Porsche Motorsport press release
Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR Grabs Second GT Win in Three Races as ALMS Debuts in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Shines before Huge Crowd Saturday
Baltimore, Maryland – September 3 – Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Bryan Sellers (USA) avoided a first turn squeeze which brought most of the field to a stop, took advantage of good traffic skills to take the lead, and moved into first place for good when the two cars ahead of them knocked each other off the track to capture the GT win in their Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
For Henzler and Sellers, it was their second victory in three races – they won four weeks ago at Mid-Ohio – and elevated the driver into fourth place in the American Le Mans Series GT standings.
The American Le Mans Series Baltimore Grand Prix will broadcast tomorrow, Sunday, September 4, at 4:00 PM EDT on ABC-TV.
Henzler was fastest in the first practice on Friday, and third in the second practice, but was determined to make up for a disappointing qualifying result (fifth).
“We had a great setup for the race, and our Falken Tires were very consistent for my whole stint. I made it around the initial pile-up at turn one at the start of the race, but then a Corvette spun in front of me and I couldn’t avoid him. Fortunately, neither car was damaged, and I was able to get by along with #55 BMW. It was very hard to pass, and I was able to take advantage of a prototype in the corner to make the pass on Dirk Werner for first. This course was great fun, and we proved that Falken can win in the dry as well as the wet (at Mid-Ohio),” said Henzler.
Seller was equally excited – as much for the team as he was for himself.
“Wolf Henzler did his usual incredible job for the first stint, and I drove one of my best sessions ever – motivated by the great effort this team has put in all year. They deserved this win, and I’m honored to be a part of it. This was unbelievable,” said Sellers.
Bad luck continued for last year’s GT champions from Flying Lizard Motorsports. The #45 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, driven by Patrick Long (USA) and Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) qualified third, but then were pushed to the back of the grid with an IMSA penalty resulting from contact with the Risi Ferrari in qualifying. Then, Patrick passed a group of cars at turn one, also avoiding the mele, only to shear a driveshaft later in lap one. After they lost 14 laps in the pits, the returned to the fray, only to finish 11th – just out of the points. Neither driver could find anything positive about the weekend or the season.
“This season began badly, and then it got worse,” said Bergmeister simply.
“We have had so much bad luck, it just can’t get any worse. The Flying Lizards just have to regroup and go after the championship next year, and we could get off to a good start with top finishes at these last two events,” Long added.
A glimmer of good news for the Lizards – Darren Law and Seth Neiman (both USA) continued their streak of top ten finishes with a fine eighth place in Baltimore with their #44 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
The Paul Miller Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR scored its best finish of the season – a fourth place in GT – with Bryce Miller (USA) and Sascha Maassen (Germany). Miller, whose father Paul owns a Porsche dealership in Parsippany, New Jersey, thinks the team really gelled this weekend.
“After we had some encouraging results with our tires at Long Beach, Sascha and I had circled this race as one in which we had the potential to finish well. It didn’t start off well as I was in a Jaguar/BMW sandwich at turn one, and I was afraid we would have tire rub or other damage, but we escaped unscathed and the car ran well. We got the tire pressures right, and we had tire left at the end when others were going away. I had a great race with Guy Cosmo, and Sascha did a great job, holding off Jamie Melo in the Ferrari at the end. We have a young crew, but they really want to win. Everyone hit their marks this weekend – it was great to be in the hunt in this strong class,” said Miller.
The manufacturers points have tightened up with two races to go, with Porsche (107) passing Chevrolet (103) for second place. BMW leads with 133 points.
In GT Challenge, Tim Pappas (USA) and Jeroen Bleekemolen (The Netherlands) went flag-to-flag to lengthen their lead in GTC by guiding their Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup to its third win of the season. For Pappas, it was his eighth ALMS class win, and for Bleekemolen, his seventh.
“I mananged to avoid the turn one debacle as I saw a hole on the outside line, and from there, it was smooth sailing. Using our Long Beach setup, the crew had all the right ajustments, and out pit stop and driver change was great. And, with Jeroen saving our only mistake during qualifying by rescuing the wheel and then putting the car on the pole, it was fitting that he brought the car home to victory,” said Pappas.
“This tire rescue incident yesterday is already on YouTube, and fans were stopping me today and applauding me for it. My father, racing in Holland, saw it and my brother, racing in Spain, saw it as well. Fortunately, today was much less eventful, and we were pleased to get the win,” said Bleekemolen.
The Bill Sweedler/Leh Keen Alex Job Racing Battery Tender Porsche 911 GT3 Cup finished second in GTC – their best finish since Long Beach.
"It was a crazy start," Sweedler said. "I saw a small hole on the outside and went for it. It proved to be the right move as the cars that went to the inside were completely stopped. It is a great new track here in the streets of Baltimore - Long Beach on steroids. I have to hand it to the 54 guys who drove today; they were very tough this weekend. I could keep pressure on them at the start and was right on their bumper nearly the entire stint. Leh took over and did a great job to bring the car home in second. We had a good day. The car was great and we both had a clean drive."
The Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of John Potter and Craig Stanton was third in GTC, only six seconds behind the Battery Tender car.