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Aug 13, 2014 - 07:00 AM
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Rough Road America Triple for Thompson
Posted by: newsla on Aug 13, 2014 - 06:57 AM
Sports Cars
Rough Road America Triple for Thompson

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama point leader Colin Thompson had been looking forward to the triple race weekend at Road America, but left the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin-track disappointed. Some very physical races kept Thompson off the podium, but still leading the Championship.


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The three-race weekend is unusual for the GT3 Cup series, but a rain out at Lime Rock Park in May needed to be made up before the season’s end. The long Road America weekend began with practice on Thursday and Friday during which a brake issue threw Thompson and crew for a loop. Even with a successful test the week prior, the problem got the weekend off on the wrong foot and had the No. 14 playing catch up on setup all week.

“We tested the week before and we felt really positive going into the weekend, but when we got here it was a bit of a reality check,” Thompson said. “The track was a lot different. There were some changing track conditions and I had to adjust to those conditions and the setup was a bit off to start. After we banged out a lot of minor issues we were able to tune in the car. We got a decent qualifying run out of it, which was our first proving ground for the new setup we developed.”

Starting fourth for Race 1 on Saturday, Thompson was up to third in the opening laps, but fell to fifth on a restart. He was able to make up a spot and hold onto fourth through the next two full-course caution periods. In the final restart, Thompson dropped back to fifth, but reclaimed fourth before the checkered flag. It was a solid finish in a race with lots of contact.

“Race one was very frustrating,” Thompson recalled. “There was a lot of carnage out there and drivers not using their heads. I’m glad we survived the race and finished in fourth.”

Despite starting one position higher on the grid (third) for Race 2, the hits kept coming for Thompson. After rubbing wheels with championship rival Angel Benitez Jr. early in the race, Thompson then had a run in with Kasey Kuhlman in Turn Five, resulting in a spin for each. Thompson recovered, but was unable to climb any higher than eighth.

“Race two still had a lot of contact but was a little bit of the opposite from Race One,” Thompson explained. “We dropped like a rock early. I fell back and fought as hard as I could to catch back up. In the end, it was all about saving points.”

By comparison, the third and final race of the Road America weekend was the least eventful as Thompson started and finished sixth.

“Race three seemed to be more of the same,” Thompson lamented. “It felt like the track was constantly changing and we were always one step behind it. We’re definitely more tuned for long runs and when we got decent green flag runs we clawed our way back up. It’s something that we learned from, but it hurt our point lead.”

Indeed, strong finishes from Thompson’s rivals at Road America has now shrunk his Championship lead to two points over Benitez and five points over third-place Michael Lewis with four rounds remaining.

“We’ll make the necessary changes and be back on it at COTA,” Thompson said. “We were strong at COTA and Road Atlanta last year, so I’m definitely looking forward to those.”

Thompson will have the rest of August off before he heads to Austin, Texas, site of Circuit of the Americas and Rounds 13 and 14 of the IMSA GT3 Cup Championship.

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