TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec — Sam Schmidt Motorsports’ Tristan Vautier completed a weekend sweep of the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivières with the victory on the street circuit.
Vautier was atop the time sheet in practice, started from the pole and went on to his third victory of the season.
At the drop of the green flag, Vautier was quickly swallowed up by Belardi Auto Racing’s Peter Dempsey, who started fifth and made a daring move to second and took the lead all on the first lap. Dempsey maintained the point until Lap 9, when a gearbox issue forced him into the pits and out for the race.
“I told my guys I’d get it done for them, and I picked my way to the front with a few good moves over a few corners,” Dempsey said. “It was a great start to the race and the car felt really good. Unfortunately, we had a mechanical failure in the gearbox, but on the positive side I think we had another solid weekend. We just need to piece it together and the wins will follow. I want to thank the team, Belardi Auto Racing, and my sponsor TruFuel.”
From there, it was smooth sailing for Vautier, who maintained a fairly comfortable gap over Team Moore Racing’s Gustavo Yacaman throughout the remainder of the race. Yacaman finished second after qualifying third, and Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz followed up his recent win in Edmonton with a third-place finish.
The win was familiar to Vautier, who also won from pole last season at the track in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. An obvious fan favorite because of his experience at the venue and his ability to speak fluent French, Vautier also moves back into second place in the championship battle with two races remaining.
“It was a real test today,” Vautier said. “The track is a real street course, it’s hard physically and we were under pressure after the past three races that were hard, and we got the win we needed. I’m excited for my team, it was a great car. Big thanks to everyone, I’m really happy and the team was fantastic. We were fastest in eveyr session and we almost led every lap. I’d like to thank Mazda and MAZDASPEED, for allowing me to be here today.”
Finishing in fourth was points leader Esteban Guerrieri, who has 383 points and a six-point lead over Vautier. Fifth was Sam Schmidt Motorsports’ Oliver Webb, followed by David Ostella and Jorge Goncalvez. Victor Carbone, Sebastian Saavedra, Juan Pablo Garcia and Dempsey finished in that order after retiring from the race with mechanical issues.
The series heads to the streets of Baltimore on Sept. 2. The Grand Prix of Trois-Rivières will be televised on NBC Sports Network Aug. 16 at 5 p.m. (ET).