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August 22, 2012 (Opelika, Ala.) – It may not have happened in a way the team had hoped, but APR Motorsport recorded their first top-ten of the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at the Montreal 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday afternoon.
After starting ninth in the no. 51 APR Motorsport Audi R8 Grand-Am, Dr. Jim Norman survived the always-crazy opening lap at Montreal – albeit with slight contact with a Mazda RX-8 from behind – and settled into a nice rhythm during the opening laps. Battling with the no. 94 Turner Motorsports BMW M3 and the no. 70 Speedsource Mazda RX-8, the BMW ran into the back of Norman under braking for the turn ten hairpin, resulting in damage to the left-rear suspension on the Audi R8.
A resulting caution would see Norman pit and hand the car over to teammate Dion von Moltke.
“We were hoping for a better result this weekend in Montreal,” said Norman. “But the big curbs really rewarded the Camaro, and the long straightaway rewarded several other cars more than ours. Even with the great driving of my teammate Dion, we see that there is still work to do before we get our first podium.”
Once in the car, von Moltke was able to advance the no. 51 APR Audi R8 Grand-Am a few positions throughout the race. Taking over the car in 12th position, he would finish in ninth, chasing down the Mazda RX-8 ahead of him in the closing stages of the two-hour race.
“It was a really tough race as Montreal is a very mentally demanding race track,” said von Moltke. “You really have no room for error and for the last 45 minutes I was pushing like it was qualifying to close the gap to the Mazda in front of us. I was able to get right on his rear bumper on the final lap but I just used up the tires too much trying to get there that I had nothing left to really challenge him through the final few corners. Once again our guys were awesome in the pits which really allowed us to finally crack the top-ten.”
Despite the incident, the APR Motorsport drivers left Montreal in high spirits with the team’s first top-ten in the Rolex Series.
“We have made tremendous progress this year developing the Audi so it is competitive under the Grand Am rules package,” said Norman. “The team has been working very hard to find every possible way to make the car handle better and thus move up the time sheets. We are back to work and expect an even better result at Laguna!”
Von Moltke echoed the thoughts of his teammate.
“As a team we are finally hitting our stride and working together great,” he said. “The last two races Jim has really elevated his game and is really preforming well, I think we are starting to get the best out of the car as drivers and as a team. We are looking forward to Laguna Seca!”
The next round of the Rolex Series and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will be September 7-9, at the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, Calif.
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APR LLC is an automotive engineering firm operating a 36,000 sq. ft. performance campus in Opelika, Ala. APR was founded in 1997 with a corporate philosophy of Integrity, Excellence and Innovation. APR’s sole mission is to provide the highest quality and most highly engineered aftermarket performance parts available for Audi, Volkswagen, SEAT and Skoda vehicles. Learn more at www.goapr.com, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/APRMotorsport, and on twitter (@GoAPR).