Phoenix: SAMAX Motorsport preview

Third Time Around Could Be the Charm for SAMAX Motorsport in Mexico City Wednesday, February 28, 2007 - Following up on last month's second-place finish at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, SAMAX Motorsport is ready for this weekend's challenging Mexico...

Third Time Around Could Be the Charm for SAMAX Motorsport in Mexico City

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 - Following up on last month's second-place finish at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, SAMAX Motorsport is ready for this weekend's challenging Mexico City 250 race, March 1st - 3rd, at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Round two of the 14-race 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series schedule will feature a combined record entry list of 38 Daytona Prototypes (DP) and GT class cars driving for 2.5 hours around the 2.788-mile (4.487-kilometer) road course on Saturday afternoon.

SAMAX Motorsport will field the No. 11 CITGO Racing Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype entry, featuring drivers Milka Duno and Patrick Carpentier, for their third Grand-Am visit to Mexico City. Miami, Florida resident Duno has run prototypes twice in Mexico, and it will be Carpentier's fourth visit there, but his first in a DP after running three times in Champ Car from 2002 to 2004. Carpentier has done well in Mexico City with fourth and six-place finishes in 2002 and 2004. He retired with mechanical problems with two laps to go in 2003 while running eighth.

"I've always felt at ease on this track," said Las Vegas resident Patrick Carpentier. "Even though it's quite bumpy, it's a very fast track. I like the idea of the prototypes not going through the stadium part of the track like we used to in Champ Car. Instead, we take the wide parabola turn, which is much quicker and better for the more powerful Pontiac engine. I've always enjoyed fast corners."

A three-time winner in Rolex Series competition, Milka Duno has enjoyed her past experience in Mexico. "The fans in Mexico City are so incredibly supportive and really very knowledgeable about our racing," said Mika Duno. "It's such great fun to see them in the paddock and in the stands. We've got a lot of positive energy with us from our success at Daytona. I think Patrick (Carpentier) will really enjoy his return to Mexico."

Team principal Peter Baron is hopeful for the team's third meeting in the Mexican capital city. Team strategy has Milka Duno qualifying the car and starting the race and Patrick Carpentier taking over for the last half.

"Last season, we didn't do well in Mexico," commented Baron on the team's 16th place finish in 2006. "We lost one lap because of a penalty and that put us out of the running. Actually, Mexico has not been kind to SAMAX Motorsport the two years we raced here. But, that was then. We are running a newer Riley chassis and we have added key people on the team. We know we can do better."

Currently second in the drivers standings with 32 points each, Duno and Carpentier are only three markers shy of first place held by Daytona winner Scott Pruett.

-credit: sm

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Milka Duno , Patrick Carpentier , Scott Pruett , Peter Baron