Late hit in the pits as Segal was set to Challenge for the race lead prevents a podium after a competitive race in the No. 61 R.Ferri/AIM Motorsport Racing with Ferrari 458 Italia.
LEXINGTON, Ohio – Taking a hard hit and recovering to go the distance like the two-time GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Champion that he is, Jeff Segal rebounded for an eighth-place finish Saturday in the No. 61 R.Ferri/AIM Motorsport Racing with Ferrari 458 Italia at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after being hit in the pits by a rival competitor in the late stages of the Diamond Cellar Classic.Ferrari ran in the top three for the entirety of the race’s first two hours.
Segal pitted for the final time from third with 45 minutes to go and one of the best stops of the year by the R.Ferri/AIM crew quickly got the No. 61 back on track.
Segal raced out of the pits at the same time the race-leading No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro of Robin Liddell was leaving its pit stall.
“Unfortunately, they released the No. 57 kind of right into the side of us,” Segal said. “We were side-by-side, the pits are narrow there, but the rules are the rules and the high-speed lane has the priority. We both lost a ton of time but I appreciate them being pretty gracious and later admitting their fault. It doesn’t bring back the result that we desperately wanted and needed but it shows a lot of character for them.”
Segal limped around the track and made it back to the pits where the R.Ferri/AIM crew replaced both left side tires. He rejoined the race well outside of the top 10 but charged to eighth at the finish.
Quick and fast-thinking work by the R.Ferri/AIM crew kept Segal and the No. 61 in the hunt for the lead for the majority of the race and just in the race at all after the pit incident.
“The crew has done a great job, not only setting up the car, but also making huge strides in terms of the pit work,” Segal said. “We have a lot of new guys on this squad but they have been working really hard. The first pit stop was great, we held our own, and on the second pit stop we beat the 57 car out of the pits, and those guys are some of the best in the business in GT.
I think that speaks volumes about what our guys are doing. We just have to keep doing that, putting ourselves in the right position with a fast car and fast stops and we will start winning races.”
Mid-Ohio marked the end of the first half of 2013’s 12-race GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season. The first six races produced just one podium finish for Segal two weeks ago at Detroit and mostly competitive but disappointing showings.
Segal, the two-time and reigning GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT Champion, hasn’t ruled out another title but race wins may be more important at the moment.
“I don’t want to lose sight of the championship,” Segal said. “It’s a pretty important prize, so you always think about it, but we are not here for the championship right now. Where we are is in winning races and that was reflected in the way we drove today and in the way we setup the car.
We are going all or nothing and we were so, so close today and through no fault of our own we were taken out. It is only a matter of time before we start winning not just one but several of these races. I am looking forward to a really strong second half of the year.”
Next up for Jeff Segal, R.Ferri/AIM Motorsport Racing with Ferrari and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, June 28 – 30. The six-hour endurance race can be seen live on SPEED at 11 a.m. EDT/8 a.m. PDT on Sunday, June 30.
AIM Motorsport Racing