Monterrey, Mexico - Zakspeed/Forsythe Racing made their Champ Car debut in Monterrey Mexico, during round one of the CART FedEx Championship Series, with American driver Bryan Herta piloting the ...
Monterrey, Mexico - Zakspeed/Forsythe Racing made their Champ Car debut in Monterrey Mexico, during round one of the CART FedEx Championship Series, with American driver Bryan Herta piloting the #77 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard around the 2.1 mile road course.
Herta and his crew were quick out of the box Friday, finishing the day in sixth position, and consistently running among the top-five throughout the practice session.
Saturday ended on a different note, as the team was only able to complete 23 laps in morning practice, and suffered from the inconsistent track conditions throughout the group one qualifying session.
Taking the green flag Sunday afternoon from 18th position, Herta enjoyed a clean start and gained three positions by the ninth lap. "I was really concerned about the first few laps, primarily the start. The track conditions have been slick and pretty inconsistent throughout the weekend. Obviously, eighteenth is not where you want to start a race, especially on a track like this," said Herta.
Contact by car #20 on lap 22 brought out the second full course yellow of the day, causing a chain reaction of pit stops throughout the field. The Zakspeed/Forsythe crew opted to stay out, catapulting Herta from 15th to second position. Herta remained second until lap 36, when he came in for service, taking on a full load of fuel and four fresh tires. Returning to the track in 22nd position, Herta worked himself back up to eleventh position by lap 60. Just as Herta was preparing to make his second stop of the day, plans were delayed as the track returned to full-course-yellow status, closing the pit lane. In order to avoid running out of fuel on the racetrack, the team was faced with no choice but to bring Herta in under closed pits to take on enough fuel to finish the race.
As a penalty for receiving service in a closed pit, Herta re-started the race on lap 73 from the back of the field in 18th position. Upon the expiration of the two-hour time limit, Herta took the checkered flag in 16th position on lap 78.
"We took a chance with our pit strategy today, and it didn’t go our way. I had a good car and the guys did a great job. Now we will turn our focus to Long Beach," commented Herta.
Herta, a resident of southern California, will return to the streets of Long Beach on April 8th, for round two of the CART FedEx Championship Series.