Prodrive Ferrari in the heat of the battle. All had agreed before the race that it would be a close fight in the GTS category, and so it was. The balance just tipped away from the Prodrive Ferraris this weekend, and the two scarlet 550...
Prodrive Ferrari in the heat of the battle.
All had agreed before the race that it would be a close fight in the GTS category, and so it was. The balance just tipped away from the Prodrive Ferraris this weekend, and the two scarlet 550 Maranellos finished in 2nd and 4th places - just 11 seconds behind the class winner.
In ambient temperatures of over 100oF (35oC), the 2h 45 minute race was hard on all those who were involved. For the drivers of the closed cockpit cars, temperatures in their working environment reached a breathtaking 150oF (60oC), and Jérôme Policand was just one of many to suffer from dehydration during his time behind the wheel.
Tomas Enge, starting the race in the #88 car, made a strong start from 4th place in the category and was up to 2nd by the third lap, pushing hard for the class lead. A spin on lap 14 dropped him back several places, although no damage occurred to the car and he was able to continue without having to make a stop and was soon making up for lost time. Peter Kox continued the good work in his mid race stint, and between the pair they closed the gap to finish a very close second.
Jérôme Policand, making his first appearance in the American Le Mans Series alongside debutante Danica Patrick, was behind the wheel of the #80 Prodrive Ferrari as the race began. Unfortunately his drinks bottle became disconnected and he therefore was not able to take on any fluids during his initial stint and was very dehydrated when he came in. A quick check by the circuit's medical team and re-hydration saw him recover quickly enough to be able to complete a second stint. They were running in 3rd position for much of the race but the Frenchman also suffered a spin in the closing laps which dropped the duo down to 4th.
George Howard-Chappell, Team Principal: "It was a very good race, very tight, as predicted, and Corvette did a really good job here today. I am happy with our performance and we hope to put on as good a show as this all year."
Danica Patrick (USA), Car 80: "My first sportscar race was a little harder than I thought it was going to be, but all in all it was a good first experience. I really enjoyed working with everyone here this weekend and there were a few things which I know we can improve for the next race. It would have been nice to be on the podium for my first race but there you go - we can have our turn soon."
Jérôme Policand (F), Car 80: "I'm really sorry for Danica and the team about spinning but I was pushing hard and the car just got away from me. It was very hard in the car during my first stint, but I felt fine once I'd had some water and a shower so was able to continue."
Peter Kox (NL), Car 88: "It was not our day. We were fighting strongly and I thought the competition did a good job. They improved a lot and I think we have to raise our game to match them. It was a shame we lost a bit of time but I don't blame Tomas as he was pushing really hard. I did the same and we make up some good time - our Michelin tyres worked well."
Tomas Enge (CZ), Car 88: "I'm a little disappointed as we came here to win and we didn't quite manage that today. But we will in the future. The competition was very close and it was good racing and I am looking forward to the next race where we can repeat our Le Mans winning form."