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Jul 1, 2013 / reports


David Thilenius returned to competition at the Watkins Glen Grand-Am CTSCC event, making it his first time in a race car since his spectacular incident at Daytona in January. Have a read of his lively report on his return to our squad here...

"Hey!  It has been a long road back, but I finally returned to Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition in the #77 Compass 360 Honda Civic Si at Watkins Glen June 26-29, 2013.  A top ten qualifying result, solid pit work by the Compass 360 crew and great driving by my co-driver, Aaron Povoledo, looked set to translate into a top five finish until contact with a Grand Sports division Porsche spun Aaron into the guardrail.  The Compass 360 crew was able to effect repairs and Aaron brought the #77 Civic home in 22nd position.

"The weekend in New York was dominated by constantly changing weather conditions.  I spent most of the dry first test session fighting with traffic.  To be honest, I was a bit nervous when I first got back into the car.  It took a few laps to get my thought processes up to speed.  The second test session and both official practices started in the rain.  The Compass Civic was great in the rain and really helped me ease back into driving.  On a drying track, in the final practice session, Aaron recorded the fastest time.   

"Saturday morning dawned with clear skies.  I would have been happy to qualify in the rain, but Grand Am does not let us qualify on wet weather tires.  If it had rained for qualifying, our starting position would have been based on my standing in the championship, basically last.  I was pretty sure I could do better than last, even with the limited time I had on a dry track in practice!  On my first flying lap of practice, I lost a few tenths in Turn 1 when the #23 BMW ran wide, but still ran my quickest lap of the week.  After a drive through of the pits to serve a pit lane speeding penalty held over from the last practice session, I found another second on track recording a 2:09.6.  With time running out, I shaved another tenth of a second which ultimately placed the #77 Civic 8th on the grid. 

"When the green flag flew starting the race, I held position into the first corner before losing some momentum heading onto the long back straight.  Engulfed by traffic, I spent the rest of the lap running two-wide through most of the corners fighting for position.  Heading back onto the start-finish straight at the end of the first lap, two Mazda's had contact immediately in front of the #77 Compass Civic.  The #30 Mazda's suspension was damaged in the accident while the #25 Mazda spun into the end of the pit lane wall and out of the race.  Fortunately, I was able to avoid the carnage and recovered two positions to get back in the top ten.  After an extended caution period to clean up the track, the race settled down.  I worked my way forward from tenth to sixth and then pitted under the second full course caution.  Aaron took over the driving duties and returned to the track in 11th.  Over the next ten laps, the #77 Compass Civic paced the leaders and moved into eighth.  Unfortunately, on lap 36, contact with the #08 Porsche in the high speed Esses spun the Compass car into the guardrail.  Aaron was able to bring the car back to the pits for repairs and fought back to 22nd at the finish, only one lap down to the leaders. 

"While the result for the #77 Civic was disappointing, the Compass 360 team still had a lot to celebrate.  The #75 Compass Civic driven by Ryan Eversley and Kyle Gimple survived a late race rain storm on slick tires to finish second and extended their lead in the championship.  I certainly would have liked a solid top five finish to cap off my return to competition, but I am very satisfied with my driving and am looking forward to the next race at Indianapolis in July.

"You can catch the broadcast of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race from Watkins Glen on Speed at 4:00 PM Eastern on 7/7/13.  72 hours after the original broadcast, the race will be available on Grand Am TV (without commercial interruptions) at"