Jeff Segal managed to overcome a myriad of typical street-course racing obstacles with co-driver Emil Assentato and bring the No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am home in fourth place in Saturday’s Rolex Sports Car Series GRAND-AM 200 on the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Circuit.
The solid race result was the fourth consecutive top-four GT class finish for Segal and the AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari in 2012’s first five races, a streak that includes victories in the two races before Detroit at New Jersey Motorsports Park and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Segal and Assentato also finished second at Barber Motorsports Park in March.
The two-day Detroit race weekend began Friday with GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car competitors having an early-morning practice session in a torrential downpour. The team had to adjust the AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari to the wet conditions that made reverting to a dry setup later in the weekend a challenge. Segal made the majority of the team’s dry weather adjustments in Saturday’s pre-race warm-up practice session.
It was all out street fighting that is for sure, and we came out of it with a clean car.
"We really got punished badly by the weather, especially us being a pro-am team, it hurt us particularly bad," Segal said. "We were really behind the eight-ball on set-up. I didn't do any dry laps until the race morning and we didn't have much time to adjust on the car when we figured it wasn't where it needed to be. The team did a great job of hustling and making some really smart changes."
After Assentato drove a typically strong stint to start the race, Segal took the wheel of the Ferrari at the 30-minute mark and quickly began to work his way to the front of the field.
"We had a great race car,” Segal said. “Track position was difficult, it was all out street fighting that is for sure, and we came out of it with a clean car, unscathed, and we are looking forward to heading to Mid-Ohio next weekend."
Segal and Assentato, the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT champions, added a point to their 2012 championship lead with today’s finish. They came to Detroit with an eight-point lead but now have a nine point edge over the nearest competitor, 153 – 144. The No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am leads the team championship standings with the same points total and margin heading to Mid-Ohio.