The beginning of Michael Shank Racing‘s return to being a full season two-car entry was dampened by a cut tyre and an incident with another car.
The first of the two cars, the #6 Ford-Riley started promisingly, with Gustavo Yacaman moving up to fourth place, while team-mate John Pew in the #60 car moved up to ninth, avoiding any of the inevitable contact at the notoriously tight turn one.
A good pit call from the team of the #60 car, diving in before a full-course caution, saw Pew hand his car over to Ozz Negri, who found himself in second position as other cars dived in to make their pit stops.
Negri’s battle at the front end was ended when he was hit from behind sending him careening off the circuit. Having pitted for repairs, Negri then fell foul to a cut tyre, ending his race altogether and forcing him to watch from behind the barrier.
The #6 car continued to battle near the top of the time sheets, with Yacaman handing over to Antonio Pizzonia on lap 40. Pizzonia held his own, a podium finish looking a strong possibility, but contact from another car sent the Corvette spinning before recovering to finish a relatively lowly seventh.
“It was a tough day,” said team owner Mike Shank. “We had moments of brilliance and tough times at the end. Both Gustavo and Antonio had really, really good stints in their first DP race. For the most part it was very good. We’ll go to Barber – we have a pretty good car there traditionally – so we’ll go there and see what we can do.”