On a weekend somewhat reminiscent of Long Beach exactly 3 months ago, the two Dyson Racing LMP2 Porsche RS Spyders struggled to find a good set-up around the 2.258 mile road course at Mid Ohio here today. The Dyson Racing team had worked ...
On a weekend somewhat reminiscent of Long Beach exactly 3 months ago, the two Dyson Racing LMP2 Porsche RS Spyders struggled to find a good set-up around the 2.258 mile road course at Mid Ohio here today.
The Dyson Racing team had worked tirelessly to get the two Porsches race prepared after the damage and disappointments of Lime Rock just one week ago, but try as hard as they did, neither the #16 car of Chris Dyson and Guy Smith or the #20 car of Marino and Butch Leitzinger were able to optimise their set ups in order to get that elusive podium. Butch qualified the #20 car, but 5th row of the grid was the best he could manage just one-tenth of a second behind the #16 sister Dyson car.
Butch started the race and quickly made up a couple of places, but then struggled hard to hold on to the lead pack of prototype cars. The first full caution was thrown about one hour into the race, by which time Butch had just been lapped by the lead Audi. Some confusion then lead to a mistimed pitstop which prevented the #20 car from regaining their lost lap. "I realised what had happened immediately I saw Butch coming down pitlane, but there's nothing you can do except get into the car and hope there's another yellow later in the race that gives you the opportunity to get the lap back" said Marino. And it was two cautions later with just about 45 minutes of the race remaining when exactly that happened.
Marino took up the chase in his ill-handling #20 Dyson Porsche, and whilst he was able to maintain the pace of his sister car which was just in front of him on track, he was unable to make any inroads into the lead cars.
Whilst Marino was able to bring his #20 Dyson Porsche home eighth overall and within 4 seconds of the sister Dyson Porsche Spyder still on the lead lap having previously been one lap down, he was still some 56 seconds adrift of the winning Audi R10, and 45 seconds behind the first of the Penske Porsche Spyders. "It was a tough weekend for Dyson Racing, the fact that the team were here with two completely rebuilt cars was an enormous achievement, and to come back from one lap down and still be in contention at the end of the race speaks volumes, but it just didn't come together this weekend. Now we have a couple of weeks to regroup for Road America and get outselves back up the front", said Marino somewhat disappointedly after the race.
But there was also a reason to be saddened when Marino learned that a friend and former team colleague, Keith Jones, had been involved in a very nasty pitlane fire during the second half of the race. Marino would like to send his best wishes to Keith's family and friends and extend his personal warmest wishes for a speedy recovery.
The seventh round of the American Le Mans Series will be held at the Road America track in Wisconsin on Saturday, 9th August, 2008.