race 18h The No. 7 CITGO/SAMAX Pontiac-powered Riley Mk XI continued to regain position in the Rolex 24 At Daytona after a long pitstop to replace a drive shaft during the first half of the race. All four of the team's drivers completed stints...
The No. 7 CITGO/SAMAX Pontiac-powered Riley Mk XI continued to regain position in the Rolex 24 At Daytona after a long pitstop to replace a drive shaft during the first half of the race. All four of the team's drivers completed stints during the third quarter of the race, with Milka Duno starting in the 13th hour, followed by Marino Franchitti, Kevin McGarrity and Dario Franchitti. Marino Franchitti regained 10th place and his brother Dario added another position to sit ninth after 18 hours.
Marino Franchitti: "It's very disappointing we had the drive-shaft failure. That's the only non-routine piece of maintenance we've had; everything else has been running like clockwork. The engine hasn't been switched off yet -- we leave it running between pitstops, so that's a long time that it's been running. If we can make it to the top 10, it will be good. It will just be nice to see the checkered flag."
The No. 7 CITGO/SAMAX Pontiac-powered Riley Mk XI finished eighth in the 2006 Rolex 24 At Daytona -- the first 24-hour race for the new team. During the final six hours of the race, Milka Duno, Dario Franchitti, Marino Franchitti and Kevin McGarrity paced a strong recovery from an earlier drive-shaft failure and a broken right-rear suspension. Only half of the 30 entered Daytona Prototypes finished the race, putting the CITGO Riley in elite company.
Milka Duno: "It was such a great race for me! I had great co-drivers and it was truly an equally shared effort. All four drivers had the same amount of time behind the wheel -- six hours each -- which was very important to me. I wanted to prove that I could hold my end -- and I did.
"We had reached as high as second overall when a driveshaft broke Saturday evening. The team worked very hard to make the repairs as quickly as possible but even though everyone fought as hard as they could, we just couldn't get all the way back up there again.
"I was in the car at the end which gave me the honor of taking the checkered flag -- which was truly fantastic.
"All things considered I'm very happy with the result and I know that we earned every bit of our top-10 finish. Had we not had the trouble, I'm very confident that we would have enjoyed at least a top-five and most likely a podium. Many thanks to CITGO, Dario, Marino, Kevin and the entire team for their great effort!"
Marino Franchitti: "Without the half-shaft problem, which cost us 30 laps, we would have been in the top three. That's disappointing. This is my third Daytona 24 Hours and my first finish here. To finish in the top 10, with the problem we had, is testament to not only the CITGO/SAMAX team, but to my teammates Dario, Milka and Kevin."
Dario Franchitti: "I'm happy to finish. The guys had a couple of things to overcome with a driveshaft problem -- which a lot of teams had -- and a wishbone problem. Without those, we'd have been looking pretty good. I don't think we had the ultimate pace, but we just kept pushing. I'm very happy to have finished. We'll come back next year and try to win it."
Peter Baron, SAMAX Motorsport owner: "In roughly one month's time [since starting the CITGO/SAMAX program], to finish eighth in this international all-star field at one of the greatest Rolex 24 events is truly an amazing accomplishment. We're very proud of the drivers and crew, and happy to be part of the CITGO Racing program. It's a great group of people; I'm very thankful for the opportunity they gave the team."