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TREMBLAY AND HAM GIVE SPEEDSOURCE MAZDA RX-8 FIRST ROLEX SERIES GT CLASS WIN IN MEXICO CITY
MEXICO CITY, Mexico (March 3, 2007) -- SpeedSource team owner Sylvain Tremblay and co-driver Nick Ham scored their first-career Rolex Series GT victory in the Mexico City 400k driving the No. 70 Mazda/Mazdaspeed RX-8, giving Mazda its first-ever Rolex Series win.
Tremblay took over for Ham on Lap 55 of the 92-lap event and led a class-high 42 laps to beat Dominik Farnbacher in the No. 85 Shoes for Crews/Recaro Porsche GT3 by 22.284 seconds to score the first-career Rolex Series win for both drivers. The race ran without a full-course caution, putting extra pressure on the SpeedSource crew during the driver change and pit stop. The Florida-based team worked flawlessly, sending Tremblay--the winningest driver in Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series history--back on track with a comfortable lead.
"Taking on this Rolex Series program was a big challenge," said Tremblay. "All of the people at SpeedSource that put in all these hours to get this program to where it is. To come here and win for Mazda is a great achievement. The crowds here were very enthusiastic and very knowledgeable, and I can't wait to come back here next year. This was a great weekend."
Ham started the No. 70 machine from the class pole position, but quickly fell to fourth in the opening laps. The Englishman gradually moved back up the class leader board, taking back the point position on Lap 13 and leading 37 laps himself. Ham's victory comes in just his fifth-career Rolex Series start.
"The main concern at the start was not to get into any racing battles," said Ham. "We knew we had a really good car here, and we knew that once we got heat in the tires, we'd be fine. I just wanted to run clean laps during my stint and hand Tremblay the car with a chance to win. This Mazda RX-8 is a great car here and it really loves this track. (Engineer) David Haskell did a great job setting up this car, and the whole team did an awesome job all weekend."
For SpeedSource, the Mexico City win marks its first Rolex Series class triumph in just its sixth start. The team made just four GT starts in 2006 with an eye towards a full schedule in 2007, and is already seeing the reward of extra preparation. The No. 70 co-drivers carry a seven-point lead over their SpeedSource teammates Emil Assentato and Nick Longhi in the No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8 in the GT standings (61-54) heading into Round 3 at Homestead-Miami Speedway March 24. The No. 70 Mazda finished second at the event in 2006.
"With the effort by the SpeedSource team and the support of Mazda, this is truly a full team operation," continued Tremblay. "Last year, we agreed that we needed to take a step back and we decided to focus a lot on testing. When we came to Daytona this year, we thought we had a great shot to win. We're continuing to improve every day."
Farnbacher and co-driver Leh Keen--who held the GT class lead for the first 11 laps--finished second in the No. 85 Porsche GT3 for Farnbacher Loles Motorsports. Assentato and Longhi gave SpeedSource a second podium finish, coming home third in the No. 69 Mazda RX-8.
Bryce Miller and Dirk Werner made it two Farnbacher Loles Porsches in the class top-four with a fourth-place outing in the No. 87 MarquisJet/Recaro Porsche GT3. Werner also led two laps. Nathan Swartzbaugh and Andrew Davis completed the GT top five in the No. 72 Tafel Racing Porsche GT3.