Utah: Corsa Motorsport race report

INCIDENT-FILLED DAY LEAVES CORSA MOTORSPORTS NINTH AT MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK Home Not So Sweet for Salt Lake City-Based Team TOOELE, Utah (May 18, 2008) -- There was no home-field advantage for Salt Lake City-based Corsa Motorsports in ...

INCIDENT-FILLED DAY LEAVES CORSA MOTORSPORTS NINTH AT MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK
Home Not So Sweet for Salt Lake City-Based Team

TOOELE, Utah (May 18, 2008) -- There was no home-field advantage for Salt Lake City-based Corsa Motorsports in Sunday's American Le Mans Series Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels. After three on-track incidents and a major hold-up in the pits, the No. 48 Alabama Motorsports Park Ferrari F430GT finished ninth in its class after leaving the grid fifth. Gunnar Jeannette started the race with Johnny Mowlem taking the wheel about 90 minutes into the race.

Action started early for the Corsa Ferrari. Ten minutes into the race Jeannette was clipped by an LMP2. Ten minutes later, an accident involving prototypes left debris scattered on the track and Jeannette thought he may have ran over something. He then questioned the condition of the right-rear tire. While under caution thirty-five minutes in, Jeannette discussed his options with strategist Rob Taylor in deciding whether or not to pit. "I'd rather be safe than sorry," he radioed to the pits. "If something is wrong and we have to pit under green, it would kill us." After inspecting the Dunlops, it was discovered that there was a slow-leaking puncture that could have caused further damage had he not pitted.

A second incident occurred at minute 55. "I just got creamed," Jeannette exclaimed on the radio. The No. 73 Ferrari missed a braking point and drove into the right side of the Corsa Ferrari. Despite the cosmetic damage it didn't do much to hurt the handling of the car and remained stable after the incident.

Minutes later Jeanette relayed that his helmet blower had come off, making conditions inside the car quite unbearable on the 85 degree afternoon.

An hour and a half in, Jeannette pulled in for routine service and a driver change, but the stop took an unsuspected turn when the driver's side door would not open -- a result of the contact with the No. 73. Jeannette exited and Mowlem entered in the right side of the car. After getting buckled in and ready to go, IMSA ruled the door had to be operational before the car could leave the pits. The team lost three minutes in the pits while trying to pry off and replace the damaged door.

Mowlem rejoined the race in 12th position and consistently clicked off lap times ranking fourth-fastest in the GT2 class and continued to pick up positions. With only three minutes remaining in the event, Mowlem went off course while battling for seventh position. "I got a run on [the No. 28] when he lost air as the Audi was rounding him," Mowlem explained. "I managed to get by him, and gave him room heading into the apex. He went in hard with me and hit me in the rear. It put me in the gravel. If I could have gotten out of the pit, we could have finished the race, but I was in too deep."

"This isn't the homecoming we were looking for," said Team Owner and Principal Steve Pruitt. "I have to commend the team though. After the events of the day, ninth place doesn't look too bad. It was an interesting and eventful afternoon for us."

-credit: cm

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Series ALMS
Drivers Johnny Mowlem , Steve Pruitt