RAIN OR SHINE JaguarRSR TAKES CHECKERED FLAG AT MID-OHIO
LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 6, 2011) - From one extreme to another the JaguarRSR duo of XKRs successfully took the checkered flag in today's dry then wet Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge.
Under sunny skies and hot temperatures, the green flag dropped kicking off round five of the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron. After qualifying the car 12th in the GT field, PJ Jones drove the #98 JaguarRSR XKR GT for the first stint.
Jones raced through the twists and turns of the 2.258-mile road course for almost one hour and thirty minutes, after which he came in for a full service stop. He handed the car over to his American teammate Rocky Moran, Jr. Shortly after that things took a turn for the worst, in terms of the weather. A big cell came right over the Lexington, Ohio area making the remainder of the race quite a show.
"Initially I was by myself on a new set of Dunlop tires and was able to run pretty quickly," said Moran. "The car felt good. Then the rain came, it started slow at first and cars started sliding all over the place as the rain grew more intense. The team got me in for some wet tires and then it was pretty much a monsoon. We got one restart, then back to yellow and I went off in Turn One into the grass. I almost had it out of the dirt and then got stuck. So they had to pull me out and we lost a couple of laps. I feel pretty bad about that, I wish I could have kept it on track to have had a stronger finish."
With ten minutes to go, the track was red flagged and as the clock winded down, it wasn't long after the checkered flag was waved. The #98 car finished 11th in class.
After Bruno Junqueira qualified the car 11th on the GT grid, Ken Wilden took the green flag. By Lap 3, he had moved into the top ten.
"The #99 JaguarRSR XKR GT was running pretty good at the start of the race," said Wilden. "We were running good lap times and keeping good pace. Then we had a car check-up in front of us, he was trying to be nice to let me by but he chose the wrong place on track. That resulted in me bumping him which caused a spin and ultimately resulted in a penalty. That hurt us the most, because it effectively took us out of contention in the race."
At just about the hour marker the Canadian came in to serve his penalty, which held him in the box for 60 seconds. Then went back out for a few more laps before returning to pit lane for full service and a driver change to Junqueira. The Brazilian took it to the finish line. The #99 car finished just behind its counterpart, 12th in GT field.
"There were a lot of good things about the weekend," Paul Gentilozzi, JaguarRSR Principal Partner, said in summary of the Mid-Ohio race weekend. "We had great reliability, the cars ran competitively every session. We didn't have any mechanical issues. We certainly had a lot of stuff in the race that happened to hinder better results. Kenny was running a great pace and following the race plan, but then the situation with the GTC car happened and that penalty cost us the race, at least any chance in competing. Had we held our position there, we would have had a completely different result. In the case of the #98 car, they really had an opportunity there at the end to finish eighth or ninth, but in the rain Rocky slid off and got stuck like several other cars did. By the time they pulled him out, we lost positions back to 11th. So not exactly the results we wanted to leave with, but we are confident as we head to our next race at Road America."
Round Six of the American Le Mans Series, the Road Race Showcase, will be held at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on Saturday, August 20.