Posted (09/20/2011) -
LEXINGTON, Ohio—Things were looking really good for RSR Motorsports at Mid-Ohio. Sarah Cattaneo put the No. 198 RSR Motorsports MINI Cooper S on the Street Tuner pole for Saturday’s GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race, and led throughout her stint. A broken shift cable, however, ended the team’s hopes of the ST championship.
Cattaneo and co-driver Owen Trinkler entered the season finale just nine points out of the championship lead. Trinkler was poised to take the race win and the championship for RSR Motorsports, Cruise America and Thor Motor Coach before the shift cable broke with only 20 minutes left in the 2.5-hour race.
Still, the race wasn’t without its high notes. It was the first time Cattaneo has led the ST field. “I figured if I was out front, I could bring the car back in one piece. That was my motivation!” she says. “It was tough this year. Everything was a challenge, which only made us work that much harder to get to where we did. We always wanted to do better. Working with Owen this year made my driving improve so much. I can’t thank him enough.”
Trinkler and Cattaneo wound up fourth in the ST team championship. While he was still leading the race, Trinkler teamed up with Chris Puskar in the No. 195 RSR Motorsports MINI. “We were working together. He was pushing me down the back straight. It felt like we were at Daytona the way we ran together and could push past cars with more power,” Trinkler says.
Puskar set the fastest ST lap of the race with a 1:35.104. Unfortunately, the No. 195 MINI that Puskar shared with Dicky Riegel retired with just nine minutes left in the race after an earlier impact broke a wheel hub. Puskar had to pit, giving up the race lead.
Mark Congleton and Chris Dyer finished 18th in the No. 197 RSR Motorsports MINI Cooper S. Their lap times were on par with the top-five cars, but they were a lap down following an early pit stop.
The No. 196 US LED MINI Cooper S of Ron Farmer and Jason Hart had a rough start. A violent crash on lap one took them out of the race. The MINI was badly damaged, but Farmer walked away unharmed.
“What a disappointing finish to an otherwise great weekend. Sarah was amazing and really stepped up by qualifying first. When the green flag waved, she took off and left everyone,” says Smalley, who is already planning RSR’s run at the 2012 championship. “We have great cars, the chemistry on this team is really good, and we’re looking forward to next year.”
Watch Cattaneo, Trinkler and Puskar lead the ST field during the race broadcast on SPEED. It airs on Sunday, September 25, at 1:00 p.m. ET. Keep up with RSR Motorsports as they prepare for the 2012 season at www.RSRMotorsports.com.
RSR Motorsports is sponsored by Cruise America, Thor Motor Coach, US LED, MINI USA, Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers, Performance Friction Rotors, OS Giken Racing Clutches and Limited Slip Differentials, Midway Ford Truck Sales, Mini North Scottsdale, Performance Speed Tech, and Carbotech Pads.