Michael Shank Racing takes double top-ten in Mexico City (Mexico City, Mexico) 3 March 2007-- Both Michael Shank Racing Lexus/Riley entries took top ten finishes in Saturday's Mexico City 400k for round two of the 2007 Rolex Sports Car Series ...
Michael Shank Racing takes double top-ten in Mexico City
(Mexico City, Mexico) 3 March 2007-- Both Michael Shank Racing Lexus/Riley entries took top ten finishes in Saturday's Mexico City 400k for round two of the 2007 Rolex Sports Car Series season. The 100-lap race clipped by at a flat-out pace as the full race distance ran under green-flag conditions.
Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri finished ninth after starting from twelfth on the grid, with Henri Zogaib and Ian James combining for a tenth place result after starting from seventeenth. James also posted the fastest race lap of all the Lexus-powered machines with a 1:22.521-secound tour of the 2.5-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit.
"We're happy to put this one in the books and get some good points towards the championship here this weekend," said team owner Mike Shank. "Running the full race without a yellow means you have to have some great driving and solid pit stops, and we got both today. Getting both cars into top can be difficult in this series with this level of competition, but the guys put in a lot of effort this weekend and it paid off today."
Patterson took the green flag from twelfth on the grid, and enjoyed several on-track battles with some of his Trueman award combatants. Patterson won the 2006 Trueman award and is looking to do so once again in 2007. The South African native helped his cause this weekend by running the first fifty-five laps of the race before turning the car over to Negri in tenth position.
"I was disappointed that I couldn't quite match the times I was doing in practice earlier this weekend, but the car was great and I had a lot of fun out there," said Patterson. "We were pretty conservative on the tires in the early going, but I was able to set some pretty quick laps late in my stint so that strategy paid off."
"This was good for the points for us," said Negri. "I didn't think enough about the championship last year, but I was really focused on that today, not taking unnecessary risks or jeopardizing the car. The guys did a great job all weekend, and now I am looking forward to a race in my hometown (Miami) at the end of the month."
Zogaib is also looking to see his name etched on the Trueman Award trophy that rests on display at Daytona USA, and continued his forward progress with a run from seventeenth at the start before turning the car over to James. The tenth-place finish matches Zogaib's career-best in the Daytona Prototype class.
"That top-ten finish is exactly what we needed," said Zogaib as the checkered flag flew. "Ian did an excellent job and I have goose bumps right now!"
After taking over from Zogaib, James had some work to do as he rejoined well back in the running after the pit stop. But despite having to make a second stop for fuel later in his stint, the Arizona resident came storming forward, passing former Champ Car winner Patrick Carpentier to score tenth position in the closing laps.
"The first set of tires I had developed a pretty severe understeer," said James. "But the second set was excellent, and from there I was flat out to the end. My hats off to the guys because the car was just great and I was able to pass a lot of cars out there today to get the first top-ten of the year with Henri."
Michael Shank Racing will return to Columbus, Ohio and begin preparations for round three of the 2007 Rolex Sports Car Series Season at the Homestead Miami Speedway on March 24th.