Mexico City, Mexico – March 22, 2011 – Ricardo Gonzalez and teammates Gunnar Jeannette and Rudy Junco from Core Autosport scored a podium finished at the Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring this weekend after an impressive race in which they fell to last place due to mechanical failures and then managed to climb back to the third position in the LMPC class of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron. Gonzalez scored his second consecutive podium at the historic endurance event after finishing third on his series debut in 2010.
Jeannette took the green flag in the third position and only a few laps into his stint started noticing a problem with the power steering system on his Oreca FML09. Despite the problems the talented american driver held on to the third spot and handed the car over to Gonzalez 1hr40min into the race. Gonzalez stayed out front among the leaders but the steering problem kept worsening until it became impossible to continue driving the car and the team decided to bring the car to the garage for repairs. The problem resulted from a leak in the power steering system that not only affected the steering, but also splashed fluid onto the rear tires severely affecting the car’s handling.
After a quick repair by the Core crew Gonzalez went back out on track at the 3hr5min mark in last place in the LMPC category and 12 laps behind the leaders. For the rest of his stint the mexican driver maintained a very quick pace and managed to recover two laps, handing the car to Junco in the sixth position.
Gonzalez began his second stint 7hr40min into the race when the #006 prototype was already in fourth position and for the next two hours had to drive first with daylight, then through the blinding sunset conditions, and finally at night under the lights. When he handed the car for the last time to Junco he was already in third position and only seven laps from the leaders. Jeannette finished the last 90 minutes of the race but was not able to gain further positions since the top two cars were several laps ahead. The three drivers placed third after completing 305 laps and 1132.2 miles around the 3.7-mile circuit.
The next round for the American Le Mans Series will be the glamorous Long Beach Grand Prix which will take place April 16 around the streets of Long Beach, California.
For more information please visit www.ricardogonzalez.com.mx, www.facebook.com/ricardoracing and www.twitter.com/ricardo_racing.
#006 Excel / Composite Resources / Cooper Gay / Oreca FML09
“Finishing third is a pretty good start to our season and to our hunt for the 2011 championships, we’ll take the points. Of course we wanted to win and without a doubt we had the speed, but unfortunately we had problems with our power steering at the beginning of the race and lost almost 12 laps in the garage fixing it. After that we knew that we just had to follow a steady rhythm and slowly catch the leaders back up without making any mistakes and waiting for the other cars to have problems. It was quite an effort from our part to go from last place and 12 laps down to third and only seven laps behind, but it wasn’t enough to get the top spot. The three of us did a good job out on the track and the Core team was also pretty impressive with their quick repairs. It’s obviously a shame that we had the mechanical problems because we had the car to win, but that’s endurance racing.”
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