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Tough Breaks Mar Season Opener For Marcelli at Sebring

Kyle Marcelli's day unraveled early at Sebring. Photo courtesy of Kyle MarcelliIt was not the way Merchant Services Racing driver Kyle Marcelli wanted to kick off his 2012 American Le Mans Series campaign. After being signed to the newly formed team less than four weeks ago, the 22-year old Canadian race driver was selected by the team to drive the first stint and take the green flag at the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. After starting eighth on the grid, Marcelli raced to the front where he positioned the #8 Merchant Services Racing LMPC second place in class for the first hour of the race.

After starting with such promise, Marcelli suffered a broken steering rack at the apex of the extremely fast and bumpy turn one approximately three laps before the team's first scheduled pit stop. After the break, Marcelli managed to slowly get the car back to pit-lane where the experienced crew took it behind the wall for repair.

Losing little time, the team had replaced the damaged steering rack and Marcelli returned to the track to test the repair. After a quick two laps around the 3.7-mile circuit, Marcelli concluded that everything was working properly and made a scheduled pit stop to get co-driver Dean Stirling behind the wheel.

After completing only about five laps, Stirling unfortunately found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time as two GT cars made contact in front of him in turn seventeen. With little time to react and nowhere to go, he made contact which ended the race and any chance of victory for the #8 Merchant Services Racing LMPC driven by Marcelli, Stirling and Lucas Downs.

“The team had been working around the clock the last four-weeks since the launch of Merchant Services Racing. Following the announcement of the driver line-up, everyone was eager to get the program underway. Our Sebring result was in no way a reflection of the teams preparation, hard work and passion. It was simply circumstances out of anyone’s control that put us out. It’s a shame to start the season with zero points but I know it’s made everyone more hungry for victory in Long Beach,” Marcelli said.

Next up is the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach April 13th to 14th 2012. Tune in to ESPN2 (Sportsnet in Canada) at 7:30PM EST and watch the world’s most exotic GT and Prototype sports cars race their way around the 1.7-mile street course in downtown Long Beach, California.

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