Lally And Valentine Eke Out Gt Victory At Laguna-Seca

Monterey, Calif. ? Andy Lally and co-driver R. J. Valentine scored a come-from-behind victory in the Grand-Am GT class race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca late Saturday afternoon.

The pair drove the TRG/Maxter.Rotax/MBA/NFP/F1 Air Porsche GT3 Cup car of Kevin Buckler. They won for the first time in 2007. For Lally, it was the 14th of his GT career and his first-ever at Laguna Seca.

Starting 17th in a field of 22 cars, Valentine drove the opening stint before turning the car over to defending GT champion Lally. Lally moved quickly through the field and start running down the lead car midway through the 92-lap race.

Late in the race, the frontrunners not only were forced to pit for fuel but they took several off-course excursions, which helped the winners in their victory drive.

Lally caught leader Kelly Collins (Pontiac) in the late going and the two battled nose to tail for several laps before Lally got by him. Moments later, Collins had to stop for fuel and at the same time, the fourth and final caution flag was displayed.

A combined yellow flag and checkered flag flew over Lally as he crossed the finish line.

?It is a wonderful to have come through and win this race,? Lally said. ?Everything clicked just right and the car?s handling was unbelievable.? Concerning his late race charge, the winner added, ?I knew time was running out and we needed to push it.?

Added veteran driver Valentine, ?At my age, it is a privilege to race with Andy (Lally) and this team.?

Finishing a surprising second was a pair of youngster, Ross Smith and Daniel DiLeo. They also drove a Buckler Porsche GT3 Cup entry, and they were in only their second-ever GT race.

DiLeo said, ?It is a great feeling to get second place, and we owe it all to the car and the team.? Smith added, ?I charged hard very early and slid off the course, putting us a lap down. I came in against team orders and ended up working in our favor.?

Third place went to the Farnbacher Loles Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup entry of Bryce Miller and Dirk Werner.

Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins brought their Pontiac GXP.R into fourth place ahead of a similar Pontiac drive by James Gue.
Nine lead changes spiced the action.

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