NEWTON, Iowa (April 21, 2007) – In the first-ever race on the 1.3-mile road course at Iowa Speedway, Guy Cosmo and David Tuaty co-drove the no. 127 Fountain Motorsports BMW 330i to victory in Saturday’s Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series event.
Cosmo claimed the lead from Trevor Hopwood in the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i in Turn 4 with 19 laps remaining and held off a charging Kuno Wittmer in the No. 31 Acura/Cobalt Friction/Alpine Stars Acura TSX to win by 0.306 seconds. It was Cosmo’s third career KONI Challenge Series class victory, but was his first since an ST I class win at Virginia International Raceway in 2003.
“We had a nice big lead after the second-to-last yellow,” Cosmo said. “We’d really stretched it out a little bit and gave me a nice comfort zone to just keep a good pace and not make any mistakes and keep going. Then that last yellow came out and I was thinking, ‘Man, I thought we had this one and I could conserve some energy for the next race,’ but that didn’t work out. Really, in that stage, all you’re doing is just driving the track and driving the car, and not worrying about anybody else that’s on the track with me. I just had to do what I do and do it every lap and not screw up. Fortunately, things worked out. It was a good plan, David gave me a great car and a great position and we got it all done.”
Tuaty started from eighth on the grid and drove the opening stint in the race before turning the car over to Cosmo on Lap 47 of the 162-lap race. It was Tuaty’s second career KONI Challenge Series ST victory and his first win since the 2005 season-opener at Daytona International Speedway.
“We knew this was a long race and we had to keep the car, so Guy and I decided while we were testing this weekend to keep the car consistent,” Tuaty said. “We knew the lap times we could do, and we could do it all race long. That’s what we did. Towards the end, it actually surprised both Guy and I when he was turning some really fast laps that were in the top three for the weekend. We weren’t concentrating on that, we were just concentrating on being fast enough to not go off the pace. Guy and I worked really hard on the setup of the car. We were missing a few horsepower on the other cars, but this is a short track and handling is key and being there at the end. Some guys did some boneheaded moves at the beginning that took them out at the beginning that took them out for no reason. We tried to avoid all that. At the end, Guy was having a lot of pressure from the Mazda and Kuno, and they were worrying me. But Guy kept it there. He’s a fantastic co-driver. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Canadian brothers Nick and Kuno Wittmer wound up second in the No. 31 machine. Nick started the race from the pole position and led throughout his 104-lap driving stint before pitting under green flag conditions to turn the car over to Kuno. That strategy forced the No. 31 machine off the lead lap for a time, but Kuno clawed his way back and came within a whisker of scoring the victory.
“We did qualify first, so we knew we had a fast car, but at the beginning of the race, we had a plan to just keep it consistent and keep it up front and battle it out at the end like we did,” Nick Wittmer said. “We didn’t think we were going to go down that far, and at the end we got a little pit strategy that wasn’t that good. We came in under the green flag and the other guys came in on the yellow, so that didn’t help us that much. We still had a great car. The Acura was amazing, and the Cobalt Brakes were amazing too. I could brake really good with those. I think I led the whole hour and 45 minutes before I came in, and the car was amazing for the whole first half I did.”
“Guy is a proven driver, and I’m really, really glad to race against guys like Guy at the end,” added Kuno Wittmer. “I knew I could stick my nose under him and he wouldn’t chop me off. He’s a great guy. I wouldn’t take him out. I’m not that kind of guy either. Again, all thanks to our Cobalt Brakes. That’s why we led the most laps today. It’s due to them. The Acura TSX was a really good car today. I mean, we were running qualifying times at the end, and it just proves that this series is really, really competitive. It was a great job for the guys and really thanks to Acura and Cobalt.”
Adam Burrows and Hopwood took their second consecutive podium result with a third-place run in the No. 95 BMW, and took over the ST class points lead after three of 12 races complete. Burrows and Hopwood—who led nine laps before incurring a drive-through penalty for breaking the pit lane speed limit on his final stop—now lead with 86 points apiece, three more than No. 76 Compass360.com/Skunk2/Hawk Brakes Acura TSX co-drivers Karl Thomson and Billy Johnson.
“We missed a lot of the test day yesterday with a motor problem but the Turner guys did an amazing job to get a new engine in the car, change the clutch, and put in new brakes so we could get out today,” said Burrows. “My main objective for the race was to get up into the top three before turning the car over to Trevor. Even though I didn’t get a stellar start, I managed to work my way up to third before the pit stop. After the driver change, Trevor did another excellent job to get us back up onto the podium for the second week in a row. Considering the challenges that we had this weekend, I couldn’t be happier about the results.”
“The strategy the Turner Motorsport guys had was just perfect,” added Hopwood. “I made a mistake coming on to pit lane and got a penalty and that probably cost us the race but it’s great to get on the podium again. It’s early yet in the season but its great to get on top in the championship and hopefully we can keep that momentum up. I’m really excited about driving this Turner BMW 330 at Laguna in a few weeks.”
Hopwood and Burrows were the first of four cars to benefit from a one-minute post-race penalty on the No. 01 Scada Pack/Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt of co-drivers Eric Curran and Jamie Holtom. On the final lap, Curran made contact in Turn 4 with David Haskell in the No. 68 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 while battling for third place, sending Haskell spinning off-course.
As a result, Hopwood and Burrows moved to third, followed by Sam Schultz and Seth Thomas in the No. 126 Trackmasters/Fountain Motorsports BMW 330i in fourth, Haskell and Scott Schlesinger in fifth, and Christian Miller—who led four laps—and Glenn Bocchino sixth in the No. 32 Acura/Cobalt Friction/Alpine Stars TSX. Curran and Holtom wound up seventh after the penalty.
Todd Buras and Carlos Garcia finished eighth in the No. 56 BSI Racing/Team Garcia Racing Mazda MX-5, with Jose Armengol and Dan Allen ninth in the No. 69 Mondial Forwarding/Freedom Harley-Davidson Mazda RX-8, and Joe Sahlen and Will Nonnamaker completing the top 10 in the No. 03 Team Sahlen/HRPWorld.com Dodge SRT4.
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