July 7, 2013

ESM Patrón Robbed of Win at Lime Rock Park

Cosmo finishes second following late-race contact

LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 6, 2013) – The Patrón Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) team’s dreams of victory at this weekend’s American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park were snatched from its grasp after being spun out of the P2 class lead in the final minutes of today’s race.

The No. 01 Tequila Patrón Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b was the class of the P2 field.  Scott Sharp started the two-hour, 45-minute race from the fourth position on the grid.  Within the first 30 minutes, Sharp logged some of the fastest times of the class.  He reached his race-high of second and maintained that position for the rest of his stint before turning the wheel over to co-driver Guy Cosmo.

Moments after climbing into the race car, Cosmo took the P2 lead.  He then extended his advantage in the class by six seconds and was running second overall.  With less than 15 minutes in the race, the second full course caution flag flew due to another class competitor running off course.

Racing went back to green with five laps left.  As the countdown clock reached four minutes, the P2 Level 5 Motorsports entry of Ryan Briscoe hit Cosmo from behind after the Uphill Chicane.  Cosmo was knocked out of the race lead, spun off track and received damage to the rear of the Tequila Patrón-racing machine.  Cosmo limped the damaged race car to the finish line in second place.

The No. 02 Tequila Patrón Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b finished Saturday’s event in fourth place.  Ed Brown started from the third place on the grid for the No. 02 team where he battled the traffic en route to some of his fastest P2 laps of the season.  Brown drove the first half of the race before turning the race car over to co-driver Johannes van Overbeek.

During his stint, van Overbeek regained some track position and made progress in his first P2 race at Lime Rock Park.

At the conclusion of the race, ALMS officials charged the Level 5 Briscoe/Scott Tucker P2 entry with a penalty for avoidable contact.  The No. 01 drivers of Sharp and Cosmo were listed as the second place race finishers but were awarded maximum points for the event.

Next up for the Extreme Speed Motorsports team is the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on July 19-21.

 

Scott Sharp

“It was a great weekend all the way around for ESM/Patrón. We’ve been working hard.  We chose not to go to Le Mans and figured we really needed to work on these cars.  I think it is paying off.  We closed the gap tremendously to Level 5.  We have a lot of work left to do, for sure.

“The team deserves a ton of credit; great accolades to every single one of them for the efforts today, this week and the June break.  The drivers are getting more comfortable with the car and the engineers are getting comfortable with the setup, so all that’s really good.

“The first stint I had was tough.  We wore the tires out. We had a ton of pick-up on them.  Traffic was unbearable in moments, but that was pretty much the same for everybody.  So, it was a little bit frustrating.  Surprisingly, leading helped you with traffic. Usually if you’re second or third, the leader catches traffic and you catch him.  It seemed like it didn’t work that way here.  The leader got through holes and left second and third trying to get through those same holes and opening up a lead.  The same thing happened once Guy took the lead, so that worked to our advantage later.

“I was happy with my stint.  The car just got very hard to drive towards the end of it.  But from the sounds of it, that’s the way it was for everybody.  The car was really sliding around, both ends.

“Guy got in and did a great job.  He held challenges off, duked it out well with Ryan Briscoe of Level 5, and responded well with lap times.  He did everything we asked of him today.  I think he clearly deserved to win the race.

“I think it was pretty ridiculous that Briscoe just chose to rough him up and spin him out in order to win the race.  Frankly, what makes me madder than anything is that was the fifth time this weekend that Level 5 hit one of our cars.  We all race very expensive, very fragile race cars and we just don’t need to be driving like that.  We haven’t hit them at all.  It is 5-0 at the moment and that’s going to stop, one way or another.”

 

Ed Brown

“It was a decent weekend but once again Lime Rock kind of bit us.  Hopefully the series does the right thing. They didn’t do the right thing during the race, which should have been handled immediately.

“The team worked hard this weekend. It was really hot and really hard on the crews, but as always they did a great job.  We showed that we have the most speed between the P2s.  Now it is just going to get better as we move on.

“That was definitely the best run I had in the P2 car.  I really worked through traffic.  I was the fastest P2 car for the last 10 minutes of my stint because I had better tires than everybody.

“I learned a lot today with the traffic.  It gets better and better.  I think the test sessions really paid off and we’ll get stronger as the summer goes on.”

 

Johannes van Overbeek

“The car was good. We had a lot of trouble with pick up today; picking up the little balls of rubber that come off the tires, which made it very difficult to drive.  The team did a great job.  Ed and I need to work on our driver change practice.  From a strategy and team execution perspective, we did everything we could of to get things done.

“Hopefully the No. 01 car gets their first place back after they were robbed.  All in all it was a good weekend.  We learned a lot about the cars.  I’m looking forward to Mosport.

“Traffic was fine today.  Some of the guys are very predictable and easy to deal with, some are loose cannons and you have really be careful. Basically everybody is fighting for the same about of real estate.  The good and smart guys realize it is a good and cooperative endeavor and you need to work together to get through traffic collectively well.”

 

Guy Cosmo

“We were really cruising there.  We had a great car at the end of the day.  Scott did a great job in the beginning.  We had a lot of mishaps leading up to the race. We made our guys work really hard.  As always, the ESM Patrón guys did an incredible job prepping the cars and giving us good equipment.

“It was going well and at the end of the day, our competitors just don’t like playing nice.  Unfortunately they resorted to some very unsportsmanlike conduct to try to win.  I’m disappointed on a number of levels: that’s how they choose to carry themselves and no decision was made for what is obviously intentional contact that changed the outcome of the race.  The officiating hadn’t made any decision to do so before the end of the race.  Here we are collecting the second place trophies when we had that race won.

“We will persevere.  I’ve said it before, if they’re not going to play nice, there’s no more Mr. Nice Guy.”

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