Franchittis aim to make a splash at the Beach

Bathgate’s Dario Franchitti bids to build on his fourth-place finish in the opening round of the IndyCar Championship when he tackles this weekend’s Grand Prix of Long Beach in California.

The 35-year-old Scot, who has twice finished second on the 1.9-mile street circuit, is eager to maintain the momentum he set on his return to IndyCar after a 12-month break in Nascar.

“Getting back into the Chip Ganassi Racing single-seater in the last round in Florida was awesome,” Franchitti admitted today, “ and I’m determined to at least finish on the podium this weekend.

“Long Beach is a fantastic place to race and I’ve had some good finished there. Hopefully we can turn the wick up a bit this weekend, get another good result and ideally get that first win of the season.”

Franchitti will again come under pressure from the Penske of Aussie Ryan Briscoe, who won the opening round in Florida, and Texan Ryan Hunter-Reay who finished second for Vision Racing.

Meanwhile Franchitti’s younger brother Marino tomorrow tackles the second round of the American Le Mans Series on the same 1.9-mile circuit. The 30-year-old, who finished on the podium in the opening round two weeks ago, was second-fastest in LMP2 pre-qualifying.

“We’ve improved the car since the opening round in Florida,” the 30-year-old, who will again partner American Butch Leitzinger in their Dyson-Mazda, said today. “I think we can push hard for the win this weekend.JM

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