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Jul 14, 2014 - 07:09 AM
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Double Podium in Canada Strengths Thompson's GT3 Cup Point Lead
Posted by: newsla on Jul 14, 2014 - 07:07 AM
Sports Cars
Double Podium in Canada Strengths Thompson's GT3 Cup Point Lead


A pair of runner-up finishes at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park helped Colin Thompson extend his lead in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. The double podium gives the Kelly Moss Motorsports driver a 14-point margin in the Championship.

 

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Thompson’s trip north of the border got off to a bumpy start as the team chased the right setup through practice and qualifying. The No. 14 Porsche of Bucks County Porsche 911 GT3 Cup ended up qualifying seventh for Race One, but Thompson was optimistic the team had one more change up its sleeve.

Indeed, Thompson felt much more comfortable with the car for Friday’s race. Though he bided his time at the start, he patiently reeled in the lead pack in a race that went caution-free for the full 45 minutes.

“It was a quiet race for the first part,” Thompson said. “We were gaining and losing a bit and then we were able to capitalize on a pass through Turn Eight by getting in some peoples’ mirrors and forcing them to make a mistake—that’s really the best way to get it done around here because there aren’t any traditional passing zones. I was able to get by Christina [Nielsen] there. Later on, we were able to get Michael [Lewis] through Turn Five.

“Then it was about reeling in Angel [Benitez Jr.] for points. At the end of the day I knew that I needed to be in front of him at the finish. We were catching him when he was battling with [Jesse] Lazerre. I don’t know who made a mistake in Turn Three, but Angel pushed Lazerre off the track and then a penalty followed, so we locked in second place.”

By the time Thompson secured second place, leader Sloan Urry had built an insurmountable gap with only 12 minutes left in the race. A runner-up finish was still satisfying for Thompson whose focus is on scoring points for the championship.

Thompson’s quickest lap in Friday’s race put him sixth on the grid for Saturday’s race, which had a much more thrilling start. Rolling up to the front straight on the outside of the third row, Thompson timed the start to perfection and picked up an astonishing three positions by Turn One.

“I don’t know what the front row was doing,” Thompson recalled. “Angel was in front and then Lazerre was way back. I think they were trying to psych each other out. I waited until they dropped the green and worked a run. I think others were confused on what was happening up front. I waited until I was legally clear to go and then we just tried to pass as many people as we could before Turn One. It’s really difficult to gain three spots at the start on these races because the cars are so evenly matched and you don’t have a lot of time to work, but we got it done.”

Thompson hung out in third watching Lazerre and Benitez pressure each other. He took a couple of looks on second-place Benitez, but had to be careful to protect himself from fourth-place Urry.

“Part of pressuring somebody is getting off your line to get in their mirrors,” Thompson said. “In some cases that could be considered blocking when there’s somebody behind you, so I had to be careful where I did it and be aware of where Sloan was behind me so I didn’t get penalized.”

It wasn’t long, however, before someone made a mistake, and fortunately for Thompson, that was Benitez.

“Everybody is so close in this series, you could be a car-length behind someone and not catch them for a long time,” Thompson said. “I just kept it consistent, made sure I wasn’t making mistakes and hoped the guys ahead of me made some. Angel went wide in Turn One and I was able to tuck in and from there on out I was hunting down Lazerre.”

Thompson was in striking distance of the leader, but time was running out. He was all over Lazerre’s bumper for the final three laps, but never found the opportunity to make a move and crossed the finish line 0.173-second behind the No. 31 machine.

“I had no idea that was the last lap,” Thompson laughed. “I called on the radio on that lap ‘tell me when it’s the white flag’ and then I saw the checkered. I don’t know what we had for Lazerre, but it was a great finish and another strong points run.”

Thompson has now opened up his GT3 Cup point lead to 14 over Benitez with six rounds to go (and a possible makeup round for the rained out Lime Rock Park race). Up next for Thompson is the longest circuit on the schedule: Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., Aug. 9 – 10.

Colin Thompson

DOB: 2/17/1994 (Age: 20)
Hometown: Perkasie, PA
Team: Kelly Moss Racing
Car No: 14
Resume: quarter midgets, Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup, Skip Barber, Formula Ford, USF2000

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