Dirk Werner driver, Farnbacher Loles Racing No. 87 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR We saw the new track for the first time on Thursday. It was clear that it would be very slippery and that it had changed a lot. The experience I had from a few previous races...
driver, Farnbacher Loles Racing
No. 87 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
We saw the new track for the first time on Thursday. It was clear that it would be very slippery and that it had changed a lot. The experience I had from a few previous races didn't mean anything, because the character changed from the old track tro the new one.
We didn't have a lot of free practice, so we had to find a way to set up the car really quickly. I think the experience our technical director, Horst Farnbacher, has in racing made it easier to find a good setup right from the beginning. We were fast in both practice sessions and could improve the car.
For qualifying, we were pretty confident that we had a good shot at the pole. I qualified the car and had some good laps -- really on the edge, sometimes a little bit over the limit, probably! I was very happy that I could get my first pole in the series and the first pole for the team. Friday was a great day for us.
We were confident we could do well in the race. My co-driver Richard Westbrook used all his experience to stay up front and save the tires, but we made a wrong decision on tires for the first stint, so they went away quickly. But still, Richard managed not to fall back too much. We had to pit early -- unfortunately, four laps before a caution -- so we lost a little bit of time there. We did the driver change at 47 minutes and I drove nearly two hours, but the car was set up well, so it was not hard to drive.
After the stop, we were one lap down, so I was just giving my best, not destroying tires, but still doing fast lap times to catch up with the guys in front. Then what I feared started -- there were a lot of incidents and yellows came out. They didn't really play into our hands; we didn't get the luck that we were looking for to get the lap back.
We could have been third with our own speed and strategy, but unfortunately, there was an incident with the 46 Flying Lizard car. Johannes van Overbeek was leading at that point, trying to give me the lap back and get out of my way for the chase on the 71 Ferrari, but it was a very close situation in the first turn and we touched. He went off track and I lost some bodywork. I'm very sorry for Johannes and the Lizard guys -- I didn't mean to take him out or gain a position with a bad move. We got penalized for it. Then in the end, the Ferrari guys ran out of fuel and gave us second position.
It shows what the car was capable of this weekend. A podium was in the car, for sure, and with a little bit more luck, we could have had our first win in the American Le Mans Series. But it's only the fifth race this season and I'm pretty confident that we will have another chance to win a race. The team is really motivated to improve the car and it has been good at every race so far. They want the success as much as Richard and I want it. I want to thank Richard for supporting us this weekend. We'll be back strong at Mid-Ohio next week.