Sebring: Taurus Sports qualifying report

March 19, 2004 - After trouble-shooting a number of mainly transmission and handling related problems on Wednesday and Thursday that ultimately affected their position on the starting grid, the CITGO Racing/Taurus Sports team are now happy with...

March 19, 2004 - After trouble-shooting a number of mainly transmission and handling related problems on Wednesday and Thursday that ultimately affected their position on the starting grid, the CITGO Racing/Taurus Sports team are now happy with the CITGO-branded #15 Lola B2K10 after a very positive final practice session Friday morning.

The CITGO Lola will start from 15th place on the grid after Justin qualified it on Thursday severely hampered with the gearbox stuck in 5th gear. But the team is confident it will quickly move up the leader board with Justin at the wheel. The Sheffield driver, the former FIA F3000 Champion, has a great reputation for over-taking.

In the Friday morning session, after the team had worked successfully to repair the gearbox, former Jaguar F1 driver Justin Wilson lapped in 1min 53.124s -- fourth fastest time - bested by only the three Audis. Wilson recorded the time on new tires on what was only a three lap run. Phil Andrews and Milka Duno also took turns behind the wheel for this final practice session leading to the big race on Saturday.

Team Director Ian Dawson explained, "We haven't run this chassis before and it's taken a while to sort it out so it's comparable with the car we raced in the FIA Sportscar series last year. In the process we were hampered by a gearbox problem in qualifying, followed by a broken transmission flange in night practice. Now however we are happy we are back on target."

Said Wilson of his quick lap, "I got a clean lap without too much traffic and was able to show what the car can do. I am looking forward to the race. Two years ago I had a great time here and really enjoyed the driving."

Milka Duno added, "I would have liked to have driven some more laps, but now I know that the car is well set-up and I really felt the car handled very well in the final session. Sebring is definitely one of the world's toughest races and I feel that we are well-prepared."

-hc-

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