Sunday
Mar252007

GRAND AM NEWS: Ham and Tremblay Take Second Straight GT Victory in Miami Nail-Biter

Photo by John Thawley HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 24, 2007) -- Nick Ham and Sylvain Tremblay in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda/Mazdaspeed RX-8 extended their points lead in the GT class by taking their second straight class victory in a wild finish over RJ Valentine and Andy Lally in the No. 66 CRG/Maxter/Rotax/MBA/NFP/F1Air Porsche GT3.

Tremblay led 16 laps, but had to hold off a hard-charging Lally over the closing laps to secure the victory in the "hometown" race for his Sunrise, Fla.-based team. He crossed the stripe just .103 seconds ahead of the defending Rolex Series GT co-champion.

"That was one of the best races I've ever had," Tremblay said. "I just had tons and tons of fun. I'm very proud of the entire SpeedSource team and all the calls we made. To have won two in a row this early is just awesome. Nick drove a strong first half of the race. Momentum is the best thing."

Ham started second and led 12 laps during his stint before turning the car over to Tremblay. After picking up the first-ever Rolex Series GT victory for Mazda three weeks ago in Mexico City, Ham and Tremblay extended their lead in the GT driver standings to 17 points, 96-79, over No. 22 Gatorade/TodayMD.com Porsche GT3 co-drivers Carlos de Quesada and Jean-Francois Dumoulin.

"Overall, it was a very good race," Ham said. "Everything went according to plan. I did the first stint and my job was to keep the car clean and stay as close to the front as possible, which we were able to do. We called our pit stop right. We pitted at the right time so we just needed one stop, and at the end we were able to bring it home. When we did the stop I think it was in the sixth place, and he just gradually kept moving up. It was a great win for Mazda and the RX-8."

For the third-consecutive race, Valentine and Lally managed to substantially improve on their result from the previous race with a second-place run. The duo opened the year with a 17th-place class result in the Rolex 24 At Daytona before taking eighth in GT earlier this month in Mexico City.

"I just did two or three laps, then we put Andy in to close the deal," Valentine said. "He almost closed it."

"We had a really good car and by far the best Porsche in the field, hands down," Lally added. "We did a decent job with it. We came up just a little bit short, and that's a little bit disappointing. I wish we had a little more for those guys at the end, but I don't think we could have planned out the race any better than we did."

Bryce Miller and Dirk Werner rebounded from a cut tire to complete the class podium in the No. 87 Marquis Jet/IPC/Recaro Porsche GT3 for Farnbacher Loles Motorsports. It was the third consecutive top-four class result for the Farnbacher Loles team, which is in its first full Rolex Series season. The No. 87 machine finished fourth in the Rolex 24, and teammates Leh Keen and Dominik Farnbacher came home second in class from Mexico City. It was the first Rolex Series podium result for Werner and Miller.

"The last few laps were outstanding," Werner said. "I'm happy personally because I learned how to drive from Wolf Henzler, and to beat him now is really crazy. The car was so good, and the tactics we used were awesome. We fell all the way to the back when Bryce had the cut tire, so to come all the way back is just awesome. Hopefully we will celebrate tonight because this is mine and Bryce's first podium."

Fourth-place went to Henzler and Eric Lux in the No. 74 Rembrandt Charms/Tafel Racing Porsche GT3. Lux led five laps midway through the race, while Henzler took over after their pit stop and ran as high as third before Werner snatched that position away. The final top-five position went to Farnbacher and Keen in the No. 85 Shoes for Crews/Recaro Porsche GT3, and was the final car on the GT lead lap.

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