Elkhart Lake, Wisc. (6 August 2017) – It has been said that it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, but rather the size of the fight in the dog.
After getting hit in pit lane and suffering damage, the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa demonstrated a great focus on recovery as the team fought back to finish sixth in the IMSA Continental Tire Road Race Showcase on Sunday.
Starting the race from the fourth row, Fittipaldi held station in eighth during the opening segment of the race before moving up to race in the fourth position and turning the car over to Barbosa.
Unfortunately, the race plan was changed for the experienced Portuguese racer after the car had been hit by another Prototype at the entry to pit lane.
The contact deranged the rear bodywork, causing damage to the Continental Tires and forcing Barbosa into the pits for an extra green flag pit stop. Despite quick work from the team to correct the damage and replace the tire, the No. 5 entry fell to 29th position overall, one lap down.
But the team focused on continuing to perform and execute, fighting forward to regain a lap and be in position to fight in the final segments of the race. Never giving up, Barbosa was able to race back to sixth position at the finish. While the result wasn’t what the team had been hoping for after an impressive string of podium results at the popular Wisconsin track, it was another solid finish that reflected a big team effort.
“The whole race we had some push and understeer,” Fittipaldi said. “The 90 hitting us from behind in the pits really compromised our race. We had to pit again and fix the car and we went down a lap. We got it back, but we were far behind. I think we had a car that could finish a little better, maybe in the top four. We need to keep doing the same things that are good in the race. I could be happier, but I am not completely upset. We brought the car to the finish for Cadillac and we will take what we learned and go onto the next one.”
“I didn’t know that we got hit in the pits,” Barbosa said. “I realized it when I went into Turn 1 with the smoke and then in all of the right hand turns the smoke was there, so I had to pit for repairs. Something was rubbing on the tire. The field is very competitive, and when something puts you back it costs you a lot. So, our result was compromised from no fault of our own. I just kept on digging. We were able to make the lap back. I was running in the back and doing the best I could. We lose a lot of downforce around other cars and our lack of straight line speed hurts us. We will go onto the next two races and try to win them.”
No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing, IMSA WeatherTech Championship, Road America