Houston: Tafel Racing qualifying report

Tafel Racing to Start Fifth andTenth in GT2 at Houston Houston, Texas, April 20, 2007 -- Tafel Racing will start the Grand Prix of Houston from the third and fifth row in GT2 for round four of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) to be run in the...

Tafel Racing to Start Fifth andTenth in GT2 at Houston

Houston, Texas, April 20, 2007 -- Tafel Racing will start the Grand Prix of Houston from the third and fifth row in GT2 for round four of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) to be run in the parking lot of Reliant Stadium tomorrow evening.

Robin Liddell had the wheel of the No. 71 Tafel Porsche for qualifying. The Scot posted a time of 1:10.857 with a speed of 86 mph good for fifth place on the GT2 grid for Saturday evening's two-hour-and-forty-five minute race.

"The car felt like it was skipping around a little too much over the bumps," said Liddell. "Getting the front better connected to the track will improve turn-in as well as help us get off of the corner faster. At the moment we are headed to a setup similar to what we ran at Long Beach last weekend."

Dominik Farnbacher experienced transmission issues in the waning moments of the practice session, which manifested into failure on the first lap of qualifying, precluding the young German from completing a lap. Farnbacher and co-driver Jim Tafel will start from the fifth row.

"The transmission was going toward the end of the practice right before qualifying," Farnbacher said. "We decided to come in early with the hopes of getting a couple of laps in qualifying, but we lost third gear altogether and didn't want to completely ruin the gear box. During the practice sessions I was able to do a 1:11.1 on old tires and with new rubber I was at least a half-second faster which would have put us up in the top six. Jim has really come on strong here and we will look to come from the back for a good finish tomorrow."

Jim Tafel has accelerated his learning curve of the street circuits. The team owner and driver has vastly improved since his first ever street race at St. Petersburg four weeks ago.

"I have really felt the improvement since St. Pete," Tafel said. "The combination of my confidence getting better as well as the improvement that Tony and the team have made with the car is really confidence inspiring. The bumps here are horrendous, you feel really beat up when you get out of the car. Turn five has a really big hump, almost jerking the wheel from your hands. It is too bad that Dominik couldn't qualify, I think we could have been in the thick of it."

"The bumps at this circuit really cause havoc with the setup," Tony Dowe, team technical director said. "It is vital to get the Porsche in that technical sweet spot on a rough circuit like this one. Getting the car to do all of the things that the driver wants is tough at circuit like this one, with the slow corners, tight confines and the bumps. We have a few more things to try in the warm-up. As at Long Beach we will get there for the race."

-credit: tr

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Series ALMS
Drivers Robin Liddell , Jim Tafel , Dominik Farnbacher