JUNQUEIRA RECORDS FASTEST GT RACE LAP AS THE JaguarRSR TEAM SHOWS GREAT PACE AT MOSPORT
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada (July 24, 2011) - JaguarRSR showed great pace today, actually record pace, in the Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport, round four of the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron.
Despite starting 15th on the grid and undeniably good driving by Ken Wilden in qualifying, it was demonstrated today during the race that the #99 JaguarRSR XKR GT did not deserve to be that far back in the GT field. By Lap 17 Bruno Junqueira had moved into the ninth spot and was running good consistent race laps comparable to the leaders. A yellow flag came out ten laps later and as Junqueira and the #99 crew prepared to take advantage and have a routine pit stop, however, a split oil line would change the game plan. The car was taken back to the truck for repair. Less than 30 minutes later, Junqueira returned to the track and was on a mission.
On his final laps of his race stint, he was pounding away record race lap times. The Brazilian recorded the fastest GT race lap posting a 1:18.102. Almost two hours into the race, Junqueira came into the pits to pass on the fast cat to hometown hero Wilden, who drove the remainder of the two hour and forty-five minute race to take the checkered flag and salvage a 15th place GT finish.
"The car was real good today," said Junqueira after his run. "I really enjoyed driving here at Mosport, this was a great event. It was a such a shame about the oil leak because our race pace was really good and we would have finished sixth or so. I am happy that the car is getting better and better and I look forward to our next race. Our Dunlop tires were fantastic today, consistent and fast for the entire stint, obviously good enough to help us achieve the fastest race lap."
"I was happy with my run," added Wilden. "Once we had the issue fixed, the #99 XKR ran flawlessly. I was happy to finish the race here for Jaguar at my home track. The car was really capable of finishing top six, so that is disappointing to finish where we did but that is how it goes sometimes. I do have to say that the JaguarRSR crew is unbelievable - they just pounded on this car all weekend and that is a testament to this team."
After a solid qualifying effort by Rocky Moran Jr. in the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT, which gave the team a top-ten starting position (10th in GT class), PJ Jones took the green flag.
Jones was running ninth when he made his first stop for fuel and tires just about an hour into the race. He ran a second stint and with just under an hour left, Moran took over. "My run was pretty uneventful," said Jones. "The car was doing well and we were running consistent race laps that were in good pace."
After the green-flag stop, Moran got the #98 car up to tenth overall and was putting up a good fight trying to get back the ninth spot. Moran commented, "PJ handed the car off to me in really good shape. I had one really exciting moment at the end of the straightaway going into Turn Eight. I was able to keep it off the wall and get the car back into the pits where the #98 crew quickly put on some new tires. The car actually felt a lot better after that and I was able to bring it home for the finish."
What should have been a top-ten finish for the American duo was just shy due to a punctured tire which dropped the #98 car down to 11th overall in the GT field.
"We knew that we would be good at this race track," Paul Gentilozzi, JaguarRSR Principal Partner said. "We worked through the first technical bugs and obviously we had a very fast car in the race - the fastest GT car in lap time. But more importantly, early in the race Bruno was passing guys, catching the field and when we look at the fifth and sixth place cars, he was catching them throughout the race. So we were really glad to show that. It was a failed oil line that caused the problems, the guys took it back to the truck, fixed it and got it back out - we don't quit. In the case of Rocky, again we had a fast car and bad luck late in the race cost us a top ten position."
Next up for the team is the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington,Ohio, August 5-6.