Road America: Marino Franchitti race report

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Sunday, 16th August, 2009. ALMS Round 7: Road America After such a strong race last weekend in Mid Ohio, having only been beaten to the win by an Acura strategic play, it was to be expected that the ...

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Sunday, 16th August, 2009.
ALMS Round 7: Road America

After such a strong race last weekend in Mid Ohio, having only been beaten to the win by an Acura strategic play, it was to be expected that the #20 LMP2 Dyson Racing Mazda, was going to pull out all the stops here at the Road America circuit this weekend.

It was Marino who was to qualify the #20 Mazda coupe here on the very fast sweeping turns and undulating track that makes up the 4.048 mile 14-turn road course that is Road America,

and how quickly he set about doing just that. On lap 2, his first flying lap out of the pits, Marino set a time that was to be the benchmark for all the other competing LMP2 cars to beat. A 1:51.010 was good enough to top the LMP2 timings with the Lowes Acura was just two- tenths further back taking second in class, and the #16 sister Dyson Mazda of Guy Smith and Chris Dyson taking third in class eight-tenths behind Marino.

Marino was elated with his pole, "I actually expected to go faster, but I had a lot of understeer. I'm just delighted for the whole Dyson Mazda team, it's very satisfying when you are going up against your competitors and you just have the raw speed to go flat out."

"We have been close to Acura all year, but now we have the #6 Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder which is great, I'm just disappointed it's only 2hrs 45mins and not a 4 hour race as we've enjoyed in the past, but hopefully we'll get lots of green running." "I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my teammate, Butch Leitzinger, who made some great calls on set-up this weekend; it's as much Butch's pole as it is mine."

The race got underway below a mostly cloudy sky with air temperature at 82 degs and track temperature at 86 degs. Despite the understeer degrading his front left tyre, Marino held station at the head of the LMP2 field until 41 minutes into the race when he was overtaken in Turn 1 by Guy Smith in the #16 sister car. Just after the one hour mark Marino pitted handing the car over to Butch Leitzinger. It was a clean stop and Butch was soon back out on track filled with fuel and having taken on 4 new Michelin tyres. The race was under yellow when Butch made his only stop on lap 58 for fuel and new tyres hoping to catch the Lowes Acura now immediately ahead of him, the #16 sister car unfortunately having been retired with electrical problems. But try as hard as he did, and not assisted by 2 further yellows cautions, Butch took the chequered flag 2nd in LMP2 class just 6.7 seconds behind the Lowes Acura.

"It would have been nice to be able to convert our pole from yesterday into a win today, but it wasn't to be" said Marino post race. "The 16 car had a rough day and I'm really sorry for those guys. We certainly gave it a good try and I have to thank the whole team for a great strategy well executed. Butch gave it his all out there at the end, but we just didn't have the speed the Acura had today so we have to be happy with second. We have some hard work ahead of us to get back on terms with them in Mosport, but it's a challenge the BP Dyson Mazda team is more than up to and I can't wait to get back to my favorite track in two weeks time.

Round 8 is Sunday, 30th August, 2009, at the Mosport International Raceway in Canada.

-credit: marinofranchitti.com

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Guy Smith , Butch Leitzinger , Marino Franchitti , Chris Dyson
Teams Dyson Racing