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Sebring: Jason Martinelli race report

Martinelli Charges Through World Challenge Touring Car Field at Sebring Before Mishap SEBRING, Fla. -- Rookie Jason Martinelli battled his way from 18th to 11th in the SPEED World Challenge Touring Car season opener at Sebring International ...

Martinelli Charges Through World Challenge Touring Car Field at Sebring Before Mishap

SEBRING, Fla. -- Rookie Jason Martinelli battled his way from 18th to 11th in the SPEED World Challenge Touring Car season opener at Sebring International Raceway on Friday, March 18 before contact with another car dropped him back to 23rd.

Martinelli started the 50-minute race from 18th on the grid in the No. 29 Tecmark BMW 325Ci. Qualifying on Thursday was cancelled because of heavy rain, so the grid was set based on practice times.

Martinelli said that "we were taking it easy in practice. We were learning the track and seeing what the car could do. I was doing well in practice, but I wasn't pushing it since I had no idea there would be no qualifying."

At the start of the race, Martinelli quickly moved to the inside of turn one and began to gain positions. By the end of the first lap he was already 13th. Martinelli then took over the 11th spot before encountering trouble in turn one.

"There was an Audi ahead of me going through turn one," explained Martinelli. "He hit a bump and his rear end stepped out, hitting the left front of my car. It really made my splitter drop down. I was still maintaining a good position but it was hard to turn. I tried to hang on as long as I could."

Martinelli continued to turn laps, dropping down only two positions, but finally he was forced to pit so that the Tecmark crew could remove the damaged bodywork that was grazing the track and the BMW's tires.

"At least I was able to get back out onto the track and finish," said Martinelli. "Despite the problems, it was a fun race. I learned a lot today. I haven't been racing for long, but I keep moving forward and learning in every race."

The next Speed World Challenge Touring Car race for Martinelli will be at his home track of Lime Rock Park in July.

Martinelli is sponsored by Intermix Cement Corporation, JJ Snacks and Good Hill Mechanical Contractors, Inc.

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Series PWC
Drivers Jason Martinelli