Doran Racing's Crown Royal Special Reserve DORAN JE4 Lexus ...
Doran Racing's Crown Royal Special Reserve DORAN JE4 Lexus #77 Finishes Eleventh at Laguna Sunday
MONTEREY, Calif., May 1 - Doran Racing's Crown Royal Special Reserve DORAN JE4 Lexus No. 77 was as high as fourth in Sunday's Road & Track 250 Rolex series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and ran in the top five for more than a quarter of the race, but a few setbacks caused drivers Matteo Bobbi and Fabrizio Gollin to just miss the top-10 at the finish.
The team's official finish was eleventh in the 51-car, 97-lap race, which ended under yellow after two hours and 45 minutes of hard-fought competition on the 2.238-mile road course.
The race, which was won by Luis Diaz and Scott Pruett in the CompUSA car, was televised live on SPEED.
Bobbi got off to a fabulous start, vaulting from eighth to fifth before the Daytona Prototype field had even reached the Yokohama bridge on lap one. The action was extremely hot and heavy, but Bobbi soared to fourth on lap seven after some of his rivals scuffled repeatedly.
Although he was dealing with some understeer at that point, Bobbi was pleased with the car's set-up, noting that his car was quicker than his rivals in the slower-speed turns.
Bobbi ran in fifth, sixth or seventh until he made his first pit stop under yellow on lap 25. The Doran Racing pit crew got him quickly back on his way, and he was back in fifth by the very next lap.
He kept fifth for 16 laps, dipped a spot for the next four laps and was back in fifth on lap 26 when he had an altercation with Max Angelelli on lap 46 in turn five. They touched, spun and both kept going, but later they both had to drive through the pits as penalties for the incident.
That dropped Bobbi back to ninth. He lost a lap and dropped to 13th when he pitted under a full-course yellow on lap 62 for four tires, fuel and to allow Gollin to take over.
The entry was 13th for most of the rest of the race, but advanced two more spots with six laps to go when some of the cars in front of it were involved in other incidents.
A DORAN JE4 did end up on the podium, however, as the Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 No. 54 finished third.
It won't be long before the next race, a six-hour enduro at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec on May 21.
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.
Driver quotes follow:
Matteo Bobbi: "I think I did a good stint. It was very difficult; it was maximum attack all the time. But I'm happy with myself for my race.
"We had a really good start. We moved from eighth to fifth right away.
"I'm not happy with Max Angelelli. He didn't give me any space at all, and that's why both of us spun. It didn't cause any real damage to our car, but it put us out of contention for the win.
"A lot of people work very hard on this program. Many people are involved, and it's a really difficult time for us because the results aren't what we want right now.
"We had a good car at the beginning. We had a top-five car today for sure, so to finish 11th is very disappointing."
Fabrizio Gollin: "Our car was competitive. I changed the bar at the end and then I could push the car ahead of me.
"We tried something in the set-up and learned some things. At the next race, at Mont-Tremblant, we'll use a lot of downforce like you use at this track, so this race was a good experience for that."