After a difficult start to the Rolex Series season Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor made some amends for SunTrust Racing, winning the third round of the championship at a wet Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Grand Prix of Miami.
The whole weekend at the track was troubled my awful weather, a rained out qualifying session leaving the Suntrust Corvette DP starting only ninth, Italian Angelelli starting the car in an unusual move as he has traditionally taken the role of finishing the shorter races since joining the series in 2004.
Despite the change in role, and continuing rain, Angelelli moved easily through the field to run ninth when the race was brought under caution after just 40 minutes of the planned two-hour, 45-minute duration when the rain worsened to dangerous levels.
Under the caution period the team made the decision to pit, installing Taylor in the car but still maintaining their third place behind the Spirit of Daytona Covette DP and the Starworks Motorsport Ford-Riley, driven by Enzo Potolicchio.
Just two corners after the restart on lap 27 Taylor took the lead when Potolicchio tapped Spirit of Daytona driver Richard Westbrook into a spin, allowing the SunTrust Corvette to slither through on the inside. Potolicchio then retook the lead from Taylor, the 22-year-old running wide at turn two, then yielding to ensure no repeat of the prior contact.
Potolicchio was pulled from the lead to serve a penalty for his role in Westbrook's spin, leaving Taylor with a comfortable lead over Scott Pruett in the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW-Riley. Despite the champion chasing him down Taylor's lead held under a secong full course caution was followed by a red flag as the Florida rain intensified again, bringing an end to the race with a little under an hour of the original duration left.
“Our guys did a great job today,” said Taylor. “I think, even in the dry, we had a winning car. And then, in the race, Max did an unbelievable job as always, getting up to third, so all I had to do pretty much was avoid the crash in turn two and then not crash myself. It was pretty good.”
“Firstly, a win is a win, no matter what,” said team owner Wayne Taylor. “That's what we do. Actually, on our way down, Ricky and Max said we've had so many problems at this track over the years that it might be a great thing for us if it rained here this weekend. And it rained. We had a good car, a great engine, Max and Ricky did a fantastic job, and the guys worked up a great strategy. But it was still tough. It's not like we were just cruising around in the rain all day.”
“There was a lot of racing today. Max did a fantastic job coming from ninth to third. He was calm on the radio despite the conditions, he never put the car under any kind of stress. He was the Max I've always known who knows how to win. And Ricky was Ricky. He did great. He said that he could manage the pace, no problem. Today's result helped us quite a lot in the points. You always need those kinds of things to happen, and now we're right back in the championship.”