Ottawa Citizens Race Series: GT Race #5

Friday, August 24, 2012

Event 5

After a biblical downpour for the final race of the IMSA Cup Weekend where some of our racers took to the track, event 5 came with warm temperatures and a hot dry track for racing.  With pressure mounting and only two events left to score points for the season standing, racers were looking for every edge they could find.  Tires, suspension set-ups, finding the extra 2 seconds located in your right foot…  Mani Azeri has dropped his lap times so much over the season, that he has gone from a fast GT2 driver, to a top GT1 contender.  Sometimes the edge is closer than we think as Mani demonstrates in turn 1 shown here … what did we learn on day one of race school?  Oh right… DON’T LIFT!

While Mani ended up retiring early with tire issues, the GT1 Class with 9 entrants was yet again a spectacle.  New comer Hugo Harnois who spend the day lapping with the AISA group, came out for his first race in his STI to take 3rd place.  He will be a force to reckon with a race or two more under his belt.  The GT1 Battle of the night however was and epic fight between Greg Van Dalen in his #16 Corvette, and Richard L’Abbe in the #1 Calabogie Mustang on Michelin Slicks.  Staying within feet of each other for virtually the entire race, Greg managed to pull away towards the end of the race and come away with the win with Richard taking second place not far behind.

With only two Calabogie Mustangs running this race, and being split apart in the pack during gridding, Harry Steenbakkers and Steve Bruder never even got to race each other! However, each had their own battles on track with the GT1 and GT2 cars, but in the end it was Harry who crossed the finish line first in the #17 Mustang, giving Steve his second 2nd place finish of the year.

The GT2 class has the most drama and action of the night between adding two new comers, a pit crew forgetting to fill their car with gas and a season long battle between two racers, the action lasted from green to checkered flag.  Our two new comers, Olivier Lambert and Mario Godbout, had a relatively drama free night but managed to wrap up 3rd and 4th place respectively for an amazing finish to their first event!  Stephen Rocque in his #708 Ford Merkur and me in the #95 Ford Mustang have been battling it out and trading places all season, and spent every corner of the first few laps nose to tail, until some dropped fluid in corner 14th sent the #95 into a spin finally settling in the dirt next to the wall.  Watching most of the GT2 class pass by before getting back on the asphalt to clean off my tires, the adrenaline of competition kicks in and the chase begins … laps times start dropping like flies and within a few laps I was right back on the bumper of Stephen Rocque.  With my new found speed and grip, I pushed forward even over taking the GT2 Points and Race Leader Erwan James.  An epic “Spin and Win” Finish for yours truly!


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