Goossens Then Beretta Join Milka
might have seen the news – in the Laguna
Seca preview – that Marc Goossens is joining Milka Duno
in Monterey this weekend, in the CITGO Racing by SAMAX Riley Pontiac.
The tall Belgian
will race at three events in total during the balance of this season,
with GM’s Olivier Beretta racing with the extrovert Ms. Duno
in the remainder.
press release boasts that “the car is now the newest race
car on the Rolex Series grid. The #11 boasts a brand new Riley chassis,
new Bosch electronics, a Pontiac engine from Hasselgren Engineering
and an all new paint scheme.”
The team also
has a new engineer: Steve Challis, a Champ Car engineer for the
past 10 years. Ironically, he’s worked with Dario Franchitti
in the past.
bother Marino is the man who has vacated the seat of the Riley:
he’s been fighting against an old(er) chassis (the Robinson
Racing example) and a series of engineers (four already), but has
performed flawlessly since the start of the season (at Mexico, below).
His connection with Milka Duno dates back to the Rolex 24 in 2005,
a race that saw the Franchittis and Dan Wheldon well up in the top
six – until Duno crashed the CITGO Crawford at dawn.
competition is extremely fierce and I am extremely anxious to help
my new team, beginning at Phoenix!” says Olivier Beretta.
But first of
all it’s Marc Goossens’ chance – to try and emulate
the feats of Andy Wallace, who produced some extraordinary drives
in the Milka Duno (Crawford) car in 2004 and 2005 – famously
winning at Homestead in late 2004, after driving for 2 hours and
17 minutes, in conditions of very high humidity, in a very hot Crawford.
This was the pair’s second win at Homestead that year –
Wallace having watched two of GM’s factory drivers (?) fight
their own war in the second race of the year. Both lost, Wallace
anything other than a pro-pro combination will find it all but impossible
to secure a podium finish in the Rolex Series this year, but wherever
the CITGO Riley happens to be at the first caution, you can be sure
that Goossens or Beretta will do their utmost to haul it up the
Marc (Goossens) in the car we should be able to work more closely
with them on engineering and set up issues and help advance the
development of the car,” says Bill Riley. “With the
upcoming testing and our support we expect to see the car at the
have been working really hard to make our team and car as strong
as possible,” said Milka Duno (left, with Sylvia Proudfoot),
“and I would like to thank Marino Franchitti for his valuable
contribution this season. The addition of factory drivers and a
top engineer proves that we are on the right track. The series has
become so competitive that it is critical to get as much help as
possible to get to the front, which we will be making every effort
front” / “get to the front” – we’ll
see what Laguna Seca has in store for the #11 Riley. Almost every
component of the team has now been changed.
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