 21 circuits to win their second Rolex Sports Car Series race in 2009.

Given the race’s two-hour time limit, teams tried a myriad of strategies to gain track position. At times, the strategies worked and at other times, they did not. Also, the tight point battle among the top teams forced the contenders to be somewhat conservative.

The winning Krohn team is not involved in the championship battle, so they were able to be more aggressive.

“We came in early, which different from everyone else,” Jonsson said. “Stopping early gave us track position and we had no one around us for several laps. We’ve had an up and down season, and we have been working very hard to get better. Hopefully, this win will legitimize us.”

Added Zonta, who drove the final half of the race, “We caught the traffic near the end, and it was very difficult for me to hold off Scott Pruett. I had to risk a lot to say ahead of him. And our car takes a long time for the tires to warm up.”

Pruett and co-driver Memo Rojas fought hard to finish in second place in the TELMEX Lexus Riley of Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Racing. The championship contending team has finished in the top-two six times in nine races this season.

“It was an exciting race, and we did everything we had to do to stay in contention,” Pruett said. “Ricardo Zonta drove a great race, and traffic, at times, was very difficult. We are in a point race and you have to get as many points as you can.”

Stated Rojas, “Everyone was pitting out of sequence, and I was confused by it. We had a conservative plan, thinking about the points needed for the championship. We played it conservatively, and it worked out fine.”

When the results were tallied, Pruett and Rojas have taken over sole possession of first place. They have 248 points while Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty are four behind with 244. Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle are in third 14 points off the pace.

Third place went to the SuperCar Life Racing BMW Riley of Christophe Bouchut and Scott Tucker. They gained the podium position six laps from the end.

“I am speechless,” said Tucker. “We had a very different strategy and things just went our way. We are appreciative of being here.”

“This is my first time at the Glen, and it is our best finish of the season,” Bouchut said. He also described a brush he had with Angelelli, indicating the latter hit him in the rear.

The GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty battled back from diversity to finish in fourth place. They, too, were out of sequence and their first pit stop occurred prior to the 30-minute mark, which didn’t allow them to change drivers until a few laps later.

The SunTrust Racing team of Angelelli and Frisselle saw its chances of a top-finish go awry when Angelelli made contact with a GT car, sending the latter into the fence and triggering a full-course caution. Angelelli cut a tire in the incident and on the 85th lap, the tire let go and Angelelli limped to the pits. At the time, he was running in the fourth spot.

Fifteen of the 17 Daytona Prototypes were running at the finish.

In GT action, the SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 of Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato raced to victory over the Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 Cup entry of GT point leaders Leh Keen and Dirk Werner.

Third place in GT went to the Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda RX-8 of Tom Sutherland and Dane Cameron.

“Our race couldn’t have gone any better,” Segal said. “We are really exited for the team. We have been knocking on the door for nearly a year now. We had a great car and a great team strategy.”

Stated Assentato, “My stint went well and I tried to keep it clean, avoiding the mess. We had to close well, and Jeff (Segal) did it for us. He is three-quarters of the team and I am one quarter of it.”

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