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rolex.jpg The May 22-23 racing weekend at Quebec's Le Circuit Mont Tremblant was truly incredible for Lexus. After Saturday's Team Lexus IS300 victory in the Sport Touring division of the Grand-Am Cup Series, Sunday's Rolex Sports Car race saw a Lexus 1-2 finish!<P>

Coming in first place was the #1 (very appropriate, huh?) <B>CompUSA Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates / Lexus Riley</B> driven by <B>Scott Pruett</B> and <B>Max Papis</B>. In second place was the #27 <B>Doran Lista Racing / Lexus Doran</B> entry driven by <B>Jan Magnussen</B> and <B>Didier Theys</B>.<P>

rolex2.jpg Here are some excerpts from the <I>Speed Channel</I> website's article by Lauren McCrystal:<P>

The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series had its fourth different winner in as many races, as Scott Pruett and Max Papis co-drove the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley to the first victory for a Lexus-powered Daytona Prototype in the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant.

The No. 01 led six different times for a race-high total of 128 laps, and Pruett claimed the lead for the final time from fourth place on lap 175 when David Donohue spun the race-leading No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar into the Turn 8 gravel trap under pressure from Jan Magnussen in the No. 27 Doran Lista Racing Lexus Doran. Magnussen and third-place Oswaldo Negri Jr., in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus Doran (who would eventually go on to finish in 6th place.[Ed.]), made their final pit stops as the full-course caution flag came out. Pruett, who pitted for the final time 11 laps earlier, stayed on the race track and retook the lead.

Pruett pulled away from defending Rolex Series champion Terry Borcheller in the No. 54 Kodak Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran and the rest of the field on the ensuing restart and was never challenged over the closing laps. Borcheller eventually surrendered second place to Magnussen, and the race finished under caution after six hours and an even 200 laps when John Lloyd made contact with the Turn 4 barrier following an off-course excursion on Lap 197. The triumph also moved Pruett and Papis into the Daytona Prototype championship lead at the season's one-third distance.<P>

"It was great for Chip Ganassi Racing, for Lexus, for CompUSA," Pruett said. "The first win is always the most difficult to get and always the sweetest. Max did a great job, the guys did a great job, and the car never missed a beat. The car was so much fun to drive and this is a fun track."<P>

The win was the first-ever in Rolex Series competition for Pruett and the Ganassi team, and was the first Daytona Prototype triumph for Papis.<P>

"This win is fantastic," exclaimed Papis. "To give the first win in Grand American racing to (team owner) Chip (Ganassi), Lexus, and CompUSA is wonderful. We really wanted this one very bad. Winning four consecutive poles was great, but we knew that we had the speed to win and it was just a matter of putting it all together. This win a true team success."<P>

"Obviously, we've won a lot of poles and we've had a good season so far, but we hadn't brought a victory home," Ganassi added. "That's what racing is all about."<P>

Magnussen and co-driver Didier Theys finished second for their best finish of the season and the team's best finish since a second-place run in the Grand American Champions Weekend at Daytona International Speedway to close out the 2003 season. This was Magnussen's first appearance in the No. 27 since the Grand Prix of Miami in February, and was just his second appearance ever in Grand American competition.

"I'm happy for the team," Magnussen said. "It didn't look like we'd get on the podium for a while. Obviously, I'd like to win, but second is good, and I had no trouble with anybody today. We had some damage to the left front, and the Crawford-I think it's the No. 4-he ran out of fuel or something and just stopped in front of me. We worked through all sorts of tire compounds.

”We really chased the track today. Our Lexus engine was very good. I'm glad we're on the podium. It was a hard-fought race all the way. You were always fighting with somebody."

"It was a very competitive race," Theys offered. "There were so many different leaders and the cars are so closely matched. We tried different tire compounds today. When I was in the car, I didn't like my tire compound.

The track was very slippery, and I was not comfortable. Then, when Jan was in the car, we found a compound that we liked."
 
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