(Mexico City, Mexico) 4 March 06 -- Oswald Negri and Mark Patterson made quite an impression in their first Rolex Sports Car Series start together nearly a year ago, taking the pole and posting a top-ten finish at Laguna Seca in car that the team...
(Mexico City, Mexico) 4 March 06 -- Oswald Negri and Mark Patterson made quite an impression in their first Rolex Sports Car Series start together nearly a year ago, taking the pole and posting a top-ten finish at Laguna Seca in car that the team had rented for the weekend.
After setting the pace in the opening sessions in Mexico City, a massive crash in practice on Friday forced the team to make arrangements to use another team's car for the rest of the weekend as fellow competitor Brian Tuttle had a spare Daytona Prototype on hand for the weekend.
But, after posting the fourth quickest time in the morning practice on Saturday, hopes were again high that the team might make a big impression with someone else's car.
As the 250-mile race got underway, Patterson continued his quick adaptation to the Pontiac-Riley, starting from twenty-second on the grid and making steady progress up the field. But the leaders pace was relentless, and after having used up the grip in the Hoosier tires making several passes for positions, Patterson had an off-course excursion that cost him several laps while being pulled from the sand trap.
"I should have just taken it a bit easy once the tires had given up pretty much everything they had," said Patterson. "But I really wanted to give the car over to Ozz in a good position so I just kept pushing and I shouldn't have. It's a shame, but we got to the finish and got some points, so it's good to get something out of the mess that this weekend has been."
The team worked to get the rocks and sand out of the car as Negri took the controls of the Flight Options machine. While he had several laps to make up to the leader, he was still able to pick up three positions to bring the car home in nineteenth and collect some crucial points towards the championship.
"This has been a very tough weekend, but we got to the finish, picked up some points, and now everything is about getting back on track and being ready for Homestead," said team owner Mike Shank. "Mark did a great job toughing it out in qualifying yesterday and he was doing a good job getting the car into a good spot for Ozz to take over, but we just didn't have any kind of luck this weekend."
The team will be back in action in three week's, as the Rolex Sports Car Series visits the Homestead Miami Speedway in Oswald Negri's adopted hometown for the LIndnor Industrial Grand Prix of Miami.
"We really appreciated Brian Tuttle making this car available to us this weekend," said Patterson. "But this had been a difficult weekend, and I am very much looking forward to racing with a Lexus in Miami."