Detroit, Mich. (3 June 2017) – After leading the race early and fighting through an intense 100-minute battle on Detroit’s temporary street circuit, Mustang Sampling Racing drivers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi finished fourth with the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R on Saturday.
The race, which was the fifth round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship, saw the championship-winning duo start from the pole position for the third consecutive year as Fittipaldi took the point at the drop of the green to lead the opening 20 laps of the race.
With a full course caution coming 30 minutes into the race, the Action Express Racing crew called Fittipaldi to bring the No. 5 Cadillac in for full service.
“It was pretty straight forward, not a lot happened in my stint,” said Fittipaldi. “The car was good, it wasn’t excellent, but it was good. We were hanging in there and then I think a bunch of different scenarios made our life a little bit more challenging and we ended up fourth. We are definitely not happy with this, but forth is better than fifth and if you can’t win you need to try and collect as much points as possible and that’s what we did today.”
Barbosa returned to the fray with fresh Continental Tires and a full load of fuel. Restarting from second in the order, Barbosa was shuffled back on the return to green action, but worked to claw back time and track position. Pitting on lap 34 for a final dash of fuel, Barbosa fell to sixth but kept the focus forward with the Mustang Sampling machine as the team worked to secure another victory at the Detroit facility.
The IMSA Prototype class battle was one for the ages, as a wide range of manufactures and chassis makes fought in the top five as the race sprinted to the finish. Barbosa came up one spot shy of a podium with a fourth place finish as the affable Portuguese racer continues to have his eyes forward on the season with this new Cadillac DPi.
“We learned a lot in a short period of time this weekend with the Mustang Sampling car,” said Barbosa, who led an Action Express 1-2 at the track in 2012. “We got a little bit unlucky to be behind a P2 car that had good pace in the straights, so he was hard to overtake. It was one of those races that didn’t go our way, but we continue to learn and keep getting better.”
The next IMSA outing for the Mustang Sampling will be the fabled 6 Hours at Watkins Glen on on June 29 – July 2.