GT Class Podium Sweep For Pontiac GTO.Rs At Phoenix

14.05.2006: GT Class Podium Sweep For Pontiac GTO.Rs At Phoenix

#64 and #65 TRG Pontiac GTO.Rs Take 1-2 with #98 Pontiac GTO.R in Third in GT Class; #89 Pacific Coast Motorsports Pontiac Riley Scores Second in Daytona Prototype Class

Pontiac's three production-based GTO.R race cars swept the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series GT class podium tonight with its two TRG cars taking 1-2 and the new-entry Pacific Coast Motorsports Pontiac GTO.R rounding out the podium with its best finish yet. Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins of the #64 TRG GTO.R won their third race of the season - the GAINSCO Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway - with their teammates Andy Lally and Marc Bunting of the #65 Pontiac GTO.R taking second, extending their lead in GT team and driver points. The newest Pontiac GT entry, the #98 Pacific Coast Motorsports GTO.R of Ross Thompson and Boris Said, scored a third place finish in only their second race of the Rolex Series to mark Pontiac's first GT podium sweep ever.

"Paul did a fantastic job at the beginning of the race," said Collins. "We didn't need the later caution periods because it allowed Boris and Andy to change tires and get back on us. Late in the race, we got lucky in some traffic and we ended up winning the race."

"It was a tough day because of problems with the power steering and air conditioning," added teammate Edwards. "It's good for momentum, because we've had some tough runs the past couple weekends. It's good to be back."

This GTO.R win makes it the 12th consecutive Rolex Series race that a Pontiac GTO.R finished on the GT class podium. Lally and Bunting finished second in the previous race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Lally, driving the second stint in the #65 car, came close to catching Collins but fell short by only 0.310 seconds.

"Marc started in second place and held the lead for a little bit and he handed me over a good car," said Lally. "As soon as I pulled out I knew we had a good car. We were running just a little better lap times, but they would stretch us out at some points on the track. It is good to extend the points lead."

Pontiac also had another strong performance in the Daytona Prototype (DP) class with the #89 Pacific Coast Motorsports Pontiac Riley of Ryan Dalziel and Alex Figge finishing second, 9.026 seconds behind overall race winners Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz of the #01 Lexus Riley. Defending DP champion Max Angelelli with Jan Magnussen of the #10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley were looking to take the win until lap 95, when they were forced to pit with wheel problems. The #10 SunTrust team, which scored a victory at Laguna Seca, finished fourth in the race and was one of Pontiac's four top-10 finishers in the 149-lap race.

"When Alex handed the car over to me, it was running great," said Dalziel. "We hit a little bit of bad luck in the middle of the race when we lost a cylinder. There were so many things that went against us during the race, but we've been fast out there pretty much all season that this is the finish that the team deserves."

With the GT class podium sweep, Pontiac extends its lead in the GT class manufacturers points race and the second-place DP finish, PCM's best Rolex Series DP finish to date, helps boost Pontiac in DP manufacturers points. Pontiac's DP effort paid off last year with 10 of 14 races won and the DP manufacturers, team and drivers championships netted.

The Rolex Series returns to action at Lime Rock Park in the GT class-only race on May 29. The event will be televised live on SPEED TV at 2:30 p.m. EDT.

Saturday DP provisional results (Top 10)

1 01 Lexus Riley Pruett/Diaz
2 89 Pontiac Riley Dalziel/Figge
3 3 BMW Riley Stanton/Lewis
4 10 Pontiac Riley Angelelli/Magnussen
5 12 Pontiac Riley Fernandez/Haberfeld
6 19 Ford Crawford McDowell/Cosmo
7 76 Ford Riley Bergmeister/Braun
8 99 Pontiac Riley Gurney/Fogarty
9 5 Ford Crawford Valiante/Finlay
10 39 Porsche Crawford Fittipaldi/Cheever/Johanson 

Saturday GT provisional results (Top 10)

1 64 Pontiac GTO.R Edwards/Collins
2 65 Pontiac GTO.R Lally/Bunting
3 98 Pontiac GTO.R Thompson/Said
4 72 Porsche GT3 Cup Liddell/Henzler
5 05 BMW M3 Alhadeff/Auberlen/Plumm
6 80 Porsche GT3 Cup Murry/Keen
7 81 Porsche GT3 Cup Johnson/Nearn
8 74 Porsche GT3 Cup Espenlaub/Lux
9 21 BMW M3 Halpin/Connolly
10 73 Porsche GT3 Cup Davis/Tafel

- Steve Smith-


14.05.2006 / MaP

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