The story of the Dyson No 20 is fast turning into a gear-head treatise on fuel rig bugaboos. A green-flag pit stop for fuel, tires and new driver -- Leitzinger out, Franchitti in -- turned into another agonizingly long process, running some minute...
The story of the Dyson No 20 is fast turning into a gear-head treatise on fuel rig bugaboos. A green-flag pit stop for fuel, tires and new driver -- Leitzinger out, Franchitti in -- turned into another agonizingly long process, running some minute and 47 seconds. Fuel feed again, and it's obviously not the dead man valve which was probably OK the last stop. Franchitti rejoins the fray and the crew attacks the fuel rig removing the hose for inspection.
Meanwhile, Leitzinger says, "The car's alright. We're having a little bit of an oversteer condition that we'll be able to make some adjustments on it if we get a yellow flag. For now, we're hold on a bit. It looks like everyone's struggling a little bit with track conditions, but we're just a little bit slow. The biggest thing is that we've got a problem with our fuel rig." A nice segue, and team owner Rob Dyson is in the middle of it -- hands-on Rob of the old Datsun 510 SCCA B-Sedan days.
After five minutes of dismantling, the culprit turns out to be a chemistry experiment gone bad inside the 1.5-inch black hose that delivers the fuel from the rig to the refueling nozzle. The interior of the hose has swollen half shut, seriously restricting the fuel flow.
Half an hour after the stop, the rig is back together and Franchitti is called back to the pits, not having taken on a full load previously. A 31 second stop confirms that the fuel rig once again is fully functional.
A quick check with the team fuel guy confirms that the fuel hose for the 20-car rig was new at the beginning of testing in 2008. The 16-car's hose was new for Sebring. Apparently nothing has changed in the fuel or delivery system since 2007 when the team ran the same hose all season with no problems. Interestingly other teams had constant hose deterioration problems last season.
Nonetheless, Dyson stalked off with the faulty hose to get a replacement for the 16 rig.
All this drama dropped the 20 Car down a lap to the class leading Andretti-Green Acura, although Franchitti remains 4th in LMP2 behind the Acrua, his No. 16 teammate in the hands of Guy Smith and Dumas in the No. 7 Penske Porsche.