Zytek has a great showing but penalties thwart a stronger finish at Laguna Seca After shattering the lap record in qualifying, the Zytek team was optimistic going into the race knowing it had the pace to run at the front. From the start, Stefan...
Zytek has a great showing but penalties thwart a stronger finish at Laguna Seca
After shattering the lap record in qualifying, the Zytek team was optimistic going into the race knowing it had the pace to run at the front. From the start, Stefan Johansson showed what the Zytek 06S was capable of, opening up a convincing lead and maintaining a strong pace.
But then the team got hit with their first penalty. Whilst passing a much slower GT2 class Ferrari, Stefan took the inside line but the Ferrari closed the door moving over on him, taking the racing line into the corner. There was contact and the Ferrari spun into the gravel while Stefan continued unharmed.
During the ensuing full course yellow the team received the news that Stefan was to serve a Stop and Go penalty for aggressive driving. After a request for review was denied, Stefan served his penalty and rejoined the race in last place. He then set about a formidable comeback. With calm and calculated skill the ex-Formula One driver picked off the field one by one. At the halfway point, he had regained the lead, passing every single car in the field.
Then disaster struck. With his Zytek very low on fuel, the team received a lucky break when a crash brought out another full course yellow and Stefan dived into the pits for fuel and a driver change. Unfortunately the need for fuel had resulted in him entering the pit while it was closed and the team received a further penalty, this time of 1 minute 15 seconds. "I had no choice as we were so low on fuel, I would have lost more if I had stayed out and ran out on the track," said Stefan.
Johnny Mowlem was now in the car and with the caution period finished, he drove away from the field pulling out a 5 second lead in the opening lap before coming in to serve the penalty. It was not enough and by the time he got back on track he was a lap down on the leaders and in 7th place. Johnny then drove his heart out, regaining the lap from four of the cars he needed to pass but with no yellow flags working in the team's favour, it was impossible for him to get back on the lead lap and he had to settle for a 5th place in class and 7th overall.
The team was disappointed but the early pace clearly showed that Zytek can beat the best and are looking forward to a full season in 2007. "The team did a great job and while we had some excellent moments, particularly when Stefan drove us back into the lead, the result was not what the team wanted of course," said Trevor Foster, team operations director. "We are now going to work very hard to get the sponsorship we need to run a full season in 2007. Zytek have demonstrated pace and reliability. Hopefully we'll get that call and be back. We know what we can do,"