SunTrust Pontiac Wins Montreal

All Pontiac Podium In Quebec

SunTrust racing, with drivers Jan Magnussen and Max Angelelli, won today’s round 11 of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve race at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada.

Joining the SunTrust crew on the podium were Riley-Mathews Pontiac drivers Marc Goosens and Jim Mathews, who finished second. In third were the GAINSCO Pontiac team with Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney. Rounding out a Pontiac top four were Antonio Garcia and Christian Fittipaldi in their Fabcar Pontiac.

The SunTrust Pontiac No. 10 with driver Jan Magnussen started on the front row along side the pole sitting No. 99 car. Magnussen was able to take over the lead around lap 22 after a strong pit stop. Later in the race, Angelelli was able to make a pass on the No. 39 Pontiac Fabcar to retake the lead. The Italian had to fight off two late race yellows, including a restart with two laps to go to secure the team’s second victory of the year.

“We just had a fantastic car,” Angelelli said. “The team did a great pit stop and that got me out in front of the 99 and 01. The car was strong and fast. We have found something that I think can carry us through the rest of the season. Jan had a great first stint and was able to lead some laps. I am within two points of the championship now so we are in a good position with three races to go. I am looking forward to Watkins Glen. We have a really competitive car just in time for the last races of the year.”

Mathews started the No. 91 Riley-Mathews Pontiac from the sixth row. Mathews surrendered the car to teammate Marc Goosens, who set out to give the Riley crew their best finish of the year. Goosens put a move on the No. 01 car late in the race and made his charge to the front, but laps ran out before he could get to the No. 10.

“We have had a lot of bad luck this year, some inflicted on ourselves,” Mathews said. “Marc did a great job in the car today. He took to the track right away on Thursday and was able to run fast times all weekend. The team put a good car under us. The Riley/Pontiac combination was the one to have this weekend. A few more green laps at the end, we may have been one place better.”

In third, the dominate No. 99 car had a bad pit stop and had to fight back from 10th to finish on the bottom step of the podium. Fogarty led laps early from his pole position. When he pitted the right front wheel gun jammed and that resulted in Gurney rejoining the fray in 10th. The Californian put the Riley Pontiac on his back and made some tough passes on top cars to finish third.

“We had a slight problem in the pits,” Gurney said. “I came out in tenth and was able to work my way up. It was classic Grand-Am racing, tough stuff. I made some good passes on the 01 and the 39. We had a car to win the race, but we weren’t in a position to do so today. Not a bad result considering our final pit stop. We need to keep doing what has made us successful. We will be tough to beat at Watkins Glen, we won the six hour.”

Christian Fittipaldi and new teammate Antonio Garcia had a very competitive day in the No. 39 Crown Royal Special Reserve Fabcar Pontiac. Fittipaldi had the car in the top five early in the race. A great strategy call by the team kept the car out front after the driver change to touring car star Garcia. Using his best touring car driving style, the Spaniard was able to lead several laps in the late going and just missed the podium by finishing in fourth.

“Strategy put us up front,” Garcia said. “On my first restart, I went to the outside in turn two and was able to make up some positions. I saw Christian do this early in the race and it worked for him. I am new to the series and the guys who run up front are in good cars and are very good drivers. Once I got a taste of their style, I went into my touring car mode and became a little more aggressive. Strategy is what put us in a competitive position today.”

In GT, Kelly Collins started the 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R from the pole position. Collins was able to lead several laps until early brake and over heating concerns slowed the car. The team made the necessary adjustments in a series of three pit stops before lap 23. Despite the pit stops, Edwards was able to make his way back up to third position. On a crazy last restart, with one lap to go, Edwards spun the car at the exit of the slow second turn in a melee of GT cars, relegating them to eighth place.

“That last restart was crazy,” Edwards said. “The 87 the 66 and I were locked in a battle the last 15 laps. On the last restart, going into the hairpin, the 87 went wide, the 66 came in, the 87 car came back on the outside, I had to take evasive action and spun it around at the exit. There is still seven hours left in this championship and anything can happen, as we saw on the last lap here today.”

Leighton Reese and Tim Lewis Jr. finished fifth on the day. Reese started the race from the fourth row. He was able to run as high third during his stint, keeping Pontiac pressure on the front runners. Tim Lewis Jr. took over the controls and brought the car home in fifth.

“The car was o.k.,” Lewis said. “The brakes were our biggest concern going into the race, but they really held up. I had a lot of understeer in the first laps of my run and then the car came to me. I then had to work through some traffic, so fifth is not a bad finish for us today.”

Round 12 of the Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype cars will run next weekend, Friday, Aug. 10 at Watkins Glen. The next round for the GT cars will be at Miller Motorsport Park in Utah on Sept. 15.

Grand-Am Top Ten Daytona Prototype Montreal Finishers:
1. Angelelli, Magnussen, Pontiac Riley
2. Mathews, Goosens, Pontiac Riley
3. Fogarty, Gurney, Pontiac Riley
4. Fittipaldi, Garcia, Pontiac Fabcar
5. Pruett, Rojas, Lexus Riley
6. Patterson, Negri, Lexus Riley
7. Frissell, Wilkins, Lexus Riley
8. Donohue, Law, Porsche Riley
9. Alhadeff, Auberlen, BMW Riley
10.Szekeres, Carpentier, Pontiac Riley

Top 10 Grand-Am GT Montreal Finishers:
1. Lally, Valentine, Porsche GT3
2. Miller, Werner, Porsche GT3
3. Nastasi, Borcheller, Ford Mustang
4. De Quesada, Dumoulin, Porsche GT3
5. Lewis, Reese, Pontiac GXP.R
6. Connolly, Prewitt, Pontiac GTO.R
7. Johnson, Davis, Porsche GT3
8. Collins, Edwards, Pontiac GXP.R
9. Ham, Tremblay, Mazda RX8
10. Holtam, Curran, Corvette

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