Allard Wins at Autodrome Chaudiere by Marc Patrick Roy
ACT Quebec Race is Contested in Front of a Stand Room Only Crowd
Eric St-Gelais and Daniel Decoste lined up on the front row. St-Gelais would lead the first circuit. Decoste would go on to lead from lap 2 to lap 68 and until the third caution. Decosted, in his first year of participation in ACT CASTROL events, showed some very impressive driving. The first caution, on lap 7, for Steven Boissoneault stopped atop turn one, was a blessing in disguise for Ontario driver Spencer Macpherson, his car engulfed into flames as he was about to pit under green.
“The fuel cell vent tube came loose and caught on fire,” said Macpherson. “I didn't really know it was on, until they radioed me and I saw it in the mirror reflecting against the spoiler. That's when I got hot and nervous. With Montmagny next, where we have always run good, our goals is set: we are going for a win.”
On the restart, Jacques Poulin of nearby East-Broughton took the lead and would keep it over the next 34 laps and two cautions periods, until lap 102. This caution, for eventual winner Karl Allard and had the following to say about his spin: “I didn't pay attention to my brake bias. I challenged for a pass and the back end just went out on me. I forgot to adjust my brakes.”
On the restart, Poulin and outside lane driver Sylvain Lacombe would exchange the lead twice before making contact that sent Lacombe front first into the outside backstretch wall. The car would continue to pivot and brutally end going backwards against the pit entrance wall.
“We just purchased this car. It was only ran once at the Oxford 250 by Roger Brown. In just a few practice sessions we were competitive and fastest car out there as per observers. Now its junk. The front end is totalled. The rear end is junk. The center section is bent. Its like dumping 25K$ down the toilet” said an upset and uninjured Lacombe.
Mario Gosselin, native of nearby Scott, QC who is currently residing in Lakewells,
Florida, a former ARCA Champion who is currently racing on the CRAFTSMAN Truck
Series sustained damage by Poulin's car as it ricocheted of the wall.
“We didn't really hurt the suspension or anything, but the side bumper and the body
are a write off. Finishing sixth is not bad, but we really want to win. We have a couple
more chances of doing it this year” declared Gosselin.
On the restart Martin Lacombe, Sylvain's brother, just off a career first victory at Capital
City, took over the lead of the race. He went on to lead for 9 laps. Alexandre Gingras
took over and went on to lead until lap 143 when Allard took over and would go on to win.
“I didn't have enough to hold off Alexandre. He was faster and their was no way I could
hold him off for so long with so many laps left. I let him go. Patience is turning my
season around. We did it at Ottawa (Capital City) and now tonight: the results speak
for themselves. Seeing my brother in the wall was intense. I am really happy he is safe.
Too bad for the car but his life is a lot more important to me and the rest of my family” said Martin Lacombe.
“It's amazing we finished the race. We brushed the front wall once, but made heavy contact on the backstretch. The a-arm is bent. The shock is bent like a banana. But the car still turned well and was fast. A second podium in as many weeks is sweet” declared Gingras in post race tech inspection.
Karl Allard commented about his win: “This is a great feeling. This win has been long coming. We came close to winning at Kawartha. We have run real good, but we had very bad luck. Tonight, after my spin I apologized to Louis (his spotter) and said it was my mistake. I was going to use the last 40 laps to try and make it up. We were going racing. One doesn't know what would have happened if I wouldn't of spun out. I would have been there up front. Maybe it would be me in the wall. I am glad Sylvain is ok. He is a great racer.”
Winning car co-owner Louis Larue said “With André being in the hospital, it just isn't the same. We saw him for a few hours today before coming here, he was on a temporary leave. It was important for him and it was important for us to show him credit for our performance, it started with the missing man formation during driver intro (a gap was left in the crew line up behind the racecar where André normally stands); And first thing tomorrow we will be going over to the hospital to present him with the trophy. He deserves it just as well as anyone on the team. We ran good here last time and we came here with the same setup today. It's is victory as well. Merci André.”
Karl Allard of St-Félicien, Qc won the ACT CASTROL Series event #5 disputed on the high banks of Autodrome Chaudière in front of a standing room crowd. Alexandre Gingras and Martin Lacombe finished second and third.
Allard's victory, is special in many ways: first it comes after a two year drought, his last win was in his hometown, at Autodrome St-Félicien, on July 29th 2006; second it is the first win he claims for car owners Denis and Louis Larue after a second year association; it is also the Larue brothers first win since 2005; and finally, it was an emotional win for the group, as it was done without the presence of their chassis setup-man André Beaudoin who is sidelined for the last couple of weeks in the hospital.
Twenty three drivers participated in the 150 laps event. The first five finishing positions of each qualifying heats lined up at the front of the field, while the other positions were determined using the luck of the draw and lined up behind.
In all three heats, the pole sitter lead flag-to-flag. Here is how they finished in each of the 15 laps qualifying races:
Heat 1: Daniel Decoste, Stéphane Decoste, Jonathan Desbiens, Eric St-Gelais, Jacques Poulin, Spencer MacPherson, Kevin Roberge, Stéphane Durand
Heat 2: Dany Ouellet, Patrick Hamel, Yvon Bédard, Martin Lacombe, Karl Allard, Claude Leclerc, Renaud Blais, Jean-François Déry
Heat 3 : Alexandre Gingras, Steven Boissoneault, Sylvain Lacombe, Marc-André Cliche, Mario Gosselin, Stéphane Lecours, Remi Lebreux.
The top three of each heat moved to the semi-feature for bonus circuit points. The finishing order was: Daniel Decoste, Alexandre Gingras, Dany Ouellet, Patrick Hamel, Yvon Bédard, Jonathan Desbiens, Sylvain Lacombe, Stéphane Decoste. The 31 of Steven Boissoneault elected not to participate in the semi as he is not running for the Championship points.
Allard takes the checkered flag.