MARCELLI SHOWS COMPETITIVE PACE IN LONG BEACH (Long Beach, California) April 20th 2010 Canadian racing car driver Kyle Marcelli showed very competitive pace during round two of the American Le Mans Series in sunny Long Beach, California this...
MARCELLI SHOWS COMPETITIVE PACE IN LONG BEACH
(Long Beach, California) April 20th 2010 Canadian racing car driver Kyle Marcelli showed very competitive pace during round two of the American Le Mans Series in sunny Long Beach, California this past weekend. Unfortunately, Kyle's pace was overlooked as he was forced to race from behind during his 40 minute stint behind the wheel of the #11 LMPC on the street circut of downtown Long Beach.
"One week felt like a month!" Said Kyle Marcelli. With a flight out of Buffalo booked for Tuesday morning, Kyle drove to the Buffalo/Niagara border but was refused as they requested he have a P1 Visa (Professional Athlete Visa). Kyle then spent the next day and a half living out of a hotel room in Niagara Falls on the phones with multiple immigration attorneys trying to sort this issue out. Finally, it was Thursday morning when he was permitted into the USA for the weekend. Kyle booked a flight out of Toronto which landed him into LA 11:00pm PST.
Following a successful morning practice, Primetime Race Group appointed Kyle Marcelli for the position to qualify the car in preparation for the 100 minute sprint race. This weekend marked Kyle's first time around the 1.9 mile street circuit. With limited practice early Friday morning Kyle felt confident in a front row starting position. As the green waved to start the LMP qualification session, drivers had 20 minutes to put in their best lap. It was about the halfway point when the session was red flagged. Kyle was P2, however it was then that Kyle also suffered a punctured left rear tire forcing him to retire from the session. As qualifying resumed and drivers were back up to speed, all Kyle and team could do was watch and hope for the best. The checkered flag later waved bringing the session to a close, Kyle ended P4 - 1.149 seconds off the pole position.
"It was a real shame we only got to run half of the qualifying session as we had a good car and a front row starting spot was definitely in our cards." Said Marcelli.
With a race strategy to put team-mate for the weekend Gerardo Bonilla in the car for the first 30 minutes, in hopes for an early caution where the team would pit-stop for tires, fuel and driver change placing Marcelli behind the wheel for the last 70 minutes. Unfortunately, it wasn't until the 55 minute mark that a caution came out for debris on the race track. The team currently sat P3 and was looking very competitive for a race win. Regrettably, as Bonilla was to pit, he made an error in turn one, driving the car off course and into the tire wall causing the #11 entry to fall two laps down. Nonetheless, it was a never give up attitude as Kyle was belted into the car. Having no visibility as the mirrors were broken off and little front down force as the front right corner was damaged Kyle still managed to be the second quickest LMPC on track during his stint, setting a best race lap time only 0.642 seconds off the best lap in the race set by Christophe Bouchout. Marcelli crossed the stripe taking the checkered in P5.
"I had a job to do and I couldn't loose focus on it." Said Marcelli. "It was a bit scary having no mirrors, I relied solely on the jumbotrons and communication to the pits to tell me if I had quicker LMP cars coming up.5th place was very disappointing for me as I know we had competitive pace and would have been in good contention for the win. Nonetheless we scored championship points and will just have to be focused to win the next round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca." Stated Kyle Marcelli. The next round on the American Le Mans Series calendar is in beautiful Monterey, California at the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca road course.