Diaz scores sixth at Trois-Rivieres TROIS-RIVIERES, Que., Canada (Aug 3, 2003) - Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, was smooth, fast, and skillful in finishing sixth place Sunday, Aug., 3, at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. Diaz, who also qualified...
Diaz scores sixth at Trois-Rivieres
TROIS-RIVIERES, Que., Canada (Aug 3, 2003) - Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, was smooth, fast, and skillful in finishing sixth place Sunday, Aug., 3, at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres.
Diaz, who also qualified sixth in the Telmex Swift 014a, had an opening lap stumble when Joey Hand slipped past him for sixth place. Diaz reclaimed sixth place on lap 18 of the 45-lap race when Aaron Justus lost control of his car and slid into a tire barrier in turn six of the 1.521-mile, 10-turn street circuit. However, the slippage to Hand unknowingly created a problem to Diaz's motor that affected him midway through the race.
Diaz became part of a four-car contingent that literally ran nose-to-tail between laps 2 and 29. Among those were Justus, Danica Patrick, Hand, and Diaz. Driving fourth in line significantly reduced the airflow to Diaz's motor. This caused his motor's water and oil temperatures to reach dangerous levels. Diaz was forced to back off a bit so his motor fluids could regain normal operating temperatures. The field had spread out enough by that time that he was unable to firmly challenge Patrick after Hand passed her on Lap 29. Despite this set back, Diaz consistently ran the fourth fastest laps of the race.
"All in all we had a good race," said Diaz. "This is a difficult track to pass and this race wasn't much different than past races in that regard. The also weren't many opportunities to advance because most of the drivers didn't make any mistakes. Today, I was in a group of four cars that ran really close. My engine didn't have clean air for a long time. That caused it to overheat so I had to back off a little to cool it down. All the cars from third through seventh were fast but nobody made a mistake until Aaron (Justus) hit a tire barrier. By that time my engine was running too hot for me to make a big move. Don't get me wrong. This was a good result. I had a good car and this was a much better race for me at Trois-Rivieres than last year. However, I am looking forward to racing on a more traditional road course like Mid-Ohio next week. The team is doing better and we have every reason to believe we'll be very competitive again at Mid-Ohio."
The 45-lap Atlantic sprint was completed in 45:14.076 at an average speed of 90.787 miles per hour. This broke the previous race record of 46:28.841 (88.353 mph) established by Hoover Orsi in 2001.
Race winner A.J. Allmendinger scored 23 points for the weekend and extended his Series lead to 34 points over second-place finisher Ryan Dalziel, 148-114. Diaz collected 10 points and remained in ninth place with 59 points. However, Diaz also moved to within striking range of the top-six and only trails sixth-place Hand by nine points, 68-59. Diaz is only 24 points behind fifth-place Justus who has 83 points.
Round nine of the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship will be next Sunday, Aug. 10, at the Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio at Lexington, Ohio's Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.