Very Busy Marino
Let’s begin by correcting one mistake in the GT1 round up from Paul Ricard – it wasn’t Christophe Bouchut who set the 2:06 in the B-Racing Lamborghini, it was Marino Franchitti. And he set that in the damp on the second morning (Wednesday).

“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.

“When 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 wet.”

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.”

How 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.

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