September 17, 2012 (Los Angeles, Calif.) - It was Deja-Vu for Duncan Ende, Henri Richard, and the Dempsey/Silicon Tech Racing team as an accident just after the start of the American Le Mans Series Tequila Patron 240 saw the no. 25 STANDD / Monster Digital / Racer's Roast.com / Merchant Services Oreca FLM09 Chevrolet sustain heavy damage. The incident, triggered by a P1 car that went out of control, caused a melee that caught up several cars, including Richard's.
Similar to the incident at the start of the Baltimore Sports Car Challenge, Richard was hit from behind by GT-class cars, which caused substantial damage to the rear bodywork and aerodynamics of the car. The incident dropped Richard to the rear of the field, but he was able to make progress and work up to fourth in the PC class until incurring a penalty for contact with another car.
Ende took over the car just after the one-hour mark during a full course caution - and would end up driving two hours and forty-five minutes straight, all under green flag conditions. Despite going off-course to avoid a wayward GT-class car in the Hog Pen section of VIR, Ende would bring the car home in fifth place, narrowly missing on fourth position.
"With all of the fast corners and long straightaways, VIR is not the place where you want to get in the car with the aerodynamics compromised," said Ende. "I was pushing hard but making up ground on the leaders was really tough with the damage. But we didn't want to lose any more time or go down another lap if someone in front of us ran into problems so I just tried to make up as much time as I could through traffic. And as beat up as the car was we really didn't have much for Bruno Junquiera in the last hour. That was a long time in the car with no yellows and I was pretty beat up once it was all over."
Being taken out of contention so early in the race was a source of frustration for Ende, who had seen the Dempsey Racing team work long hours in preparing the no. 25 STANDD / Monster Digital / Racer's Roast.com / Merchant Services Oreca FLM09 Chevrolet.
"The really tough thing is that it went downhill from the very beginning," said Ende. "Someone couldn't keep it clean through turn one and took out half the field. At the start of a four-hour race it's more than a little annoying. But that's the nature of racing sometimes. We weren't happy with how qualifying went and the guys gave us a great car that was vastly improved from Friday to Saturday, and we had really high hopes. Henri did a great job to make up time through the field, because the car was definitely not at its best, and the crew did a great job patching it together as best as they could. They really weren't rewarded for the great job they did."
With eight of the nine American Le Mans Series rounds completed, there is only one left - the 1000-mile Petit Le Mans, at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia on October 20. Richard and Ende have co-driven to victory at Petit before, in 2010 in a GT-C class Porsche. Petit Le Mans will be shown live on ESPN3.com starting at 11:15 AM ET.
Source: Duncan Ende media/