Starting from the 9th spot on the grid, Tomy Drissi drove his No. 5 X-Men: First Class / Muscle Milk Porsche GT3 to a 7th place finish in Saturday’s Pirelli World Challenge Series race at Miller Motorsports Park for the Grand Prix of Utah.
The drama began Friday when SCCA Pro officials cancelled qualifying due to snow. The grid was set based on current point standings and on time for those drivers without points. The decision put Tomy starting 9th.
“I’d have loved to qualify in the wet,” laughed Tomy. “I hate that they set the grid this way… but for safety sake, I guess it was the right decision.”
Fortunately, the track avoided Friday night’s snow accumulation. Many surrounding areas saw up to three inches of snow on the ground. Saturday, Miller was clear and dry with the day’s schedule running right on time.
The Pirelli World Challenge Series cars took the green flag at 3PM local time and immediately saw the caution come out due to an incident on the grid. It appeared the Volvo of Randy Pobst failed to start. Drissi, staged immediately behind Pobst, dove to the inside clearing the stalled race car. Unfortunately another competitor collected the Volvo causing the full course yellow. The field took the restart on lap six.
“After the restart, the X-Men: First Class Porsche felt great,” noted Tomy. “It seemed everyone around me was struggling with cold tires and fighting loose conditions. My car seemed just right and I could move around at will. Unfortunately, as the tire temperatures came up fortunes were reversed and my car really started to tighten up on me. I think I ran as high as fourth, but it was short lasted.”
This was the fourth consecutive race in which Drissi has improved his finishing position. He was 12th in round 1 at St. Pete, 10th in round 2 at St. Pete, 9th in round 3 at Long Beach and 7th in round 4 here at Utah.
“No doubt we’re moving forward,” said Tomy. “I just need to keep working with my team and build my confidence in the car. We need consistency. I’m still in that place where I’m never really sure how the car is going to respond to changes. That’s hard on a driver’s confidence and comfort level… especially running in traffic. Though the car was good early in today’s race, I was driving on the ragged edge at the half way mark. That would be fine if we were running at the front. But if your constantly driving on the edge just to keep up, you’re not going to get to the front. That’s where we want to be… that’s where we should be.”
Drissi leaves Utah sitting 9th in the Driver’s Championship point standings.
Next up for the Pirelli World Challenge Series is rounds 5 and 6 that will run on the same weekend at Mosport International Raceway in Bowemanville, Ontario as part of the Mosport Victoria Day Speedfest, May 20-22, 2011.
The Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Utah presented by Bondurant will air on Versus on Saturday, June 18 at 3:00 p.m. EDT.
For more information, please visit www.world-challenge.com.
Tomy Drissi is an American driver and Trans Am Champion. His driver experience includes ALMS, Trans-Am, NASCAR and Speed World Challenge. Born December 9 in Hollywood, California, Tomy owns an advertising firm that produces upcoming film displays for cinemas. Drissi’s first racing experience in motorsports was street racing on Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills. His professional racing career highlights include; 1999 Trans-Am Rookie of the Year, 2000 Trans-Am BBS Most Improved Driver, 2000 Trans-Am Crew of the Year and Trans-Am Champion. In 2010 Tomy competed in Trans-Am competing in 7 rounds and taking 1 win, 1 pole, 3 podiums, 4 Top Fives, 7 Top Tens; He also competed in the American Le Mans Series LMP1 class at Mid-Ohio finishing 3rd. Tomy is married to Lacy Livingston Drissi. Find out more about Tomy Drissi at http://www.tomydrissi.com or on Facebook. You can follow Tomy on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/tomydrissi.