GRAND-AM Road Racing 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona
January 30, 2011
THIRD-PLACE TEAM ACTION EXPRESS RACING
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: We are ready with our third-place team overall in the Rolex 24. This team won the event last year, this entry, No. 9 Action Express racing Porsche Reilly, Daytona prototype. Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller, Christian Fittipaldi, JC France, Max Papis. Go right to questions for our third-place team in the Rolex 24.
Q: Could you see which GT car got wedged in there in second place on that restart?
JOAO BARBOSA: I just know it was a red Ferrari, I don't know exactly.
JC FRANCE: But the problem really was the DP car. The DP car behind him should win. And all the other DPs should have followed. But the ones behind the first DP car in line behind the GT car can't go until that car goes. So the real problem was the DP car directly behind the GT car.
Q: On Friday, I talked to Max Papis and he mentioned that the car, the 9 was mainly set up for overall pace. Joao, was this consistent overall pace actually your downfall in the race because you might not have had the out right speed you needed to actually deal with Dixon and Pruett?
JOAO BARBOSA: I mean, we did good to be as fast as we could and we just didn't have the speed this weekend. We struggled a little bit with the setup, but you know, the team did an amazing job of transforming the car for the race which was finally better, but we knew we were not going to be the fastest car out there.
But we were very consistent, and all of the drivers, they just did a perfect job and nobody put the wheel wrong. And we were on the top positions all the time, so that made it easier in the end to just try and go for it. But Ganassi, they had the edge on us this year.
JC FRANCE: We didn't set up for pace on purpose.
Q: Max, as you get ready to start a full-time run in NASCAR this year, I know that this is a big race for you but can you carry any motivation into that season with a podium finish here, even though I know you would like to have a bit better?
MAX PAPIS: Third place like we did today is equal to a win. We really did an amazing job. All of these guys deserve a Pat on the back and everyone in Action Express, you guys need to see what we have done. Talking about this race first -- only a few guys realize what happened today. A 24-hour race went down to a green-and-white checkered, by the way, and this never happens. Like open the season with a race after 24 Hours that you actually -- you don't know the winner until the last lap?
I mean, that to me it was amazing. It was something that in my 17 Daytona 24-hours, I've never seen and I never would imagine when I came here in 1996. And that speaks tons of the series and speaks tons of the quality of the cars and the teams, because that's -- it takes a lot to be able to do that.
And for sure, you know, being able to open the season like this, it's an extra encouragement for me. I feel that it's going to be my first-ever time in NASCAR for a full season, and I feel ready to be able to go and win races in the Truck Series, but right now I'm enjoying a lot what we did today.
It's an amazing feeling coming to this racetrack and opening the season like that. I don't want to talk for the other guys, but to me it was one of the best races I've ever been a part of.
Q: Did you see there was a possibility you were going to repair the rear end of the car with the body work, can you explain if it would have made the car a little faster towards the end?
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI: Yeah, if we had done that, we would have won the race for sure. No, it's just a matter that you have to try everything out there. And there was some damage to the rear. We don't know when we got that damage; if it was during the night. And we thought about repairing it, but at the same time, we were afraid of losing too much time.
So in the end we opted not to do it and we went the way we went and we managed to still finish third. But nevertheless, I don't think if we had repaired it anything would have changed. We were very consistent but we definitely lacked a little bit of speed and if we had that speed, then we could have given the 02, the 01 a run for its money.
But unfortunately, it wasn't this way. Congratulations to them.
THE MODERATOR: Last year's first place team and this year's third place team, great effort again. Thank you very much.