Martini colors back in victory lane

May 4, 2014

Martini colors back in victory lane

May 4, 2014

A set of the most famous colors in motorsport roared back into victory lane today with the Martini-liveried ORECA of Renger van der Zande and Mirco Schultis taking the PC class win this morning at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Making its race debut in the Martini colors, the Starworks’ No. 8 ORECA FLM09 came home 12.234 seconds in front of the second-place No. 25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09 of Sean Rayhall.

Rayhall had gotten reasonably close to van der Zande, but spun in Turn 10 with 11 minutes remaining.

“To get close is one thing … to get past is another thing,” said van der Zande.

“If you know that you can control the race. Leading the race is the best thing you can have [going for you]. Take the risk and control the traffic.”

Schultis started the No. 8 and ran 41 minutes, remarkably surviving an early-race incident in Turn 8 with the No. 54 CORE autosport entry of Jon Bennett, who co-leads the championship standings with co-driver Colin Braun.

“I thought that was the end,” Schultis said, “Somehow I got out of the dirt and on the track and somehow it was still running.”

Van der Zande would grab the lead with 23 minutes remaining, when the pole-sitting No. 09 entry driven by Bruno Junqueira of RSR Racing pitted for tires and fuel. Aside from Rayhall’s temporary challenge, it was routine from there.

“At Daytona and Sebring we had some troubles with the cars and here it was just a flawless weekend,” said van der Zande.

“Mirco did a good job by keeping it on the lead lap and avoiding some crashing people into him. And when he went into the pits [for the driver change], the guys did a really good pit stop. I was not even finished with my seat belts when I had to go already; that means they are really fast. We came into the track and already on the restart I overtook one car, then another, on the same lap. It was a lot of risk, but that’s what you have to take.

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