Laguna Seca: Doran Racing preview

Bobbi and Gollin Want Podium Finish in Doran Racing's Crown Royal Special Reserve DORAN JE4 Lexus ...

Bobbi and Gollin Want Podium Finish in Doran Racing's Crown Royal Special Reserve DORAN JE4 Lexus #77 at Laguna Seca

LEBANON, Ohio, April 26 - After qualifying second at the last two Grand American Rolex series races, Matteo Bobbi and Fabrizio Gollin want to turn those excellent qualifying results into a podium finish for Doran Racing's Crown Royal Special Reserve team. Their next chance to do that is when the series visits Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. this weekend for the Road & Track 250, which is part of the U.S. Sports Car Invitational.

Since this is the series' first race at this particular 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course, Bobbi and Gollin may have a more even playing field than they've had in the first three races of 2005. All the tracks are new to the two series rookies this year, whereas most of their rivals have raced on them multiple times in the past. Some of the competitors have raced at Laguna Seca before in other series, but only Laguna Seca and Mexico City are new venues for the Rolex series cars this year.

Laguna Seca is also the first non-"roval" course of the year, as Daytona, Homestead and Fontana's road courses are all contained within those facilities' outlying oval tracks. That may also play into the Doran Racing camp's favor, as it will be more like the European tracks that their young drivers competed on in the FIA World GT series. Gollin won that championship last year; Bobbi won it in 2003.

Only half joking, Gollin added that he already knows Laguna Seca a little bit after "driving" the course with his Playstation video game.

"It will be very nice to run on a normal track, because it will be like coming back to Europe," he added. "The car is better race after race, and Matteo and I just want to finish well at Laguna!"

"We need to stay out of trouble, have some better luck and get some points," his teammate concurred.

They're also interested in seeing the track's famous "Corkscrew" [a turn], or "Cavatappi" in Italian. Despite the language differences, they already understand that it's tight, tricky and fun.

The 250-mile race at Laguna Seca will be televised live on SPEED at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.

That same day the team's sister car, the Doran-Labonte Racing DORAN JE4 Pontiac No. 44, is scheduled to be showcased before driver introductions at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Talladega, Ala. One of its drivers, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup star Bobby Labonte, is scheduled to be behind the wheel during the demonstration to promote both the Rolex series and its upcoming race at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. July 29-31. The Labonte brothers recently added that race to the limited schedule they're doing in the Rolex series this year.

Laguna Seca's preliminary schedule shows the Crown Royal Special Reserve DORAN JE4 Lexus No. 77 on the track for practice from 10:30 a.m. until 11:55 a.m. on Friday, with another hour of practice at 2:15 p.m. that afternoon.

Another hour-long practice session will be held Saturday morning at 9:35 a.m. before a driver autograph session is held at 11 a.m. and qualifying occurs at 1:20 p.m. The drivers take turns qualifying, and it'll be Bobbi's turn at Laguna.

There is a half-hour warm-up session at 9:30 a.m. on race day, Sunday, before the 250-mile, 112-lap, two-hour-and-45-minute race starts at noon local time.

After Laguna Seca it won't be long until the Six Hours of Mont-Tremblant, which is slated for May 19-21 at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec.

For more information, please see www.doranracing.com and www.crownroyal.com. Bobbi's Web site is at www.matteobobbi.com and Gollin's is at www.fabriziogollin.com.

Other interesting information can be found at www.grandamerican.com, www.laguna-seca.com, www.speedtv.com and www.restartcommunications.com.

-dr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Fabrizio Gollin , Matteo Bobbi
Teams Doran Racing