Contact between the No. 4 8Star Motorsports Corvette DP driven by Sebastien Bourdais and the No. 99 Corvette DP on lap 62 of the SFP Grand Prix also gathered up the No. 3 8Star Corvette DP of Stephane Sarrazin and ended what was looking to be a strong night for both teams at Kansas Speedway.

Both cars were damaged and, while the No. 3 was able to make repairs to the body work and rally for a ninth-place finish, the No. 4 retired after 92 of 123 laps and finished 13th in class with a suspected brake fluid leak in the right rear.

#3 8Star Motorsports Corvette DP: Enzo Potolicchio, Stéphane Sarrazin, Michael Valiante
#3 8Star Motorsports Corvette DP: Enzo Potolicchio, Stéphane Sarrazin, Michael Valiante

Photo by: Halston Pitman

Team owner Enzo Potolicchio and Emilio DiGuida qualified the 3 and 4 cars, respectively, and therefore started the inaugural Rolex Grand-Am Series Daytona Prototype race at Kansas Speedway on its 2.37-mile, six-turn roval. DiGuida kept a solid pace for the first 25 laps before turning the No. 4 over to Bourdais in the 11th position. Five laps later under a full course caution, Michael Valiante took over for Potolicchio in the No. 3 who had been running seventh. Bourdais got his lap back while still under caution.

The green flag waved on lap 35 with just under two hours remaining and Valiante moved to P5 two laps later and Bourdais P10. A second full course caution came on lap 52 and both cars dove down pit lane for service three laps later, with Sarrazin taking over for Valiante. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 58 and, two laps later, Bourdais was seventh and Sarrazin eighth. Just two laps later, Bourdais made contact with the No. 99 while racing for position and the spin that resulted collected Sarrazin and the 3 car. The 3 car suffered major bodywork damage to the rear fenders, spoiler and wing while the damage to the No. 4 was less severe.

Sarrazin took the No. 3 back to the garage where the 8Star crew did yeoman’s work to get their driver back on the track after losing just a couple of laps under caution. Bourdais restarted ninth and Sarrazin 12th on lap 67 with one hour, seven minutes remaining.

Bourdais was called to pit lane on lap 71 to serve a 60-second penalty for unavoidable contact and then served a second 60-second stop on pit lane on lap 77 for a second unavoidable contact penalty.

Sarrazin was able to move up to ninth by the time the checkered flag waved after 2.75 hours and 123 laps while Bourdais was forced to retire on lap 92 when fluid, possibly brake fluid, was discovered in the right rear of the No. 4 Corvette DP.

The No. 3 8Star Corvette DP remained sixth in the DP team point standings with 241 points. It’s now 24 points out of fifth place and 42 behind the point-leading team.

The 11th race of the 2013 Rolex Grand-Am Series Daytona Prototype season is Saturday, August 17 at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Green flag for the 2.75 hour race is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 and MRN Radio.

Stephane Sarrazin (No. 3 Corvette DP): “Our car was good. The team did a great job but, unfortunately, Sebastien crashed in front of me with the 99 car. What can I do? I had two cars perpendicular with me on the track and I crashed into them. I had no possibility to fly over them so what can I do? I drove back to the garage, the team did a great job repairing the car quickly and we went back out on the track. The car was very tough to drive, I will say, but the team did a great job to send me back on track. We finished ninth and scored some points.”

Michael Valiante (No. 3 Corvette DP): “I got up in the top-battle and I think I was running seventh when I handed the car over to Stephane. We were in a good position when, unfortunately, the 99 and the 4 got together and Stephane couldn’t avoid it. We all got collected and damaged the car. Still, we were lucky to come home in ninth place which wasn’t too bad considering how smashed up the car is.”

Enzo Potolicchio (team owner, No. 3 and No. 4 Corvette DPs): “If I want to find anything positive in the weekend, it’s the improvement in the car in low-downforce configuration. We rolled out of the trailer two seconds slower but every step we made, we gained and that’s what we have to do as a team. Racing is racing.

We had an incident with Car No. 4 trying to pass the 99 where the 3 car couldn’t avoid the accident and got collected and actually got the worst of it. It took both cars out of contention at a time when both cars were moving through the field pretty well. We caught the 99 pretty easily but maybe we could have been a little more patient to get around. The 3 car had good pace at the end of the race despite missing bumpers and spoilers so I think we definitely had a car capable of finishing in the top five.

Emilio DiGuida: “I feel very good about my stint. Before the race, I was told to run my stint safe with good time and don’t worry about staying on the same lap with the leader. And I made it. The race is a race. I’m more confident for the next race at Laguna Seca.”

Gary Neal (No. 3 team manager): “We’re still trying to find our balance on low-downforce tracks. I thought we got pretty close but then we had an incident in the race that damaged the body on the 3 car. Steph was still able to run decent lap times but just not enough to catch up on such a short track.”

Gary Colangelo (No. 4 team manager): “We knew what our strategy was going to be moving in. We knew what our situation was and played it perfectly. The yellow came out right at the right time to get our lap back. It helped the 3 car out quite a lot, which was good. When the yellow came out, I was pretty excited because I knew we were going to have two fast cars with two fast drivers both on the lead lap.

The 4 car made its way through the pack and then we got a penalty for making contact with the 99 that ultimately collected the 3 car which is a shame. We’ll have to go back and review. Obviously, Grand-Am thought it was a low percentage move but, without seeing more video, I can’t comment any further on it.”

8Star Motorsports