Laguna Seca, CA, 20th October 2007. Tafel Racing's Wolf Henzler followed up his great second place on the GT2 podium two weeks ago with a further fine finish in today's season-closing four hour race at Laguna Seca. The German driver and his team...
Laguna Seca, CA, 20th October 2007. Tafel Racing's Wolf Henzler followed up his great second place on the GT2 podium two weeks ago with a further fine finish in today's season-closing four hour race at Laguna Seca. The German driver and his team mate, Dominik Farnbacher, drove magnificently to take their #71 Porsche 997 RSR from the very back of the grid through to 2nd and, with that result, Wolf secured third place in the American Le Mans Series Drivers' Championship.
"I'm really pleased with the result," said Wolf. "Not just for me, but for Porsche and for Jim [Tafel], Tony [Dowe] and the whole Tafel Racing team. In their first ALMS season, this is a great result for them and I want to thank everyone for all the hard work through the year."
Friday was a bad day for Henzler as, right at the very beginning of the final practice session before qualifying, his Porsche slowed to a halt with a gearbox problem. He not only missed the rest of the hour's practice but also qualifying, which is why the #71 had to start the race from the back of the grid.
Saturday started very much better as Henzler and Farnbacher finished the pre-race warm up fastest of all the GT2 cars. "The car was good all weekend, and I would really have liked to do the qualifying but it didn't work for us. We knew though that, as it was a four hour race, it wasn't too bad for us and we could still achieve a good result.
"Once the race begun, we had some understeer -- like all the Porsches today -- which was difficult when trying to overtake. As you get very close to another car you lose downforce and that made the understeer worse and it was more difficult to overtake. The team made a good strategy call at the first pit stop, changing only front tires, so we gained track position, going from 5th to 3rd. That worked really well and I was then following Jorg Bergmeister in the Flying Lizard Porsche but couldn't pass him because of the understeer.
"When Dominik took over from me after two hours, he was running good but suffered the same electrical problem we had at Petit Le Mans and lost power. He tried everything, switching off the ignition and main switch, and in the end had to stop completely and shut down everything and then re-start again. We lost a lot of time because of this and dropped to 4th place but we had some good luck too. When Auberlen's Panoz tried to pass the Rahal Letterman Porsche he spun off and then the Rahal car had to make another stop for fuel while we did not."
Tafel's finishing position was just 26 seconds behind the ALMS Championship winning Risi Ferrari 430 of Jaime Melo and Mika Salo. The race featured five full course caution periods which kept the field tightly packed together for much of the four hours and gave the fans some exciting racing to watch.
"It was our second 2nd place finish in two races," said Wolf, "and it was a really good way to finish the season. Next year we will be aiming for much more, and we can't wait to start working on developing the car for that. See you at Sebring in March!"