Duno, Beretta and CITGO Team Narrowly Miss Top Ten Finish May 14, 2006, Los Angeles, CA -- The first pairing of Milka Duno with Corvette Racing's Olivier Beretta almost delivered CITGO Racing's third top ten finish of the season at last night's...
Duno, Beretta and CITGO Team Narrowly Miss Top Ten Finish
May 14, 2006, Los Angeles, CA -- The first pairing of Milka Duno with Corvette Racing's Olivier Beretta almost delivered CITGO Racing's third top ten finish of the season at last night's Gainsco Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway. The #11 CITGO Pontiac Riley took the checkered flag in the 11th position -- just narrowly missing a top ten finish.
The temperature at the start of the evening's race was 99F and combined with the track surface temperature of 108F (provided by Hoosier) set the tone for what was to be a very hot race indeed. The relatively short length of the circuit, combined with a 37-car field made up of two classes, literally guaranteed close and exciting race action.
Duno took first stint in the team's new Riley and started the race 12th on the grid and took the car as high as 11th before handing over the reins to new teammate Beretta on lap 36 - during the first caution of the race.
Beretta, straight from an evening race in Houston the night before and a win with Corvette Racing, was able to visit the top ten twice during the night. However, on the 2nd restart of the race Beretta was assessed a penalty for moving out of line to pass a car just before the start/finish line - this was a new rule imposed that morning by Grand American Officials and resulted in a "drive through" penalty when Beretta was running in 9th position. The Monaco native managed to work his way back towards the top ten but in the end the CITGO Racing team had to settle for a hard earned 11th.
"On a tight, short 'bullring' type of track like this the racing is very close and challenging. Everything is more magnified and a half-a-second lost here or a second gained there makes a huge difference. We're leaving here with what was essentially a top-ten effort and a new car that made it through a 'bullfight' with no damage. It was great to race with Olivier and he worked in so seamlessly with the crew in only one race. I'm looking forward to our races together. Many thanks to him and to the entire CITGO/SAMAX crew for yet another outstanding effort."
"I'm very happy to have my first ride with the CITGO/SAMAX racing team. Milka had a very good start and we didn't have contact with anybody. It's completely different from what I'm used to. I do Formula One testing, ALMS with Corvette, Le Mans, some LMP2 and LMP. It's quite different but it's quite fun. Everyone on the team is very motivated to do well and I hope I will help during my five races. I have to learn the car a little bit because it's all new for me -- new tires, new track, new car. That is a lot at one time, but for the first one, it's not too bad."