Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hankook Championship : a finale to look forward to

Courtesy Championnat Hankook du Quebec

Montréal, September 21, 2005 – The Federation Auto-Québec Hankook Championship season finale is set to be a barnburner in Mont-Tremblant this weekend. Four class champions still need to be confirmed, and in the only class out of contention, drivers won’t shy away from strong performances to score a coveted win on this legendary track.

“We can’t ask for a better place at a better time to end our season, comments series promoter Dominic St-Jean. Our drivers will tackle Tremblant, a circuit where F1 and Can-Am also raced, along with many larger than life champions. It’s in this gorgeous décor, specially now during the Fall Colours Festival, that we’ll pick the winners from the rest. We urge race fans not to miss this event. Tickets will be available at the entrance, and the landscape is breathtaking.”

Touring Hankook
No less than five drivers still have mathematical chances of winning the Championship in Touring Hankook. The current leader, doctor Jocelyn Hébert (Acura Integra), will have to fend off attacks by Yves Bédard (VW Golf GTI), Bobby Hamel (BMW 328i), Jacques Gravel (Hyundai Tiburon) and Valérie Limoges (Acura RSX Type S).

“We’re proud to show up at the legendary Tremblant circuit ahead in the standings, explains Hébert. We’re hoping we won’t experience the same bad luck as last year, when we showed up first and left second in the Championship. We’re up to the challenge and we really want to win to thank our sponsors and mechanics for their efforts and support. It’s going to be a close fight, but that’s what makes this Championship so interesting. Nothing is truly earned until the very end.”

The struggle to be rookie of the year will also be hotly pursued, with current leader Stéphane Carrier (VW Jetta GLX) having to keep Vincent Basile (Honda Civic) and Babu (Hyundai Tiburon) at bay. Musique Plus host Babu is having a rookie season above all expectations, and will be one to watch this weekend. Can he add sporting success to his already long list of accomplishments? We’ll certainly see many of his fans around track.

Excellence Chrysler Formula 1600 Cup
Olivier Bonnet enters the last straight of the season firmly in front, but Franc Roiron and Philippe Gélinas are far from beaten. Philippe will want to redeem the silly technical mistake, which earned him disqualification in Sanair, and Franc has the potential to run in front. “I’m really happy to come back to Tremblant this year since it’s an amazing track I really like, says Olivier Bonnet. Although we enjoy a comfortable lead in the standings, we have to stay alert and give our maximum to finish the season with a bang. The team is pumped up, and we really believe we can go win this one.”

The GT classes will again race simultaneously, and Tremblant will bring its share of prestigious drivers from all over, as well as the exotic cars they drive. Now that the GTO title is in the bag for Malcolm Strachan (Chevrolet Corvette Z06), he’ll only need to worry about adding a win on the prestigious Tremblant circuit to his impressive mantle. “This should be a fun weekend for the Konica-Minolta Mobil-1 Corvette team. With the championship secured, we can push for a win without having to worry about points.” This win will be aggressively fought over, with three more Porsches (Jacques Villeneuve, Jules Roy and Jacques Rivard) and one Ferrari (Laurence Stroll) joining the fray.

In GTU class, the title fight boils down to a mano a mano fight between Normand Robert (Mazda RX7) and George Moutafis (BMW M3). The quick Fernando Scattolin (Porsche 911) won’t want to be left out and could get between the two title-fighters.

Finally, the GT title is almost beyond the reach of anybody else but Fernand Leblanc (Porsche 911 RSR), but it almost collapsed at the last minute. After being involved in an incident in Sanair, Leblanc had to rely on a little help from his friends. “After Sanair, we couldn’t make the repairs to our car in time. Fortunately, my good friend Paul Dufresne came to my rescue and let me borrow his 911 RSR, so I’ll proudly run his car under the Dufresne Buses banner. It will really be special if we can put this win in the bag amongst friends, and I’ll be very proud to do it in such a great place.”

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