JaguarRSR press release
SOLID START FOR JaguarRSR AT ROAD AMERICA; JUNQUEIRA QUALIFIES EIGHTH
ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin (August 19, 2011) - It has been a great start for the JaguarRSR team at Road America, in preparation for tomorrow's Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase, Round six of the 2011 American Le Mans presented by Tequlia Patron season.
After a lot of hard work by Ken Wilden, co-driver of the #99 JaguarRSR XKR GT, and his crew this morning, Bruno Junqueira took over behind the wheel this afternoon. What was scheduled to be an hour-practice session this afternoon, turned short due to several red flags.
The team went out with the plan to only run two qualifying laps. The logic behind this decision was to save the Dunlop tires for the race. Just as the Brazilian passed by the timing and scoring stand, he let out a big cheer - knowing that was a fast lap. His second hot lap recorded a time of 2:06.812 and put him fifth on the GT charts. Sticking to the decision, they brought him in - that may have cost three spots on the grid, but the team is not concerned as they know they have a quick car and a good set of tires to get the job done in the race tomorrow.
"It was a great run," said Junqueira. "When I got out there the first lap was really good and the second lap was mega, then we called it a day. I was very happy with my performance; to get everything from the car and to save the tires for the race. We have made a lot of improvements in the car and with our Dunlops it feels really good out there. Eighth is our best place to qualify so far this season, but more important is that we were only 1.3 seconds from the pole. On a long track like Road America it shows progress and I think we can race competitively tomorrow."
During the afternoon practice, Rocky Moran, Jr. returned to the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT cockpit for some more laps after he and teammate PJ Jones shared time in the morning session on track. He was able to run most of the session and was two seconds faster on old tires from their best time posted in the a.m. Then a harness fire occurred, ending his run early. The crew worked diligently to get it fixed in time for qualifying, but unfortunately the damage was too severe and they had to put a whole new harness in. With only a 20 minute break between that practice and the GT qualifying, it just wasn't possible to get back out there.
"It is really unfortunate, I feel that we were definitely getting close to a great race car," said Moran. "The team did a great job making adjustments and improvements from what we learned this morning. The car was feeling good and was definitely capable of running even faster times than what we were able to post. But this is what happens in racing sometimes, the good thing is the car is coming along. We have Warm-Up to have a final check and I think we will have a solid car that can be competitive tomorrow in the race. It is a four hour race, so anything can happen and I have a good feeling we will overcome this and show a strong finish tomorrow."