There was plenty of head-scratching at Alex Job Racing following the three-day test session ahead of the Rolex 24 at Daytona after the team struggled to find the best set-up for the new Pirelli tyre to be used in 2008.

Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand, Patrick Long and Andy Wallace were at the wheel of the Ruby Tuesday Crawford for the three-day session but Auberlen admitted that the team was struggling to get the best out of the car on the new rubber.

"As far as the Crawford and Pirelli combination goes, this is a bit of a mystery to us," he said. "I don't think I've ever come to a three-day test and done that many things to a car - ever. We threw everything including the kitchen sink at it.

"We made so many changes that you can not evaluate all of them here. There's no way to know what the best combination is going to be. We are going to have to go back and stare at the computer, stare at the results, look at the data, look at everything we did and then decide on a combination and put it in the car."

Team-mate Wallace, who joins the team for an event he has won himself in the past, agreed that the squad was finding the going tough.

"We're struggling, we really are," he said. "We're struggling to make the car match the tyre. But, we've still got some time [to figure it out]. We've made a little bit of progress, but I don't think we are getting to the root cause of the problem. We're just changing a few things around it. But, as always, at the Daytona test there are a lot of cars that are out on the track.

"I am not worried; we'll get to the bottom of it. But, at the moment the car is very nervous. So, it is hard to drive the car at its limit consistently. If you put a new set of tyres on it and go out and really wind yourself up, you can get a [good] lap out of it. But, you couldn't drive it like that for 24 hours. So, that is what we are working on.

"Whenever things are tricky, you come away from a test with a lot of questions and you also come away with some of the answers hidden in some of the data. It's not always obvious what the answers are while you're there, but quite often you have to go back and analyze the data."

However, despite the problems, team boss Alex Job remained optimistic about the chances of race success.

"We made a lot of progress," he said. "We are not exactly where we want to be yet, but we made a lot of progress over the past three days and we feel much better now than we did at the start of the weekend. We've still got a lot of work to do in the next two and a half weeks before we come back for the race. We have a clear direction now and we're very optimistic.

"All four of the drivers did everything and more than we expected, as did the team and the car. The close working relationship with Crawford is working out great. We haven't shown our full potential yet. There is no prize for these three days, but there will be when we come back. You always walk away with new questions, but we clearly got a lot of answers to a lot of things. So, we made a lot of progress and I am very optimistic."

 

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