Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Turns Frustrating First Laps In Mexico City MEXICO CITY (March 1, 2007) -- Despite a frustrating first day of practice, the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team still managed to turn a respectable fast ...
Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Turns Frustrating First Laps In Mexico City
MEXICO CITY (March 1, 2007) -- Despite a frustrating first day of practice, the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team still managed to turn a respectable fast practice time with a 1:23.920 (107.245 mph) in preparation for this weekend's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Mexico City 400 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
The team's frustrations began early in the first practice session when German Jorg Bergmeister had to bring the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype to pit lane to repair an oil leak, which took nearly half an hour to repair. To that point in the session, Bergmeister had briefly topped the speed charts with a 1:24.357 (106.689 mph). Once the repairs were made, Patrick Long got in the car to turn his first laps at the eight-turn, 2.5-mile circuit. Long turned five laps before the session was black flagged to remove debris in Turn Three.
Two laps into the second practice session the frustrations continued. The No. 23 Porsche Crawford experienced an electrical problem that sent the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team to garage to further diagnose the problem. Initially, the team thought the car was done for the day, but found that the starter needed to be fixed. The team fixed the problem and quickly sent the Alex Job Racing prepared machine back onto the circuit.
With Long behind the wheel and still looking to turn more than a couple of successive laps, he was able to turn a fast lap of 1:23.920 (107.245 mph), which was then good enough for sixth quick in the session. Shortly after Long set his quick time, he came to the pits for a driver change and Bergmeister got into the car for his practice stint.
"Those were my first few flying laps in succession," Long said, relieved to get some much needed track experience. "I like the track. I think it possesses that 'give and take need.' Those are my kind of tracks where it is a little bit technical, but at higher speeds. The challenge is going to be getting a car that handles all the way through the race. But, with the high speed transitions and the bumps, engineering is going to play a big part in this race.
"We are a little bit short on time this weekend and with the few problems we've had, it is not making our life easy."
Two laps later, Bergmeister experienced a snap oversteer condition that sent his machine into the Turn Eight wall. Bergmeister was uninjured, but the car sustained right front suspension damage.
"We have to look at the data, but I had been experiencing an understeer condition and then suddenly got a snap oversteer condition, spun 180 [degrees] and hit the wall with the right side of the car," Bergmeister said explaining the accident. "It felt really strange."
"Whatever is going on right now, we've got to break this string of bad luck," team owner Alex Job said. "It has been a difficult day. In the first session, we had to fix an oil tank leak, which cost us most of the session. We got that fixed. We did a gear change between the two practice sessions. Then, in the second session we immediately had a starter problem, which caused a charging issue. We took the car back to the garage and got that fixed. We sent the car back out and we were doing real well, then Jorg crashed the car. It has been a real frustrating day."
After finishing 12th in the Grand-Am Rolex Series season opener at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Bergmeister and Long both sit in 12th position with 19 points in the Daytona Prototype driver point standings.
The No. 23 Porsche Crawford will take to the track for Daytona Prototype qualifying at 11:40 a.m. (CST) Friday, March 2.