A broken rear suspension has ended the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring early for the DeltaWing of Memo Rojas, Katherine Legge and Alan Mugglestone after showing promising progress.
After qualifying in the top 10 Rojas took to the wheel for the start of the race and suffered throttle issues on the pace lap. A quick pit stop to adjust the electronics helped but another stop would leave the team ten laps down on the leaders.
Things were looking up as Rojas fought his way back up the field before handing over the driving duties to Legge at the two-hour point, by this time the team had clawed back two laps but unfortunately the race would be over soon as Legge was forced to retire on lap 60 with suspension damage.
A disappointed Memo Rojas remained positive despite the early retirement. “We will keep digging and working” he said. “The car will be fast at many of the tracks we’ll be racing on this year, so we will focus on that. These things happen in a development program such as this – the team will keep making the car stronger. We’ll continue our progress and come out strong at the next race.”
Katherine Legge found positives in the weekend and admitted that the team was expecting a challenge at Sebring. “We showed speed at Daytona and we’ve worked hard on our reliability, but this is tough circuit” she said.
“We knew coming in that Sebring would be the most brutal track in terms of equipment, and that certainly proved to be the case. We learn more about this car at each track. We’re finding places to improve and that will only make us stronger in the end. We’ll take what we learned here and apply it to the next race and the entire season.”
Mugglestone added “We had several problems to overcome early in the race. We thought everything was running fine until the rear suspension failed under the highest load going over the bump in turn 17. (Team manager) Tim Keene set a good strategy in terms of taking fuel under yellows and staying out when everyone pitted so we were able to gain back two laps, which is encouraging.
“We have an aero and straight line speed advantage, which doesn’t come into play as much at Sebring as it does at other tracks, such as Daytona. The car was designed to be low drag and to gain a benefit through better use of fuel and being lightweight. It is new technology and it is a learning process – it’s all a balance and if it was easy, everyone would do it.”