Mustang Sampling Racing came through with a hard-fought sixth-place finish in Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. The team led the race early in the going as it looked to add to its strong record of success at the track.
Filipe Albuquerque, Joao Barbosa and Mike Conway combined in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi V.R for the six hour endurance classic. Early in the race, the No. 5 lost track position with a brief off track excursion that saw the team go off-sequence.
With the front-runners setting a relentless pace, the team was hoping for a caution to reset the field, but that break never materialized in a race dominated by long stretches of green-flag running.
Fighting to stay on the lead lap on multiple occasions, the Mustang Sampling Racing entry moved into sixth on lap 57, and stayed in that position all the way to the checkered flag.
“The car was very, very good!” said Albuquerque. “I am quite happy with the work we have been doing. This season we have had weekends where we struggled with the overall setup of the car, but today we nailed it. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t our day. We had some bad luck getting caught in incidents that were out of our control. I am happy that we are finally understanding where we need to set up the car but we had too many struggles today to get us anywhere.”
Barbosa was looking to become the leading overall winner of the Sahlen’s Six Hours, entering the race tied with Scott Pruett with four victories apiece. At one point, he managed to hold off the two Mazda DPis for several laps, avoiding falling two laps down. The Mazdas eventually finished 1-2 in the event.
“It was a very hard race for us,” Barbosa said. “We did not have the outright pace and things did not work out for us. I had a tough first stint – there was no grip and I was fighting the car the entire time. The second stint went much better with everything working well. There were no yellows when we needed them, which did not help our situation. At the end, we were just counting down to the finish since we had no real chance to fight for position. We need to find the changes that make the car better so we can have a better weekend next weekend at Mosport.”
Conway joined Mustang Sampling Racing for the race, coming off a second-place overall finish in the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“The first initial problem that we had came when Felipe’s (Nasr in the No. 31 Cadillac) tire blew out, causing us to pit as well,” said Conway. “That threw us off sequence, which continued when we had to pit again – knocking us a lap down. We went into managing what we could do and fighting to get our lap back. It’s always great to be back in the Mustang Sampling Cadillac! It has been a while and great fun to drive it around Watkins Glen. The AXR team gave a great effort today. It was my first time racing the car on Michelin tires. It is a different compound, but the car was dialed in and hooked up. We just didn’t have the pace to keep up today.”
Mustang Sampling Racing now goes north of the border for Sunday’s Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport), the seventh race of the 10-event DPi campaign.
Source. Sunday Group