CITGO Top Pontiac At Laguna Seca Tough Day On The Monterey Peninsula The CITGO Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype (DP) was the top finisher of the Pontiac competitors today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in round five of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car...
CITGO Top Pontiac At Laguna Seca
Tough Day On The Monterey Peninsula
The CITGO Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype (DP) was the top finisher of the Pontiac competitors today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in round five of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. The Florida based team with Patrick Carpentier and Ryan Dalziel behind the wheel finished fifth.
Incidents and yellow flags conspired against the Pontiac teams all race. What looked to be an encouraging start with the No. 99 GAINSCO Pontiac and No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac beginning the two-hour-and-thirty-minute race from the front row soon turned sour. The No. 10 car was shuffled back in the first corner and relegated to fourth. The No. 99 kept the lead up until the team's mandatory 45-minute pit stop. Upon leaving the pits the No. 99, which was the fastest car on the time sheets all weekend, soon developed clutch problems, hampering the speed of drivers Fogarty and Gurney.
The No. 11 CITGO Pontiac ran up front all day. Dalziel started the car from the fourth row and was able to consistently race in the top five, running as high second. Dalziel turned over to co-driver Patrick Carpentier who was forced to miss the last race at Virginia.
"I had to miss the last race," Carpentier said. "We have had some issues with our new baby and the last month has really been hard on my family. I would like to thank CITGO and SAMAX for being patient with me. Ryan did a great job to run us up front today. I got in and was all over the place, maybe I wasn't there mentally, but it was nice to get behind the wheel. We managed a fifth place and this team is great keeping us up toward the front. We will be ready for the six-hour next month."
An ailing No. 99 GAINSCO Pontiac managed to come to the checker in sixth place. Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney had been the class of the course all weekend. Starting from pole Fogarty was able to lead handily in the first segment until clutch problems affected the speed of the car.
"We had clutch issues today," Fogarty said. "It was getting worse with every lap, but we were still able to run up towards the front. We really had a good car today and ran a clean race, but the mechanical gremlin got us. Really nothing for Alex to do when I turned the car over to him, but try and get the best points finish possible."
In the Krohn Racing No. 75 Pontiac, Colin Braun and Max Papis had been chasing the track all weekend. The fast duo in the green and blue car were struggling to find grip around the 11-turn, 2.2-mile Laguna Seca circuit.
"We had a good car today, better than all week," Papis said. "The yellow and blue BMW was determined to hit everyone out there today and that cost us a lot of positions and time. Colin did a really good job to push us up the finishing order to an eventual sixth place."
The No. 10 SunTrust car had their race go south from the drop of the green flag. Max Angelelli started the race from the front row, but was overtaken going into one, putting the Italian fourth into two. Twenty-nine laps later he had to pit with self-inflicted front-end damage. Co-driver Jan Magnussen finished the race and brought the car home in 15th.
"I don't understand it," Angelelli said. "I feel miserable. I was pushing like everybody else. Just coming out of the corner, I lost it and I went off in the exit turn nine. The crew did a great job to make the repairs, fitting a new splitter in pit lane. They gave me a super fast car again. So, the good thing is I know I have the best team. So, when you normally have the best team, you need to win the championship. The driver made a mistake. We will go on to the next race, and I will try not to do it again."
-credit: gm racing