Mexico City: Citgo/SAMAX preview

The international strength of Milka Duno and Marino Franchitti will pace the CITGO Racing by SAMAX entry in the 2006 Rolex Sports Car Series, continuing their partnership in the next series race, set for March 4 in Mexico City. Duno, of Caracas,...

The international strength of Milka Duno and Marino Franchitti will pace the CITGO Racing by SAMAX entry in the 2006 Rolex Sports Car Series, continuing their partnership in the next series race, set for March 4 in Mexico City. Duno, of Caracas, Venezuela, and Franchitti, of Bathgate, Scotland, have driven together in two Rolex 24 At Daytona races. They are looking forward to a full season as co-drivers of the No. 11 Pontiac-powered Riley Mk XI.

Duno raced on the 2.5-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course in Mexico City last year. She was impressed with both the circuit and the enthusiastic, knowledgeable race fans who attended the inaugural series event.

"I'm very happy that this has all come together so well with Marino, CITGO, SAMAX, Pontiac and Riley. We had a great result at Daytona and I'm really looking forward to racing with this car combination for the 2006 season," she said. "I raced for the first time last year at Mexico City and I can't tell you how generous and supportive the Mexican fans are. They made us feel very welcome and I'm really looking forward to seeing them and racing for them again."

Franchitti is a rookie on the Mexican track, but he's a quick learner. The first time he raced a prototype, in 2002, he started from his record Rolex Series SRPII pole position, set the fastest class race lap and went on to victory.

"To be with Milka for the whole season is amazing; she's a really good teammate," he said. "From the moment we drove together at Daytona last year, there was a really good working relationship there and that's continued this year. It's going to be cool to build on that.

"We both like the same thing from the car. Milka's feedback is really precise and very good, so we're making progress all the time. Whether I'm in the car or she's in the car, we're moving forward, so we're maximizing what we get out of the track time."

SAMAX Motorsport owner Peter Baron anticipates a smooth run, after opening the season with an eighth-place finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.

"We had a tremendous experience working with the entire CITGO group at the Daytona race and we're thrilled to continue forward with them," he said. "It's refreshing to see a company so enthusiastic about their motorsport program. We're motivated to be working for such a great group, with a talented driver duo to go after the best result possible."

-samax

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Milka Duno , Peter Baron , Marino Franchitti