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Grand-Am: Bittersweet end for Ruby Tuesday.


The Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing team made it to the end of the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Sunday, but there was little joy to be found among a crew that had had high hopes of victory to take away the sense of frustration at losing out in 2006.

However, having had to tackle problems right from the start of the event, the #23 car was never going to be a factor for first place, leaving Patrick Long, Jorg Bergmeister and Romain Dumas to try and salvage what they could. As dawn approached for the final six hours, the team was hoping that rain presented the only remaining adversity, with Dumas doing his best to keep the white machine on track in treacherous conditions.

"After our early problems, we just tried to be consistent and earn some points towards the championship, so, when it was raining, I was a little bit afraid because I had never driven this car in the wet before," the Frenchman said, "When the heavy rain came down, I did not want to take any chances. I knew the car was quick, but it made no sense to put it at risk."

Finishing his final stint in eighth place, Dumas handed the #23 over eleven laps off the pace of the leader, and a switch to slick tyres seemed to help Bergmeister start to chase down the seventh-placed #61 car. Just as the team set its sites on improving its position, however, an accident for the #02 made the battle one for sixth. But, just as it appeared that the Ruby Tuesday car's luck may be about to change, Bergmeister spun coming out of the chicane and backed the car into the wall, leaving it in need of repairs to its left rear corner.

"On the last stop, we did not put new tyres on the car and, during the next stint, I experienced more and more oversteer," Bergmeister revealed, "When I got into the chicane, I started to slide, hit a wet spot and went off the track."

For the third time in more than 20 hours, the #23 team had to fix a damaged car, replacing the left rear suspension, the oil tank and lines, the fuel line, the exhaust system, the rear wing assembly and the rear deck - all in just under one hour. By the time Bergmeister returned to the track, the car was 42 laps down, and in 18th position.

Long ran the final stint in the car, eventually reaching the chequered flag with 615 laps to the team's credit, but with no change in its position, which equated to twelfth in the Daytona Prototype class.

"Our finish was bittersweet," the American said, "In the end, we finished, but we had to bounce back from some adversity. We definitely showed what we are as a team and as a unit - these crew guys never gave up - so we'll go back to the drawing board and improve on the areas that need improvement."


Related Pictures

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Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. GRAND-AM Championship Weekend Presented by BMW at Lime Rock Park. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. Continental Tire Sports Car Festival. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Action. VisitFlorida.com Sports Car 250 at Road America. Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series [Pic credit: Grand AM]
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Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype (left) to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Alex Gurney and Jo Fogarty, drivers of the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP (right) finish in second place. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
John Edwards and Robin Liddell, drivers of the # 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R., race to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the Grand Touring (GT) class of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Juan Pablo Montoya, Memo Rojas, Scott Pruett and Charlie Kimball, co-drivers of the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates TELMEX/Target Ford BMW Riley celebrate their win in victory lane at the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 27, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Rolex Series action [Pic credit: Grand-Am]
Alex Popow and Sebastian Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Ford Riley, celebrate in Victory Lane after wininng the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Alex Popow and Sebastien Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Soloson Ford Riley, celebrate after winning the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The winning #60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley car is brought into victory lane after a gruelling 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona. [Picture Credit: Daytona International Speedway]
Action Express win the Rolex 24 [Pic credit: Grand Am]
Derek Johnston [Pic credit: Grand Am]
Vic Elford, the 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona Grand Marshal (Photo credit: Motorsports Images and Archives)
The No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Porsche Coyote that will be tested by 2009 Radical European Masters Champion Derek Johnston at Virginia International Raceway
Max Angelelli and Brian Friselle win at Daytona [Pic credit: Grand Am Media]
Alex Gurney/Jon Fogarty - GAINSCO Bob Stallings Racing Riley-Pontiac   [pic credit: Grand-Am]

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