Goring, Goring… Gone

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Jonathan Goring went flag-to-flag-to-flag-to-flag at the Grand Prix de Trois Rivieres. The two SBN wins put Goring atop the points standings with four races to go.

TROIS-RIVIИRES, Que., Canada – The Skip Barber National Presented by RACER open-wheel championship went topsy-turvy at the Grand Prix de Trois-Riviиres. The points lead changed – again – as Jonathan Goring equaled former championship leader Marco Di Leo’s season-win total with a weekend sweep and is now 20 tallies up on the Canadian.

By his standards, Di Leo’s home country race weekend was less than stellar, scoring a fifth and a seventh, while Alexander Rossi, second in points coming in, had mixed results. He never made it through turn one in the first race, but came home a hard-chasing second in Sunday’s race. Alex Doman, who had yet to taste champagne this year – and not because he’s not of legal age – finally got a podium on Saturday. Richard Heistand’s weekend matched Rossi’s; a solid second place paired with a dismal DNF. Yet the confines of Trois-Riviиres clearly appealed to a few drivers who hadn’t been regularly playing at the sharp end of the field. Kyle Lawrence, Peter Husser, Jason Fennessey and newcomer Yannick Hofman all had at least one top-five or better result.

Marco Di Leo was looking good halfway through the first race. Not so much the second half.

Race one had the makings of a Di Leo domination. Lawrence was the surprise polesitter (taking advantage of wet-to-damp-to-wet qualifying conditions), Rossi alongside, Doman starting third, Hofman fourth. Braking for Turn One, Doman contacted Lawrence’s gearbox, which slid him into Rossi, making room on the outside. Rossi went airborne not once but twice and finally bounced into the tire wall (he smartly drove it out of the way). In the schemozzle, fifth-gridded Di Leo took the lead, Doman second and Husser third.

The first lap drama wasn’t done, however, as Goring, who had qualified a distant 11th, was behind local star Philip Major heading down to Eight. Major braked a bit earlier than Goring anticipated, so Goring juked to the inside and tried to straightline brake down to the apex to scrub speed. But Major hadn’t seen him at all and turned in. Major, Philip became Major Flip, as Goring’s right-front caught Major’s left-rear and he rolled two and a half times. Goring, suffering no damage at all, was already up to fourth by the time the full course yellow was called for (Major was unhurt).

Street races are street fights. Take a look at Richard Heistand’s wing. That’s considered cosmetic damage in the tight confines of a walled race course with no run-off.

Di Leo easily kept the lead on the lap six re-start, with Doman still P2 and now Heistand in third. Heistand and Goring took advantage of a Doman mistake in the Arch corner and took over second and third, respectively. Then Jonathan Gore put it into the fence in One, causing another full course yellow. Three laps later we went green again and in a blink, Di Leo’s race started to fall apart. On the re-start both Heistand and Goring shot down the inside going into Two, dropping Di Leo to third. And just seconds after that, Goring, getting through the Arch better than Heistand, took the lead under braking going into Six. Goring then left Heistand behind for the win, but Di Leo couldn’t hang even on to third, getting passed on the same lap (14) by both Doman and Hofman.

Alex Doman had been sniffing around the podium all year. This time he got one.

Doman (l.) gets good air, Heistand (r.) shoots from point-blank range, Goring as victor loves it….

The Sunday race had no aerobatics or acrobatics and in fact went green the whole way. The drama was the nose to tail battle between frontrowmates Goring and Rossi. These two drove away from the field (third place would end up almost 20 seconds behind) as they staged an entertaining duel. Rossi would close it up, lose a few tenths, then close it up again, all the while taking looks and peeks, some legitimate, some to distract. But Goring remained perfect and no real opportunity presented itself, although a last lap effort got Rossi to within three-tenths at the checker. The third place battle was rife with dicing as Husser and Lawrence drove under the proverbial single blanket. Husser started to hustle too much when he saw Goring and Rossi galloping off into the distance and we saw some mistakes, one of which cost him third place with six to go. Fennessey took a solid fifth, after early position battles with Doman and Heistand (who, on lap four, while rocketing up from last on the grid, got into the back of Hofman with an overly ambitious try at getting past two cars going into Six. The ensuing spin and contact ended both their days).

Speedy Q — er, I mean, speedy Kyle — scored a bunch of points at Trois-Rivieres.

Rossi’s plus-minus weekend didn’t hurt him too much; he’s only 39 points out of first, when a win is worth 65.

Jonathan Goring heading into Turn 10 in his Graphics/Alfas Unlimited R/T 2000.

The series leaves Trois-Riviиres with its third different points leader in as many race weekends: Di Leo led after rounds one and two as well as after three and four. Rossi then went to the top after the fifth and sixth races at Lime Rock, but Di Leo grabbed it back after rounds seven and eight at Road America. Now Goring is at the top of the charts for the first time this year. Don’t expect any clarity after Mid-Ohio, which comes up September 1 – 3. Unless one of these three leaves there with a 150 point + lead – unlikely – the championship and its $100,000 bonus won’t be decided until the season finale at Champ Car Road America September 24.

August 5, 2006, round 9 of 14, Skip Barber National Presented by RACER
Trois-Riviиres, 10-turn, 1.521-mile street course
Starting position in parentheses

1. (11) Jonathan Goring, Norfolk, Conn., 18 laps, 57.484 mph winning average speed
2. (12) Richard Heistand, Orlando, Fla., 18 laps
3. (3) Alex Doman, Conifer, Colo., 18
4. (4) Yannick Hofman, Montreal, Que., Canada, 18
5. (5) Marco Di Leo, Markham, Ont., Canada, 18
6. (7) Peter Husser, Salinas, Calif., 18
7. (1) Kyle Lawrence, Fort Gratiot, Mich., 18
8. (8) Jason Fennessey, Andover, Mass., 18
9. (14) Rob Bunker, Bridgewater, N.J., 18
10. (9) Jonathan Gore, Franklin, Tenn., 6 (accident)
11. (13) Darius Trinka, Lithuania, 6 (accident)
12. (6) Mario Adrian Ochoa, Mexico, 2 (accident)
13. (2) Alexander Rossi, Nevada City, Calif., 0 (accident)
14. (10) Philip Major, Ottawa, Ont., Canada, 0 (accident)

Race length: 18 laps of 1.521-mile, 10-turn street course for 27.4 miles
Time of race: 28 minutes, 34.569 seconds
Conditions: Dry, hot
Margin of victory: 4.673 seconds
Lap leaders: Di Leo, 1 – 10; Goring, 11 – 18
Caution laps: Two caution periods for 6 laps (laps 3 – 5; 8 – 10)
Fastest qualifier: Lawrence, 1:19.888 / 68.541 mph (wet-to-damp)
Fastest race lap: Goring, 1:14.312, lap 17

August 5, 2006, round 10 of 14, Skip Barber National Presented by RACER
Trois-Riviиres, 10-turn, 1.521-mile street course
Starting position in parentheses

1. (1) Jonathan Goring, Norfolk, Conn., 22 laps, 74.317 mph winning average speed
2. (2) Alexander Rossi, Nevada City, Calif., 22 laps
3. (5) Kyle Lawrence, Fort Gratiot, Mich., 22
4. (4) Peter Husser, Salinas, Calif., 22
5. (6) Jason Fennessey, Andover, Mass., 22
6. (7) Alex Doman, Conifer, Colo., 22
7. (8) Marco Di Leo, Markham, Ont., Canada, 22
8. (9) Darius Trinka, Lithuania, 22
9. (11) Philip Major, Ottawa, Ont., Canada, 22
10. (10) Mario Adrian Ochoa, Ensenada, Mexico, 22
11. (13) Jonathan Gore, Franklin, Tenn., 21
12. (3) Yannick Hofman, Montreal, Que., Canada, 3 (accident)
13. (12) Richard Heistand, Orlando, Fla., 3 (accident)

Race length: 22 laps of 1.521-mile, 10-turn street course for 33.5 miles
Time of race: 27 minutes, 00.936 seconds
Conditions: Dry, warm
Margin of victory: 0.392 seconds
Lap leaders: Goring, 1 – 22
Caution laps: None
Fastest qualifier: Goring, 1:13.565 / 74.432 mph
Fastest race lap: Rossi, 1:12.600, lap 22

SBN points standings, top 15 drivers, after 10 of 14 rounds:
1. Jonathan Goring, 507
2. Marco Di Leo, 487
3. Alexander Rossi, 468
4. Kyle Lawrence, 395
5. Alex Doman, 372
6. Richard Heistand, 351
7. Jason Fennessey, 280
8. Mario Adrian Ochoa, 240
9. Peter Husser, 216
10. Darius Trinka, 209
11. Jonathan Gore, 204
12. Andy Rossetto, 183
13. Justin Moon, 175
14. Duncan Ende, 169
15. Kyle Wiegand, 156

View complete ”box score” points standings

Next: Rounds 11 & 12, at Mid-Ohio Sports Course, September 1 – 3

Words & pix, Rick Roso

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