Bobbi and Gollin Head to Fontana with Doran Racing's Crown Royal Special Reserve DORAN JE4 Lexus ...
Bobbi and Gollin Head to Fontana with Doran Racing's Crown Royal Special Reserve DORAN JE4 Lexus #77
LEBANON, Ohio, March 24 - Matteo Bobbi and Fabrizio Gollin are not only fast drivers, they're fast learners.
Although neither has seen California Speedway's 2.8-mile road course yet, the two young Italians are looking forward to competing at the Fontana, Calif. facility April 1-3 for the Grand American 400 Rolex series race.
Gollin will try to duplicate Bobbi's second-place qualifying run at the last event, held at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway March 4-5, or even do him one better and get the pole. They both ran extremely fast laps at Homestead and both want a podium finish at the Fontana race, which will be televised live on SPEED at 4 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, April 3.
"After the Homestead race, we need some solid points," said Bobbi. "Our speed performance in Miami was really good, but our final result wasn't as good. We had some bad luck and we made some mistakes. Our first goal at Fontana will be to have a clean race, with no mistakes."
Bobbi said that both he and Gollin, who turns 30 on Monday, are feeling more acclimated with their car, Doran Racing's Crown Royal Special Reserve DORAN JE4 Lexus No. 77, as well as racing in America.
"Now we have some miles with the car, and we know a lot more about racing in the United States," he said. "The level of competition in the Grand American Rolex series is very high, and it's very important to finish every race. I'm confident because we have Kevin Doran setting up the car, as well as the support of Lexus and TRD [Toyota Racing Development]."
"I don't know what to expect, except for what people have told me about the track," agreed Gollin, who also drove a Ferrari 550 Maranello in last Saturday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in Florida. "I'm looking forward to getting to California to see it for myself."
Fontana has traditionally been a strong track for Doran Racing. With Didier Theys and Fredy Lienhard Jr. driving the Doran-Lista Dallara Judd, the team sat on the pole and won there in 2002, giving it three poles and three victories in a row. The team didn't compete at Fontana in 2003, but Theys and Jan Magnussen finished fifth there last year in the Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 Lexus.
Bobbi and Gollin, along with Theys, were also fifth at this year's Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. The trio ran in the top three for almost the entire last third of that event.
There is a track test day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 31 before the first combined official Rolex series practice session begins at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, April 1. The Daytona Prototypes will also be on the track to practice at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. that day. On Saturday, April 2 there is practice at 9:20 a.m. before qualifying is held at 2:10 p.m. On race day, Sunday, April 3, there is a warm-up at 9:15 a.m. before the 400-kilometer, 89-lap, two-hour-and-45-minute race begins at 1 p.m. All times are local.
After the race at Fontana the series will visit another California track, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, on April 29-May 1.
For more information, please see www.doranracing.com and www.crownroyal.com. Bobbi's Web site is at www.matteobobbi.com and Gollin's is at www.fabriziogollin.com.
Other interesting information can be found at www.grandamerican.com, www.californiaspeedway.com, www.speedtv.com and www.restartcommunications.com.