“I spent the first day getting used to the
track and the car,” explains the Scot. “I hadn’t
driven at Ricard, and hadn’t driven the Lamborghini before.
“They’re a really good team. The race engineer and I
put our heads together and changed the set-up for the second day,
and the car was going really well.
I set the 2:06 we were within two seconds of the Zakspeed Saleen,
which was encouraging – and that was with half a tank of fuel
and old tyres. It would have been nice to have had a go on fresh
rubber, but I had to leave the circuit at lunchtime. I was staying
right off the kerbs when I set the time, because they were still
So how did this test come about?
“My manager, Kaye Wilson, has been talking
to the team for some time, and the opportunity came up. The team
has two cars, but some of the FIA races clash with my Grand Am commitments,
so we’ll have to see what happens.”
Franchitti had arrived in the south of France from
Mexico City, where he’d been racing the CITGO by SAMAX Riley
with Milka Duno.
“We’re currently using the George Robinson
car, while we wait for our new chassis, which should be ready just
before or just after Long Beach. It was a tough weekend, but everyone
in the team works at a high level, which makes me confident for
the rest of the year. The Riley certainly seems to suit Milka, but
she was unfortunate to be forced over the white line by a backmarker,
which put us a lap down.”
did this season-long drive come about?
“Well we’d raced with Milka at Daytona
in 2005, so that led to the race there this year, and there was
talk then of doing the whole season. Milka and I get on well, and
with a good relationship with the CITGO people, it was a natural
fit. Milka is becoming more confident, and I’m hopeful of
some very good results, especially once we get the new car.”
The next race is Homestead later this month, and
Marino’s brother Dario will be racing at the same meeting,
in his IRL car. The Rolex cars race on the Saturday, March 25.