Carpentier Takes "Alternate" Route to 2nd Straight Laguna Seca Win Much like a year ago here, Patrick Carpentier controlled today's race while others around him stumbled, as the Forsythe Championship Racing driver rolled to his second...
Carpentier Takes "Alternate" Route to 2nd Straight Laguna Seca Win
Much like a year ago here, Patrick Carpentier controlled today's race while others around him stumbled, as the Forsythe Championship Racing driver rolled to his second consecutive victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Carpentier took the lead for good on lap 41 and pulled away from the field to win by 5.4 seconds over Bruno Junqueira of Newman/Haas Racing. Oriol Servia finished third, giving longtime Bridgestone Firestone supporter Dale Coyne Racing its first podium finish since the 1996 U.S. 500.
Like most drivers, Carpentier opted to use both of his Bridgestone Potenza alternate tires sets during the race and they helped him build the insurmountable cushion. The alternate tires, nicknamed "red stripes" for their identifying red sidewalls, provide additional grip compared to the standard tire sets and yield quicker lap times.
"It was amazing," Carpentier said with an ear-to-ear grin in victory lane. "We used the Bridgestone soft tires in qualifying and I had a set that I thought I kind of burned out because I kept spinning the rears in qualifying. But they were perfect. The car stayed balanced the whole time. It was a little bit loose - that's how we set it up - and even with that it stayed exactly the same. For me the tires were really great. I really love that soft compound Bridgestone came with. It lasts as long as the other one. It's fantastic!"
So good this weekend were the Bridgestone alternate tires that Mario Dominguez of Herdez Competition, a lap down in 11th place, pitted in the closing laps specifically so his crew could put on a set of alternates top finish the race. Dominguez proceeded to set the fastest race lap - and collect a championship point for doing so - on his last lap. The time of 1 minute, 11.727 seconds was more than six-tenths of a second quicker than the next-best lap.
Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "The Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey was a very exciting race with a lot of unexpected incidents, but in the end, Patrick Carpentier drove a superior race and very much deserved to win. We saw teams employ various strategies with Bridgestone's alternate tire, which features a softer, faster tread compound. Those strategies helped improve the racing but we want to work on further developing this technology so that even more passing is possible in the future. We'd also like to congratulate second-place finisher Bruno Junqueira and third-place finisher Oriol Servia. It was really nice to see Dale Coyne's team celebrating on the podium."
Race temperatures ranged from 94 to 101 degrees track and from 68 to 74 degrees ambient (F).
Race temperatures ranged from 34 to 38 degrees track and from 20 to 23 degrees ambient (C).