MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada (Aug 23, 2003) - If Luis Diaz and Dorricott Racing didn't have bad luck, they may not have any luck at all this season. After completing strong back-to-back qualifying sessions with a car that was clearly ...
MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada (Aug 23, 2003) - If Luis Diaz and Dorricott Racing didn't have bad luck, they may not have any luck at all this season. After completing strong back-to-back qualifying sessions with a car that was clearly competitive, Diaz's podium hopes were splintered Saturday in round 10 of the 12-race Toyota Atlantic Championship at Montreal when he was forced to make a pit stop for a right rear tire change on lap six of the 25-lap race.
The pit stop was prefaced by Diaz calling his crew on lap three to share a concern that he thought his right rear tire was losing air pressure. Diaz ran a couple of more laps but progressively slower times convinced him a pit stop was needed. A post-race inspection of the tire discovered that it had been damaged during its wheel mounting some time prior to the race. The tire's air pressure at the start of the race was a recommended 20 psi. The pressure had dropped to 10 psi by the time Diaz returned to pit lane for the change.
Toyota Atlantic race car teams do not mount their race tires to their race wheels. Tire mounting and balancing is performed by Toyota Atlantic approved and certified tire technicians that are not affiliated with any team. Occasional human error occurs in this process albeit mistakes are far and few between. Unfortunately for Dorricott Racing and Diaz, the rarity of error struck Diaz's Telmex/Dorricott Racing-prepared Swift 014a when his car was arguably one of the best in this weekend's Atlantic field.
Diaz provisionally qualified fourth around the 2.709-mile, 13-turn permanent road course. He followed up with another strong performance in Saturday's final qualifying despite dropping a few grid positions to seventh place for the race start with a time of 1:33.195 (104.645 mph).
Diaz once again stirred the Telmex Swift 014a to lap times that were consistently among the top-seven throughout the raced. In fact, Diaz ran the most consistent lap-by-lap fast times for any of the cars in the field for the final 18 laps of the race. He officially recorded the seventh fastest lap at 1:32.255 (105.711 mph). This was even a better time than his best qualifying laps. When the checkered flag waved, Diaz had passed four cars to finish 11th place after dropping to last place during his pit stop.
Diaz collected five points and remained in ninth place overall with 73 points. However, Diaz still remains in striking range of the top-six and only trails sixth-place Joey Hand by 18 points, 91-73.
SPEED Channel provided a 45-minute delayed telecast of the race but has also scheduled encore broadcasts for Sunday, August 24, at 3:00 a.m. ET (12:00 midnight PT), and Friday, August 29, at 5:00 p.m. ET (2:00 p.m. PT)
Round 11 of the 12-race 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship will be Sunday, Aug. 31, from the downtown streets of Denver, Colorado.