ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) — Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi won the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race at Road America on Sunday for their third victory of the year in Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Corvette.
The Prototype class points leaders overcame six cautions periods, a potential race-ending brake problem and a spin off-course and through the grass.
“I felt that we weren’t going to be able to finish,” Fittipaldi said about the brake problem. “At one point we almost pitted completely out of our window because it was too dangerous. What saved us was we were able to solve the brake problem in the pits. We found an oil leak in the left rear (of the car).”
Oswaldo Negri Jr. and John Pew finished 2.240 seconds back in second in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Ford EcoBoost/Riley DP, and polesitters Ryan Dalziel and Scott Sharp were second in the No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b/Honda.
Barbosa took over the driving duties from Fittipaldi with about 58 minutes remaining in the 2-hour, 45-minute race.
“Definitely those last couple of safety-car situations and extended yellows helped us on our fuel,” Barbosa said. “We were pretty much sure we were good, but it definitely helped us to be really safe and we were able to push all the way to the end. (Before) the last restart, I was having to save a little bit of fuel and so I was managing a little bit what was happening behind me. On the last restart we were able to push flat out all the way, I was able to do a couple of good laps and put a good gap behind me.”
Fittipaldi took the lead heading into the first turn moments after taking the green flag. He maintained the advantage over the first 52 minutes, but was shuffled back in the running order when he was hit from behind by Ricky Taylor’s No. 10 Konica Minolta Chevrolet Corvette DP going into Turn 3 and spun off course.
Fittipaldi managed to get his car turned in the right direction and rejoined the fight, though in seventh place before working his way back up to third.
“There was only so much I could do,” said Fittipaldi, who raced to his first career IndyCar race at Road America in 1999. “I spun the car on the grass and put it into gear.”
Pierre Kaffer and Giancarlo Fisichella won the GT Le Mans class in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia. Renger van der Zande and Mirco Schultis topped the Prototype Challenge class in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Martini ORECA FLM09/Chevrolet. Also, Turner Motorsport teammates Dane Cameron and Markus Palttala won in GT Daytona in the No. 94 BMW Z4.
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