Phoenix: Scuderia Ferrari race notes

Washington Ferrari takes thrilling win. PHOENIX, AZ., MAY 4. The Scuderia Ferrari of Washington/Girard-Perregaux Ferrari 360 GT took its second consecutive GT win last night in the AJ's Fine Foods 250 at Phoenix International Raceway, and ...

Washington Ferrari takes thrilling win.

PHOENIX, AZ., MAY 4. The Scuderia Ferrari of Washington/Girard-Perregaux Ferrari 360 GT took its second consecutive GT win last night in the AJ's Fine Foods 250 at Phoenix International Raceway, and the finish was one of the most exciting ever in GrandAm racing.

Drivers Cort Wagner and Brent Martini had led the GT class almost from the start when only 16 laps from the finish another racer hit Martini and knocked him off the track. The incident did only minor damage to the Ferrari, but allowed the second-place BMW past for the class lead. Martini quickly caught up to the BMW, and then for lap after lap the two cars battled, frequently side by side, as Martini tried to regain the lead. Martini was slightly behind the BMW as the two cars began the last lap, but with only a couple of corners left in the race he forced his way inside the BMW, pulling away for a full car length lead at the checkered flag.

"I was worried about holding Mike (Fitzgerald in the BMW) off and then Riggins bumped me and spun me out and Mike got by," an excited Martini explained after the race. "When I caught up to Mike he was losing his tires, but the BMW has a little more power than the Ferrari so it was just a matter of where I could get around him. I tried a bunch of places. I thought maybe one last time I could get under him on the banking a little bit better. If I could get side by side with him going into the banking I might have a chance. And that's how it played out."

The Ferrari had run second overall behind one of the new Daytona Prototypes for most of the race, and Martini's last second pass returned the team to that position, their second consecutive second overall finish in GrandAm competition.

"I think we could have challenged for the overall win before Riggins hit us," explained Wagner, "but our first concern was the GT class win. That's where we get our points, and we really want to repeat our championships this year. I don't have any fingernails left after watching Brent those last few laps. He stayed cool and didn't make any mistakes. I think that was his best drive ever!"

"After three rovals we're looking forward to our next race at the new Barber course," added Team Manager Glenn Marquis. "It's a natural road course, and I think the Ferrari's handling and brakes will make us strong contenders. Brent and Cort have proved they can race with anybody out there."

Additional sponsorship for the Scuderia Ferrari of Washington/Girard-Perregaux 360 GT comes from The Peris Companies and Putnam Leasing.

Further information on the Scuderia Ferrari of Washington is available at www.360GT.com on the internet.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Brent Martini , Cort Wagner