Race 1 went to plan for Roger Lago, Race 2 however…

Roger Lago and David Russell took out race 1 at Sydney Motorsports Park in the JBS Lamborghini
Roger Lago and David Russell took out race 1 at Sydney Motorsports Park in the JBS Lamborghini

Roger Lago stepped into the Sergeant Security Australian GT Championship in 2012, having previously competed in the GT3 Porsche Challenge in the past.  Racing a Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 (LP600) he has set some great lap times, notably at the Bathurst 12 Hour and also in the GT Championship.

He wasn’t expected to fight for victory in the GT Championship – given the level of competition that the Series now has.  He defied the pundits, together with co-driver, David Russel, he took the win in race 1 at Sydney Motorsports Park.  Race 2 did not go to plan and a heavy crash near the end of the race soured what was a strong weekend.

We caught up with Roger after his weekend.

Hi Roger, thanks for joining me – an up and down weekend for you – your first Australian GT win on the Saturday, then a crash on the Sunday. 

We had [pro driver] David Russell on board this weekend.  We had to decide for qualifying if we would go for pole or run conservative and shuffle down the order [in the Australian GT Championship, the further up the grid you are, the longer your mandatory pitstop is].  We took the conservative route and we put it on p5 – which is where we wanted to be in relation to other drivers.  I did my best in the first stint to stay with the lead pack in race 1.  David jumped in the car after about half an hour – where he was able to mow Peter Hackett down to take the victory.  That went to plan.

In race two, David stated and had to get a wiggle on.  He did that but unfortunately a safety car got called after about 20 minutes which blew us out of the water.  We were never going to make up that gap that he’d amassed.  I got in the car and got past a few guys – Tony [Quinn], Ben [Eggleston] in the Aston.  Then coming out of turn nine, I went in too quick, the back snapped around on me and I was just a passenger.

Do you know how bad the damage is?

We have to pull it apart this week and have a look. It still rolls straight, the doors shut and the roof is fine.  There is not much at the front of the Lambos so it looks worse than it probably is.  We have to order parts so I don’t think I will be at Phillip Island, so we will work towards Gold Coast.

The Lamborghini has been quick this year – the win at Sydney Motorsports Park and you were quick at Bathurst.  Are you happy with your transition from the Porsches you used to drive to the GT3 Lamborghini?

Obviously the Lambo is a much easier car to drive with the ABS and traction control, paddles behind the steering wheel as well.  It also has good aero and good speed.  Dave sets the car up well, it is also good on its tyres.  I think any track we go to we will be strong – the Lambo is definitely one of the cars to have in GT racing.  I am pretty happy with the purchase but unfortunately we have had a few hiccups this year.  We were never going to win the Championship, missing two rounds of the GT.  That pressure wasn’t there but we wanted to do well for sponsors.  So we need to get the car together again for the Gold Coast.  We then go to Homebush and look for a bit of luck.  Next year we hope to do the full GT Championship season and being even stronger.

David jumped in the car after about half an hour – where he was able to mow Peter Hackett down to take the victory.  That went to plan.

Are you looking to do the Bathurst 12 Hour again next year?

The car was meant to be rolled into a container in two weeks time to do the Malaysia 12 Hour at Sepang.  I had the team and drivers booked but we have had to cancel that unfortunately.   The plan was to do Sepang, miss Phillip Island and do the Gold Coast race.  To be honest, the 12 Hour is the furthest thing from my mind at the moment.  Just looking to get through the rest of this year then evaluate that.  Obviously we didn’t have the best time of it this year.  We will see who is entered and how I am feeling in December to see if I want to have another crack.

Thanks Roger


Interview by Sam Tickell July 2012
Photo by Nathan Wong/www.thenationals.com.au

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