GRANDAM Homesteas Grand-Prix MIAMI -Collins and Edwards Go Back-To-Back with GT Win in Miami

GRANDAM Homesteas Grand-Prix MIAMI -Collins and Edwards Go Back-To-Back with GT Win in Miami

26.03.2006: GRANDAM Homesteas Grand-Prix MIAMI -Collins and Edwards Go Back-To-Back with GT Win in Miami



HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 25, 2006) -- In a thrilling conclusion to the Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami, Paul Edwards drove his No. 64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R past Sylvain Tremblay No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 on the penultimate lap and held off the South Florida resident the rest of the way to clinch a second-consecutive GT class victory for himself and co-driver Kelly Collins.

The No. 64 Pontiac and No. 70 Mazda engaged in one of the tightest battles on the track throughout the race, changing positions a couple of times before Edwards dove to the inside of Tremblay on Lap 106 of the 107-lap event.

"I had a great car under me tonight," said Edwards. "Kelly did a great job to make up ground from our qualifying position and the cool air really favored our race setup. The handling of the car really gave me the confidence to hunt down the (No.) 70 car at the end of the race."

Collins qualified the No. 64 Pontiac fifth in class, and ran near the front of the GT pack throughout his stint, handing control to Edwards during the race's first caution period. The duo also drove to victory earlier this month in the Mexico City 250, and with tonight's win, climbed atop the GT points leaderboard. The duo leads teammate, No. 65 TRG Pontiac GTO.R driver Andy Lally by four points, 88-84, with three of 13 races in the books.

"I got a pretty good start and was able to make up some the ground that we lost with our qualifying troubles," said Collins. "The car was really good all of the way through my stint. Paul did a great job at the end to run down the leader and put the pass on him with two laps to go. Two wins in a row gives us the points lead."

Tremblay's teammate--David Haskell--started the No. 70 Mazda just one position ahead of Collins, and the defending Grand-Am Cup Series Street Tuner class champion wheeled the machine until a full-course caution on Lap 37. Tremblay put the car at the class front later in the race, but after conceding the position to Edwards on Lap 106, couldn't catch the TRG machine the rest of the way. He finished just .125-seconds in arrears of the No. 64 car.

"I'm so proud of everyone that has worked on this car since Daytona," said Tremblay. "It was unfortunate that we couldn't hold the lead for the win, but for the car's second race in the GT class, a runner-up finish isn't too bad. Running in the Grand-Am Cup Series here in the past gave this team a lot of information heading into this weekend, and in our home race, I'm just glad we were able to put on a good show."

"During my stint, I was just trying to gather information and save everything for later," said Haskell. "Our car was great in traffic and early on, we were content with running third or fourth. Once I handed the car over to Sylvain, I knew he would take good care of it."

The class polesitting No. 72 NEC/Rembrandt Charms Porsche GT3 came home third, as Wolf Henzler led the first portion of the race before handing off to teammate Robin Liddell. However, a pit stop at a later caution period shuffled the machine back in the class running order. The duo has improved its finishing position in each of the first three races in 2006, as the third place performance in Homestead follows a fourth-place run in the Mexico City 250. Henzler and Liddell finished sixth in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

"The problem with any caution, and of course it was compounded here because there were so many, is that if you're more than 10 cars behind the leader when you go green you get caught up in a lot of traffic with the two classes mixed up and it becomes a real battle ground," said Liddell. "In addition to trying to run my race I was constantly looking out for other cars spun out off course or debris on the track. We had to be more cautious just to stay safe. It's a huge disappointment, but I think that if we had a couple more laps we could have caught up and finished on top where we started, but there just wasn't enough time."

Matthew Alhadeff and Bill Auberlen finished fourth in the No. 05 Alhadeff Motorsports/ Motul/ GRW.com.mx/ enVista BMW M3, for the tandem's best finish of the year. The Sigalsport BMW machine made the biggest move in the GT class on the day, as Alhadeff qualified 13th before he and Auberlen steadily picked off positions during each of their stints. As a result, the No. 05 team earned the GT class SunTrust Improve Your Position award.

Emil Assentato and Nick Longhi rounded out the top five in the No. 22 Hazardous Sports/ FXDO/ Denon Porsche GT3 for Fiorano Racing rounded out the top five. Assentato started the machine seventh in class, and he and Longhi avoided major trouble during the race's six caution periods to come home fifth.


- Garra -

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26.03.2006 / MaP

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