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Rolex Grand Am GT - Segal And Assentato Build GT Points Lead At Mid-Ohio

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LEXINGTON, June 10, 2012: Jeff Segal, with co-driver Emil Assentato, finished second in Saturday’s EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to build his biggest GT points lead of the season in the No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am that has finished no lower than fourth in the last five races.

The runner-up placing was the fourth podium appearance of the 2012 season for Segal and Assentato after scoring back-to-back wins earlier in the year at Homestead-Miami Speedway and New Jersey Motorsports Park. Segal and his teammates also finished second in March’s race at Barber Motorsports Park and fourth last week in Detroit.

Saturday at Mid-Ohio, starting driver Assentato did a great job recovering from an early bump-and-run hit from a Daytona Prototype and handed the Ferrari over to Segal just past the race’s one hour mark.

“It was a really close race like it always seems to be at Mid-Ohio,” Segal said. “We were off pit sequence all day on fuel strategy, we pitted early on the first yellow and nobody else took it, but we knew we needed it. We knew we couldn’t do the race on two stops, so we pitted early and then got some help from the cautions. We gained some track position and then fought to hold on at the end.”

Segal led two laps with less than an hour to go in the race but was content with the second-place run after the early close call.

“Second place wasn’t perfect but it was a damn good recovery,” Segal said. “We had contact early in the race, and fell way back, but Emil recovered and drove a really strong stint. We knew we had a good race car so we just kept chipping away at it. We leap frogged a couple of people through some crafty pit strategy that played out earlier in the race and at the end we were P2, a nice podium at Mid-Ohio, and we extended the points lead a little bit. It was a good day.”

Segal added to his GT class championship lead for the third consecutive race and now has an 11 point edge on the competition, his first double-digit points lead of the season. Segal and Assentato, the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT champions, now have 185 points while nearest challenger Robin Liddell has 174 points. The No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am leads the team championship standings with the same points total and margin.

Segal and his AIM Autosport Team FXDD teammates also raced Saturday in support of Ferrari’s fundraising effort for the victims of the recent earthquakes in Italy. Two devastating earthquakes shook the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy last month, not far from the Ferrari factory. A 6.0-magnitude quake May 20th and a 5.8-magnitude tremor May 30th left a wake of destruction and countless victims. Ferrari quickly announced its online auction for the relief effort and Segal and AIM Autosport Team FXDD jumped at the chance to extend some support.

“We were racing for a win, we were racing for points and we were also racing to promote the charity auction that has going on right now to benefit the earthquake victims in the Emilia region around the Ferrari factory,” Segal said. “There’s lots of F1 memorabilia pieces that are up for auction, all of the proceeds go to the victims in that region, and we are going to donate a portion of our prize money from Mid-Ohio to the cause as well. So a good finish, some good winnings and a good donation for them.”