Phoenix Giaffone press release

FELIPE AND ZECA GIAFFONE COMPETE IN THE SLICK 50- 200 PLAYER'S LTD./TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP RACE AT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY Zeca (21) and Felipe (20) Giaffone of Sao Paulo, Brazil finished 12th and 9th respectively in the Players ...

FELIPE AND ZECA GIAFFONE COMPETE IN THE SLICK 50- 200 PLAYER'S LTD./TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP RACE AT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

Zeca (21) and Felipe (20) Giaffone of Sao Paulo, Brazil finished 12th and 9th respectively in the Players Ltd./Toyota Atlantic Championship race, part of the Slick 50- 200 weekend at Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona. The race marked the first appearance of the brothers on an American style oval.

In the Friday morning practice session Felipe, in car #15, was the fastest of the two brothers with a lap of 25.763 seconds (139.73 m.p.h.). His fastest speed putting him at 15th quickest. Zeca, in car #14, was right behind him in the 16th spot with a lap of 25.767 seconds (139.71 m.p.h.).

The team made some changes for that afternoon's, single car, qualifying session. And although the Brazilians were unable to improve their times, they were able to improve their positions. Felipe qualified 14th, with a lap of 25.942 seconds (138.77 m.p.h.), and Zeca placed 17th with a 26.508 second lap (135.80 m.p.h.)

For Saturdays' warm-up session Phillips Motorsports tried 2 different setups in order to find a direction to take the cars for the race. Felipe's setup proved to be the better of the 2 and was applied to Zeca's car prior to the start of the race.

During the race both cars suffered from persistent understeer in turns 1 and 2, and had too much downforce costing them valuable straight line speed. Through attrition, and some cautious driving, the Giaffones were able to move up the field. Felipe finished 9th, his second top ten finish in 2 races, and Zeca ended up in the 12th spot. After 2 rounds of the Players Ltd./Toyota Atlantic Championship, Felipe is in 5th place with 16 points, and Zeca is in 12th with 9 points. Felipe's comments on the race were, "I like the ovals. But I need to test on more of them, because I don't know them. The team had made more changes to the car. They put in more wing for down force in the corners. But it cost me my straight line speed. I did well in the corners, but got passed in the straights. In Thursday's open practice session we blew an engine. I lost most of the day and got in only 20 laps. That is nothing on an oval when the entire race is only 50 laps. If I hadn't lost that day of practice I would have been further up front. I felt good about the race. The car was much more comfortable after all the changes. I am beginning to feel the car. But I need to test a lot more. I look forward to Long Beach."

Zeca's comments were, "This was not too bad a race for the first oval. We had less understeer than we had in practice and the cars were more comfortable. My brother and I had different setups in this morning's warm-up. The team made the cars the same for the race and we both had understeer and too much down force. We were slow down the straights. The cars were good in turns 3 and 4 [the widest turns] but it was a problem in 1 and 2. We only tested on one oval, at Mesa Marin in California, but it is a 1/2 mile track and is nothing like Phoenix. I wish we could test here in preparation for Nazareth [Pennsylvania], but I don't know if we will be able to. I am looking forward to testing at Las Vegas in preparation for Long Beach."

The brothers went to the Castles and Castles amusement park, in Phoenix, after the race to ride roller coasters. Probably they felt that they did not get enough high G-force, right turns this weekend.

After the Miami crash, the team had problems taking delivery on spare parts to repair Felipe's car. Many of the items they needed were held up in customs and had to be reordered. U.S. Customs thought the parts were for a passenger car, and therefore subject to Environmental Protection Agency standards. The result of the customs problem was that the gears used during the race were not the proper ones for the track, they were too short and therefore there was a loss of top end going down the straights.

The brothers tested Tuesday in Las Vegas to prepare for the Players Ltd./Toyota Atlantic Championship race, part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in California on April 7, 8 and 9.

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Series Atlantic