Tafel Racing P3 in GT2 at Houston Houston, Texas, April 21, 2007 -- Tafel Racing finished third in GT2 this evening in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Grand Prix of Houston. Robin Liddell and Wolf Henzler took the last step of the podium...
Tafel Racing P3 in GT2 at Houston
Houston, Texas, April 21, 2007 -- Tafel Racing finished third in GT2 this evening in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Grand Prix of Houston. Robin Liddell and Wolf Henzler took the last step of the podium in the waning moments of the race. Teammates JimTafel and Dominik Farnbacher had an early end to their day on lap 111.
Robin Liddell started the No. 71 Tafel Porsche from the third row and was able to move up to fourth place on the first lap of the race. On lap 38, Liddell had to take evasive action when a P1 car spun in front him forcing him wide in the last turn. The Scot recovered and returned to the fray in sixth. On lap 71 Liddell turned the controls over to Wolf Henzler. The German was able to take over third position and run strong up toward the front throughout his stint. He returned the car to Liddell late in the race as a result of his drink bottle being inoperative. With one-minute-and-eight-seconds left, the No. 31 GT2 car, at the time in third, received a stop-and-go-penalty putting the Liddell/Henzler duo on the last step of the rostrum.
"On the start I was able to improve my position," said Liddell. "My second stint in the car was a little rough. I didn't have my ear plugs in and was not able to communicate with the team. The car was starting to act up, I think that something was broke on the front, which affected the lap times. The late race penalty on the 31 was a gift, but we will take it."
Wolf Henzler had a difficult stint with no water in the heat of the day.
"I wasn't able to get water during my stint, so I had to give the car back to Robin," said Henzler. "We didn't expect the podium, it was a big surprise. The car was not as good as it was in the warm-up. I don't know if the track changed or what happened. We will have to look at the data and see what is going on. I am happy to get our second podium of the season."
Domink Farnbacher started the No. 73 Tafel Porsche. The young German made an excellent drive from the back of the grid, due to no qualifying time, to get to sixth place in less than two laps. On lap five, he overtook a fellow GT2 competitor and was greeted at the next corner with a punt from the rear sending him back to eighth. Farnbacher turned the Porsche 997 over to Jim Tafel on lap 60. Tafel was turning good lap times, when on lap 111 a rear end failure sent him off at turn nine ending their day early. The No. 73 car was classified ninth at race end.
"I was coming into the brake zone and as soon as I hit the brake it just went," Tafel said. "I thought it was a flat, but the Michelin was intact and we had something go with the suspension, maybe from the earlier contact that Dominik had. There was really no vibration and no warning."
Dominik Farnbacher was the class of the GT2 field early in the race prior to his incident.
"The car was really good, I was able to drive it just about anywhere on the track," said Farnbacher. "I got hit in turn nine when I was running right behind Robin. I had passed that car the turn before and then he just ran into me in the next turn. The car was fast, we were looking to have our best finish of the year. Jim's incident was a little scary, but luckily, we were at a somewhat slow street course and not a high speed circuit."
"Robin did a super last stint, that is what happens when you keep the car competitive even though things aren't quite going your way," Tony Dowe, team technical director said. "We had to get Wolf out with his water situation so we had to call an audible. Robin stepped in and got us in a position to be lucky. He didn't have his ear plugs in, so we were signaling him and in the end the 31 car got the penalty and we graduated to the podium. This keeps us in good standing in the points and gives us our second podium of the season - Christmas in April."