Stu Hayner Ponce Grand Prix summary
Stu Hayner Dominates Ponce Grand Prix of Puerto Rico Detroit - November 13 2006 -- In his typical low-key fashion, Stu Hayner, driving the ...
Stu Hayner Dominates Ponce Grand Prix of Puerto Rico
Detroit - November 13 2006 -- In his typical low-key fashion, Stu Hayner, driving the #29 www.visitponce.com Ford Mustang owned by Woodson Duncan, stunned the American GT field at the El Tuque Race Park this Sunday in Ponce, Puerto Rico. The event, part of the American GT Inter-Americas Challenge, was comprised of two main events run concurrently Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon.
Hayner struggled throughout the week bringing the car up-to-speed. He ultimately qualified to start the first Main event in 6th. By mid race Stu had dispensed of the leaders and had the black www.visitponce.com #29 Mustang on the way to a solid victory. Oddly, Hayner was shown the black flag when race officials cited him for a questionable pass. While there was no evidence of why the call was made, Hayner served the penalty and proceeded on to finish round one in 5th.
In the second Main event, Hayner started fifth based on his round one finishing position. In no time at all Hayner charged to the front of the pack. This time there was no looking back. Hayner, executing his smooth style and superb equipment management simply drove away from the field.
"This was a lot of fun," said Hayner describing the week. "We had some challenges getting the car comfortable and finding the handle, but in the end, the crew got it absolutely right. This was a good win for us."
When asked about the local competition, Hayner was most complimentary in his assessment.
"There are some fast guys and fast cars down here," Hayner noted. "I knew we'd have some stiff competition, but these guys really know how to get around this track and they're extremely knowledgeable and in touch with the AGT cars. I think the top ten cars all qualified within one second of each other and any one of them was capable of winning this thing."
Hayner was also impressed with the El Tuque facility and the promoter's hospitality.
"I really had a blast down here," said Stu. Not only was the racing great, but Edison Lluch and his staff at the El Tuque resort and race track certainly know how to treat you right. We had great accommodations, excellent food and they are just fabulous hosts. The camaraderie among the competitors was unlike any I've ever experienced. This was a ball and I can't thank Woodson Duncan and the AGT folks enough for inviting me down."
Defending 2005 Champion, Puerto Rican Rolando Falqueras, in the #00 EL Nuev0 Dia Mustang, finished second overall. RJ Lopez of the Dominican Republic put together two solid runs to finish third in the Ame47 #47 Camaro.
The first round winner, Mannen Mendez in the #3 WesternBank Camaro, substituted drivers for round two and struggled while receiving 0 points and finishing 8th overall.
Other notables were Charles Webster of Canada in the #95 Corvette finishing 5th overall and Kenny Bupp of the USA in the #17 Hamilton Safe Camaro finishing 11th.
The American GT Inter-Americas Challenge will pick up next month in the Dominican Republic for its final race of the year. To find out more about the American GT Series and the Inter-Americas Challenge, go to www.americangt.com