Phoenix International Raceway race, April 20, 2002 Five for five. Rand Racing collected its fifth straight SRPII class win in the Rolex Sports Car Series, this time in the new No. 7 Nissan Lola driven by Marino Franchitti and Niclas JÃ¶nsson.
Phoenix International Raceway race, April 20, 2002
Five for five.
Rand Racing collected its fifth straight SRPII class win in the Rolex Sports Car Series, this time in the new No. 7 Nissan Lola driven by Marino Franchitti and Niclas Jönsson. Their sister car, the No. 8 Rand Lola, has four victories in five starts.
Franchitti started the No. 7 car from the SRPII class pole position for Saturday's race on the 1.51-mile Phoenix International Raceway road course. His teammate, Terry Borcheller, started second in class in the No. 8 car. Borcheller took the class lead from Franchitti on the first lap, but was forced to retire with an engine failure after seven minutes of the two-hour 12-minute race, returning the lead to Franchitti. Niclas Jönsson took the wheel after 1h25 and held the class lead to the checkered flag, finishing fourth overall. Ralf Kelleners, Borcheller's co-driver, and Bill Rand, co-driver with Jönsson and Franchitti, did not drive.
Marino Franchitti "We got pole position, fastest lap and won the race, how could it be any better? Rand/Risi Racing did a great job, it was a great team effort. I think Nic and I gained a lot of useful experience between the two of us. It was a different experience for me - I've never been in a car where you run close and the air starts to go from under the car. But I had a lot of fun - I'd do it again tomorrow, if I could."
Niclas Jönsson "It's wonderful to be able to win the first race out with Rand/Risi Racing. The crew have done such a great job all week and have been so supportive; they're an outstanding crew. And Marino did a great job for his first time in a prototype. I think it's going to be a great season. It's also fun to win my first race since I came to the United States (in 1995); hopefully there will be many to come."
Bill Rand "It was a bittersweet moment for me. The guys did a great job preparing both cars, but it's one of those things that happens in racing - you lose an engine or lose a gearbox. But I can't be happier for Marino and Nic."
Terry Borcheller "The car was really good and I was excited to be able to race with Marino. It was fun just having a car to race with! It was going to be a fun race, but the engine went from perfect to smoke. No misfires, no over-revs, just perfect to nothing."
Ralf Kelleners "Whenever we come to the track, the car is prepared perfectly and we just try to make it fit the track. Every race we've gone to, we achieved a very good setup and a very good race strategy and we had the same strategy here. We were going to have a good fight with the other car, but what happens, happens. It's racing, things like that happen."