Sunday, June 24, 2012
Kwok Gets Redemption, Pirelli World Challenge Win; Rapone Sweeps Touring Car-B Weekend
BOWMANVILLE, Canada -- Gary Kwok, who lives in nearby Markham, Ontario, has plenty of laps around Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. It just took him 26 laps longer than he thought to get his first Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car win; while Andre Rapone, of Thornhill, Ontario, was busy on Sunday grabbing his third Touring Car-B victory of the Motul CTMP Grand Prix presented by Optima Batteries weekend.
Kwok’s No. 82 M&S Produce/Ultimate Racing Honda Civic Si crossed the finish line first during Saturday’s second Touring Car race, but was found to be underweight in post-race technical inspection and was disqualified. On Sunday, Kwok made sure the win stuck, racing away to a 2.508-second victory in the 40-minute timed race that lasted 26-laps and 63.934 miles. The winner averaged 93.765 mph in the caution-free race on the 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit
Kwok started the race fifth and inherited one spot when Shea Holbrook’s second-starting No. 67 TrueCar.com Honda Civic Si spun in the second corner of the race, then moved around the Compass360 racing teammates Todd Lamb (No. 71 National Karting News/HPD Honda Civic Si) and Ryan Winchester (No. Ligon Industries/HPD Honda Civic Si) on lap five.
He and Winchester battled to hold the second spot, which became a tussle for the lead when Michael Cooper’s No. 03 MAZDASPEED Motorsports MAZDASPEED3 ran wide on lap six and surrendered the point. That moment was named the Kia Turning Point of the Race
The pair opened up a gap on the rest of the field, and were all alone when Lamb lost his left rear Pirelli P-Zero tire to mechanical failure on unlucky lap 13.
Kwok moved around Winchester for the lead on lap 17 with the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race, and steadily pulled away, opening up as much as a 3.5-second gap before slotting into the final margin of victory unchallenged.
“Throughout the race, Winchester appeared to wear his tires down,” Kwok, a Chinese native said through a translator after the race. “And as the race came to a close, I was able to take advantage of that and pull away.”
Winchester came home in second-place, his third runner-up finish of the season. He also turned the fastest lap of the race in 1:32.688 (95.507 mph).
“Unfortunately our teammate spun there at the start and got us stacked up,” Winchester said. “But I put my head down and got back up to the front. Unfortunately, on my way to the front, I killed my left front tire by pushing too hard. I tried to hold on the best I could. I had a little more horsepower than he did coming up the hill, even through we’re both in Hondas. We just didn’t have the Compass360 Honda dialed in to last that long, pushing that hard. But, overall, we finished second and got a bunch of points so we couldn’t be happier.”
The drive of the race came from Holbrook following her spin in the opening corners. At the time, it looked like her career-best qualifying effort would be for naught as she fell to the rear of the Touring Car field and into 10th place.
Holbrook took a lap to regain her bearings, then picked off one car per lap for the next four laps to move into sixth position. When Lamb fell out with a mechanical failure, she was in the top five, and moved to fourth on lap 17 when Tom Kwok – brother to Gary – had mechanical issues in the No. 83 M&S Produce/Ultimate Racing Honda Civic.
The former race winner drove around Cooper’s polesitting Mazda on lap 20 for the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race, but was too far back of Winchester at that time to climb any higher. Holbrook earned her second-consecutive podium after a runner-up finish on Saturday. Holbrook had recently tested at the circuit and reaped the rewards of that hard work.
“I haven’t been P2 in qualifying since Club Racing,” Holbrook said. “If I’m not down on the power in Turn Two, I’m getting loose and that’s exactly what happened. The rear end broke away and as I was going around I saw two of my teammates coming right for me. They were able to miss me - great driving on their part. I was able to get it back on.
“After that, I just smiled and thought ‘this will be a fun race, starting from dead last.’ The fact that we were able to get back up to the podium—I couldn’t be happier.”
Cooper finished fourth after leading the opening five laps to earn the highest finish by a non-Honda, followed by Fred Emich in the No. 87 Emich VW/StopTech/3Zero3 Motorsports Volkswagen GLI.
Rapone led start to finish in the No. 73 Durabond Racing Honda Fit to take his third Touring Car-B class win for B-Spec machinery during the weekend. He turned the fastest lap of the race in the class with a 1:46.356 (83.233 mph).
While Rapone led the entire way, his gap was shrinking at the finish as Joel Lipperini was charging from the rear of the field toward the leader. Rapone crossed the stripe 3.048-seconds ahead of Lipperini for a perfect debut weekend with the Series.
Rapone was recruited for the weekend by his brother and Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car Competitor Anthony Rapone.
“It’s our first time out in World Challenge and it was good to make a good showing for myself,” Rapone said. “I had to do that, especially after my brother’s crash [Saturday] in Touring Car.
“I knew from the beginning that [Lipperini] was going to be a good threat. I tried my best to get as much distance between us as possible. I started to fall off a bit toward the end and I saw him coming, closing in. I just gave it it’s all and just prayed that I could hold on. I didn’t realize I turned the fastest lap of the race, but I’m not surprised because I was balls to the wall!”
Lipperini, a multiple-time SCCA Club Racing National Champion in Showroom Stock classes, showed up at the track early on Sunday morning and missed the qualifying session on a spur of the moment decision.
He started from the rear of the field and marched to the podium finish, earning the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start for improving three spots on the opening lap and the Sunoco Hard Charger award for improving six overall positions throughout the race in the No. 18 RACELABZ Honda Fit.
“We got the car finished at midnight on Wednesday night,” Lipperini said. “We drove up to Lime Rock and ran the SCCA National. We heard World Challenge was up here and decided to drive up all through the night, get here and start scratch.
“At one point it was eight seconds and then I was chipping off a half to three-quarters of a second per lap but I got some tough breaks in traffic. It was a lot of fun. B-Spec is the wave of the future!”
Jonathan Start, a two-time winner during the class’s debut at Miller Motorsports Park, finished third for the third in the No. 00 Kawartha FIAT/Speedlogix Fiat 500 time during the weekend.
Cooper’s finish, coupled with Lamb’s mechanical failure, stretched the Championship lead to 135 points, 1161 to 1026. Winchester (767 points) and Holbrook (748) are in a distant battle for third, followed by Tristan Herbert (659) in fifth. Honda leads the Manufacturers’ Championship with 69, followed by Mazda (57) and Volkswagen (38).
In Touring Car-B, Start holds the Drivers’ Championship lead with 701 points over Craig Capaldi’s 663 points following Capaldi’s fifth-place finish today in the No. 86 CapaldiRacing.com Ford Fiesta. Despite missing the opening three rounds, Rapone is third, with 495 points. Honda leads the TCB Manufacturers’ Championship with 45 points, followed by Fiat (37), Ford (32), Mazda (24), Kia (6) and Mini (5).
The races from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park will air on NBC Sports on Saturday, July 7th at 5 p.m. EDT.
More information is available at www.world-challenge.com.
BOWMANVILLE, ON - Results from Sunday's 26-lap, 63.934-mile Pirelli World Challenge Championship Touring Car Round 9, Touring Car B Round 6 race, part of the Motul Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any).
1. TC, (5), Gary Kwok(R), Markham, Ontario, Honda Civic Si, 26.
2. TC, (3), Ryan Winchester(R), Mason City, Iowa, Honda Civic Si, 26, -2.508.
3. TC, (2), Shea Holbrook, Orlando, Fla., Honda Civic Si, 26, -32.981.
4. TC, (1), Michael Cooper(R), Syosset, N.Y., MAZDASPEED 3, 26, -44.564.
5. TC, (7), Fred Emich(R), Denver, Colo., Volkswagen GLI, 26, -1:34.425.
6. TC, (10), Steve Blethen(R), Allenstown, N.H., Mazda RX-8, 25, -1 lap.
7. TC, (8), Marlin Langeveldt(R), Toronto, Ontario, Mazda RX-8, 25, -1 lap.
8. TC, (9), Patrick Seguin, Clarence Creek, Ontario, Volkswagen GTI, 23, Mech.
9. TC, (6), Tom Kwok(R), Markham, Ontario, Honda Civic Si, 16, Mech.
10. TC, (4), Todd Lamb(R), Atlanta, Ga., Honda Civic Si, 13, Mech.
11. TC, (11), Tristan Herbert, Reston, Va., Volkswagen GLI, 0, DNS.
12. TC, (12), Jeff Altenburg, Ellicott City, Md., Volkswagen GLI, 0, DNS.
13. TCB, (13), Andre Rapone(R), Thornhill, Ontario, Honda Fit, 23.
14. TCB, (18), Joel Lipperini, Pittston, Pa., Honda Fit, 23, -3.048.
15. TCB, (15), Jonathan Start(R), Caledoina, Mich., Fiat 500, 23, -50.196.
16. TCB, (16), Peter SchwartzottJr(R, White Plains, N.Y., MAZDA 2, 23, -1:24.899.
17. TCB, (14), Craig Capaldi(R), Lenox Twp, Mich., Ford Fiesta, 22, -1 lap.
18. TCB, (17), Jim Kenzie, Milton, Ontario, Kia Rio, 22, -1 lap.
Time of race: 40 minutes, 54.673 seconds.
Average speed: 93.765 mph
Margin of victory: 2.508 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-5, #03 Michael Cooper(R); laps 6-16, #72 Ryan Winchester(R); laps 17-26, #82 Gary Kwok(R)
Fastest race lap: #72 Ryan Winchester(R), 1:32.688 (95.507 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #03 Michael Cooper(R), 1:32.559 (95.640 mph)
Sunoco Hard Charger: #18 Joel Lipperini
Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award: #18 Joel Lipperini
Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race Award: #82 Gary Kwok
Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award: #67 Shea Holbrook
Kia Turning Point of the Race: #72 Ryan Winchester/#82 Gary Kwok passing #03 Cooper for the lead