Birmingham, Ala. (Apr. 6, 2013) – Overcoming an unfortunate first-lap incident, 8Star Motorsportsrecorded its third consecutive top-10 finish in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, following Saturday’s Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park. Despite walking away thinking what could have been, Enzo Potoliccho and Stephane Sarrazin collected valuable championship points and remain firmly in the Daytona Prototype title race with nine races still to go.
The South Florida-based team headed into the shortest Rolex Series race of the season with plenty of optimism, after its No. 3 Corvette DP topped the time sheets in Friday’s final practice and proved to be a threat in nearly every session of the weekend, both in wet and dry conditions on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course.
However, 8Star’s podium hopes were dashed on the very first lap of the two-hour race, when team principal Potolicchio was collected in an incident, which damaged both the front and rear of the Pratt & Miller-built Corvette DP. The Venezuelan championship racer remained on track until the first, and only full-course caution on Lap 13, when he pitted to hand over to Sarrazin, which also gave the team an opportunity to assess the damage.
Battling an ill-handing car for the remainder of the race, the Frenchman made the most of the challenging situation. Sarrazin stayed in contention, and even led for three laps until making his final green-flag pit stop with less than 50 minutes to go. The orange-colored Corvette took the checkered flag in 10th position, a result that no doubt came as a slight disappointment given that a podium finish was in sight.
“We definitely had a car to battle for the win, especially with Stephane’s speed earlier in the weekend,” Potolicchio said. “But I was caught up in a racing incident that I just couldn’t avoid. Things like that happen. The hit I had against the wall was really big. I was surprised how well the car held up. We were able to run competitive times in the end but were just too far behind the leaders. It’s a shame because I think everyone had hopes of getting on the podium, but we’ll work harder for the next one at Road Atlanta.”
“It was a tough race for me,” Sarrazin added. “I struggled with the car after Enzo’s incident. We had a problem with the front and the rear. We managed to finish the race, which is always good. We scored some points, but not as many as we had expected. We were very fast here so it shows that the team is improving. The car was really good all weekend so we’ll see how the next race goes.”
Potolicchio, Sarrazin and the 8Star team head into the next round of the GRAND-AM RolexSports Car Series season at Road Atlanta sitting sixth in the championship standings. The series’ first trip to the world-class facility in Braselton, Ga. is scheduled for April 18-20. The race can be seen live on SPEED, Saturday, April 20 at 4:30 p.m. ET. Live timing and scoring can be found at http://www.grand-am.com.