Elkhart Lake, Wisc. (5 August 2018) Mustang Sampling Racing finished with a hard-fought seventh on Sunday in the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase for drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R.
Returning from a wrist injury suffered in training that forced him to miss two IMSA events, Barbosa started the race from ninth on the three-class field for the two-hour, forty-minute event. The multi-time IMSA champion was able to move to sixth before turning the controls over to Albuquerque during a full course caution pit stop.
The rapid pit work of the Mustang Sampling crew saw Albuquerque emerge from the pits fourth in the order and able to move to third on the restart. He raced forward to run in second position for nearly 20 laps as the team looked to continue its championship momentum at the Wisconsin track.
A final pit stop on lap 54 saw him return to the field eighth in the order. The pit cycling put him firmly in the mix with the GT field as he worked to claw back the track position while also safely navigating through the slower traffic. As the frantic final minutes of the race clicked off, Albuquerque came home seventh at the line in his first-ever Road America race outing.
“We started well and moved from the back all the up to P2 which was amazing,” said Albuquerque. “At the end, I was starting to pick up understeer on the restarts. It seemed like the LMP2 cars could go longer on fuel. We couldn’t win against them with the fuel capacity. I did my race and in the end I had to push a lot on the last stint when I was behind the GT’s but had destroyed the front tires. We lost time there and at the end I had no pace since the tires were gone. It was all about the last 20 minutes. It’s incredible how the races in America play like this! You can look good for the whole race but then you go in for the last pit stop, boom, that’s it.”
The return to racing was something that Barbosa had been eagerly awaiting through his recuperation as the Road America race already has him looking ahead to the next outing in September.
“It felt really good to be back,” said Barbosa. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t the comeback we were hoping for! The potential was absolutely there. We had such a strong race car but it just didn’t play out. It was a great effort by everyone. Some of the luck was on our side and some of it wasn’t but that’s the way it goes sometimes. It’s frustrating after having the pace we had during the race and being strong. We were really good for such a long time and then one of the yellows came at the wrong time which helped others while hurting us. The end result is disappointing and causes us to fall back a bit in championship points but we still have two races to go. Like today, IMSA has some very exciting racing where anything can happen, so it’s a long way to go”
The next race for the Mustang Sampling Racing squad will be the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix featuring America’s Tire 250 on September 7th – 9th.