Gingras Dominates in Castrol Series Action at Ste-Croix by Marc Patrick Roy
Quebec Driver Leads Most of the Way in Stock Car Mania 100
On Sunday, Circuit Ste-Croix was host to the ffith event of 12 on the ACT Castrol Series schedule.  Alexandre Gingras of Quebec City won convincingly the Stock Car Mania 100.  Donald Theetge of Boischatel finished second and Val-Bélair’s Jean-François Déry was third. 


The heat races were not kind to Eric St. Gelais.
The Stock Car Mania 100, initially scheduled to be a combination 200 laps event between the ACT Tour and ACT Castrol Series was reformatted to be counting only towards the ACT Castrol Series championship.  The change in schedule and length was agreed to in order to accommodate the requests by all parties (the promoter, the series officials and the drivers).

Qualifying

Heat #1 – Marc-André Cliche won over Claude Leclerc, Dany Ouellet, Kevin Roberge, Jonathan Desbiens, Stephane Durand.  Eric St-Gelais crashed violently, on lap three, going into turn three, when a rear end suspension component broke.  He was a scratch for the feature with a badly damaged racecar.

Heat #2 –Yvon Bédard finished first, ahead of Alexandre Gingras, Martin Lacombe, Daniel Bergeron, Jacques Poulin, Réjean Blanchet and Stephan Legault.

Heat #3 – Finishing order was: Karl Allard, Sylvain Lacombe, Donald Theetge, JF Déry, Patrick Laperle and Steeven Boissoneault.

Semi-feature

The young driver from Vallée-Jonction, Marc-André Cliche, was in front of the nine cars field for all laps. He was followed across the line by Yvon Bédard, Alexandre Gingras, Karl Allard, Claude Leclerc, Sylvain Lacombe, Dany Ouellet, Martin Lacombe and Donald Theetge.

Feature race

Rookie driver Kevin Roberge of Lévis and Dany Ouellet of Lapocatière started on the front row of the 19 cars field, the lowest car count this year on the ACT Castrol Series Championship.  Ouellet quickly took command of the race and lead the field around for the first eight laps.  Gingras, who had started the race sixth, took the commands of the race on the ninth circuit was turning race laps, at 23.3 seconds, just 2/10ths off the best practice rounds fast times.

On lap 17, the first and only caution flag was shown for Kevin Roberge’s car, who was smoking as if the engine let go.  By then the order of cars was : Gingras, Theetge, Déry, Karl Allard of St-Félicien, Marc-André Cliche of Vallée-Jonction, Ouellet, Claude Leclerc of Montréal, Yvon Bédard of St-Nicholas, Patrick Laperle of St-Denis and Jacques Poulin of East Broughton. 

This early in the race, Déry and Allard were showing impressive performances.  Déry, who started 12th, had cracked the top five by the sixth circuit.  Allard, also very quick to get to the front, had started way back in the 14th spot.

When the green fell, Theetge was determined to take the lead away from Gingras.  Both of them raced around the track side-by-side, with Theetge edging out Gingras on lap 18. Going into turn one, Theetge over drove just a little, just enough for Gingras and Déry to go around him.

Further back, the man on a mission was Sylvain Lacombe, last week’s ACT Castrol event winner, who pitted during the lap 17 caution period, for a wedge adjustment, was working his way thru the field.  By lap 25, he was back in the top ten, but with a great number of good cars still separating him from the lead.

At the half way, the order of cars still on the lead lap was: Gingras, Déry, Theetge, Allard and Patrick Laperle, Marc-André Cliche, Sylvain Lacombe, Yvon Bédard, Jacques Poulin, Daniel Bergeron, Dany Ouellet, Martin Lacombe, Steeven Boissoneault, Réjean Blanchet.

Around lap 67, Theetge took over second from Déry.  “I don’t know what’s wrong, the handling of our car was good, but sometimes the brakes would go soft on me.  It was just not consistent.  Maybe its from one of my off road excursions on the back stretch” admitted Déry.

By lap 70 the top ten order was now: Gingras, Theetge, Déry, Allard, Laperle, Lacombe, Cliche, Leclerc, Bédard and Jacques Poulin.  The order would stay this way except for Jacque Poulin who would go on to pass both Bédard (lap 98) and Leclerc (lap 99) in the closing laps of the race.

Alexandre Gingras, the first and only repeat winner, on the 2007 ACT Castrol Series schedule, was dialled.  He quickly went to the front only to be challenged by Donald Theetge, the 2006 Castrol LMS Series Champion.  Theetge and his team elected to play the conservation game, hoping for at least one more neutralisation, to bridge the gap Gingras was building.  It never came.  At the end, 45 minutes later, Gingras had lapped nine of the 19 competitors in the race and lead 91 of 100 laps.

“I had a very consistant car,” said Gingras.  “It was fast from start to finish.  The handling was great.  Donald [Theetge] gave me a good challenge at the restart, it was clean and fun racing him.  The lapped cars did a good job today and were not a factor.”

“I went too high, “ said Theetge.  “Gingras got by, my team and I agreed to let him go and save the tires for the next restart.  It never came.  I was counting on it.  Alexandre was very quick.”

Several other drivers were left scratching their heads when it came to figuring out how to catch Gingras as well.

“I had a fast car all day,” said  Jean-François Déry.  “I was very quick in practice, very quick in the race, but then I developed brake problems.  There has to be something binding.  It wouldn’t always do it.  So it was difficult.  We extended our lead at the top of the standings, but I really need to win soon.  I did good in the past at Vallée-Jonction, so I am looking forward to it.”

“I needed to come in, on the lap 17 caution, to fix the handling of the car,” said Sylvain Lacombe.  “We made it better, but I ran out of time.  We would have needed a yellow to catch up to the leaders and it never came.”

“Nobody can accuse me of being in their way now,” said Claude Leclerc.  “I am happy with my ninth place finish, our car’s handling was not the best, but we still salvaged a ninth place finish.”

“Our car lost handling really early in the race, it was pushing really bad,” said Patrick Leperle.  “We were hoping for a yellow that never came.  Or car is in one piece and we look forward to Vallée.”


Official Finish of the Série ACT Castrol’s Stock Car Manis 100 – Sun., June 26, 2007
at Circuit Ste-Croix,  Ste-Croix, Qc
showing finish position, (start position), driver, hometown, laps complete and reason out, if any:

1. (6) Alexandre Gingras, Quebec, Qc, 100

2. (10) Donald Theetge, Boischatel, Qc, 100

3. (12) Jean-François Déry, Val-Belair, Qc, 100

4. (13) Patrick Laperle, St-Denis, Qc, 100

5. (14) Karl Allard, St-Felicien, Qc, 100

6. (11) Sylvain Lacombe, Terrebonne, QC, 100

7. (4) Marc-Andre Cliche, Vallee-Jonction, Qc, 100

8. (5) Jacques Poulin, East Broughton, Qc, 100

9. (3) Claude Leclerc, Lanouraie, Qc, 100

10. (8) Yvon Bedard, St-Nicolas, Qc, 100

11. (7) Daniel Bergeron,  St-Benoit, Qc, 99

12. (9) Martin Lacombe, Terrebonne, Qc, 99

13. (17) Steven Boissonneault, Lyster, Qc, 99

14. (2) Dany Ouellet, La Pocatiere, Qc, 98

15. (16) Rejean Blanchet, St-Tite-des-Caps, Qc, 98

16. (18) Stephane Legault, Lery, Qc, 98

17. (19) Jonathan Desbiens, Levis, 97

18. (15) Stephane Durand, Quebec, Qc, 97

19. (1) Kevin Roberge, Levis, Qc, 16, Engine






Gingas' three stages of leading, with his #27 car, at Ste-Croix