Tom DrewerTom Drewer couldn’t replicate the success of last year during this year’s Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport for Rounds 11 & 12 of the 2009 IMSA Lites Championship.

2008 was Drewer’s first race at the famous Canadian circuit and he marked the occasion winning the IMSA Lites 2 category. This year driving in IMSA Lites 1, the up-and-coming Australian had what he described as a ‘lack-lustre’ weekend for both himself and the Comprent team despite demon passes and tough, hard-fought races.

“2009 has certainly been more of a rollercoaster ride than last year. We made a good progression and peaked with taking pole position at New Jersey, and although I’ve been up the pointy end of the field and consistently collecting points we just haven’t been able to convert into podiums yet.

I came to Canada looking to put all the drama of Road America – where I got incorrectly black flagged – behind me. But it just seemed the team; both my teammate and I struggled to find the pace all weekend, especially straight-line speed.

As usual it was another fantastic event at Mosport and the Canadians came out in droves despite the weather that turned from high heat to rainstorms all weekend long. I think my highlight was letting a few lucky young race fans get a thrill by taking a seat in the Number 1 Ubantu Resort car for photos.”

Drewer started Round 11 in tenth position after qualifying was abandoned due to heavy fog on the high-speed 2.5mile (4km), 10-corner track located 1 hour east of Toronto, near Bowmanville Ontario.

“Both Charlie (Shears) and I were dealt a bit of a blow when qualifying was aborted. We had both been working away during the practice sessions, collecting data to pool for qualifying, rather than get outright times so we stared down the order.

I made a fantastic start though and immediately passed (Anthony) Nicolosi to be right behind my teammate. We duelled it out for a few laps. Charlie wasn’t giving me an inch, and I didn’t give him an inch back. I felt I was faster and pounced when he pressured (Gary) Gibson going into Turn 2 and they both ran wide, with Gibson running off and hitting the wall.

After the restart I pushed on and caught Antonio Downs. As I was catching him he had a bit of a moment but heading through Turn 8 his car was at full speed. Into 9, Antonio just checked up and I had nowhere to go. I know Antonio well and I think he must have had a problem; he wouldn’t do anything on purpose. It was just one of those things.

I avoided major contact with him but locked up the rears in the process and the car spun into the wall breaking the rear hub. It was a shame because we were on for another top 6 finish.”

Round 11 was won by Matt Downs. Round 12, won by Canadian local Kyle Marcelli, saw Drewer start in 9th, one position behind his teammate Charlie Shears.

“Again, I got off to another strong start and battled pretty hard with my team-mate and passed him before getting stuck behind (Johnny) Meriggi. He was so slow through Turn 2, but if you try anything on there you’ll be in the wall, and he blocked me heading into Three. I made quite a few solid attempts to pass him both in Three and Five and each time he just moved over and forced me off the road. I was quite surprised he didn’t get penalised for blocking, actually.

Due to one of those attempts I lost momentum out of Five and Charlie and Nicolosi got passed me. But I quickly redeemed myself, making an awesome move through Turn 3 to take Charlie on the inside and Meriggi on the outside. Meriggi then immediately started blocking Charlie and I guess Charlie got sick of that and put him into the wall at Three to bring out a full course yellow.

With two to go the race was restarted and coming up the back straight for the last time I passed Nicolosi to take the flag in eighth. It was a good, tough race but a pretty lack-lustre result.

I guess I can just take comfort in the fact I out raced my teammate in both races. In a situation where the team doesn’t have the pace that is all you can hope for. Regardless, a potential 6th and 8th weren’t the results I was looking for. I am still looking for my first podium of the season.

Comprent is a fantastic team who knows how to win and we know the Ubantu Resort car can be fast as we proved at New Jersey. I know the guys will put in the hard yards to get back at the front, and so will I. We are testing at Road Atlanta before the next race and, although I won’t be driving due to budget, I’ll be up there too learning as much as I can from the sidelines to make sure I’m as prepared as I can be for the season finale at the Petit Le Mans event.”

The last two rounds of the 2009 IMSA Lites presented by Frisby Performance Tire season will be held at the Petit Le Mans event at Road Atlanta on Thursday, September 24 and Friday, September 25.