Henrique Cisneros found his path blocked by a massive, multi-car accident that involved 11 cars and ended the day for six teams.
The No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport team of Henrique Cisneros and Sean Edwards overcame a lengthy first lap multi-car accident, three additional caution flags, late-race contact and the shortest race in American Le Mans Series (ALMS) history to finish fifth in the Grand Prix of Baltimore on Saturday, August 31.
The street race, in its third running, was scheduled for two-hours. However, it was shortened to only one-hour and ten-minutes following the opening lap chaos.
While all nine cars in GTC class were able to come to a safe stop, the accident and subsequent red flag set the tone for the race. An on-track street fight followed, ultimately culminating in Sean Edwards, who drove the final 42 minutes in the MOMO car, being one of its victims.
With one minute remaining in the race, Edwards was third and closing in on second-place. Entering the 2.02-mile track’s hairpin, the No. 11 Porsche forced Edwards to go wide, taking the potential podium position finish from him. Once out of the groove, the No. 27 also passed for position dropping the MOMO Porsche to fifth.
Despite substantial cosmetic damage to the metallic red and yellow machine, Edwards crossed the finish line in fifth. The incident cost the team a podium finish and vital championship points with only three races remaining in the 2013 season.
Henrique Cisneros, No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport GTC class and starting driver: “All-in-all, it was an interesting race to say the least. With all the yellows and all the carnage it will probably go down in history as one of the worst races ever. Because of the crashes and everything we dropped back to seventh position at the start, but we made it back up to fourth and we were in a good position in third.
Unfortunately, the JDX team passed us by hitting us and they were not penalized for that move. After that, we dropped from third to fifth because another car also slipped by. This race was our chance to jump up to second in the points but we’ll have to see where we’re at in the points after this.
It is very disappointing to see this kind of ending. This is not the kind of sportsmanlike conduct you’d expect. But, three races to go and, as evidenced today, anything can happen. And, the last race is a long race, which can have a lot of variables. This championship is going to come down to the finale without a doubt.”
Sean Edwards, No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsports GTC class and qualifying driver: “I was fighting hard with Jeroen [Bleekemolen]. Jan [Heylen] was cutting the last chicane every time on the front straight so he always had a massive run. Eventually we caught up to Jeroen. It looked like he was having a little bit of problems.
He braked early for turn three so I just stayed to the inside and Jan decided to take the opportunity and just throw it down to the inside, t-boned my car and pushed me out of the way which also let Andy Lally through. In Europe Jan would have been given a penalty. He got given an unsportsmanlike conduct warning flag which, obviously, means nothing.
In the race in general our car was pretty quick. We couldn’t really capitalize on it because the race was so short but driving standards in general were pretty bad. If they allow this sort of stuff to go without penalty it will continue. It’s very disappointing. A third place finish would have given us good points because the 45 car broke its radiator early on in a collision with one of the LMPs and we would have only lost a few points to Alex Job [Racing]. In the end, at least we finished but just a disappointing weekend all around.”
Ramez Wahab, NGT Motorsport Owner/No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Team Manager: “It was a crazy weekend. In IMSA GT3 we didn’t have much luck. We are also fighting for the championship in that series. The sad thing is, in the ALMS in GTC, it is the third time that we got tapped and we lost position.
We started the season so well. We were really dominating and leading the championship and this is the third time we got hit and lost positions. Usually, if you tap somebody and you gain positions, you should get penalized and they got only the sportsman flag. But, that is life. That is racing. We will see what the officials will make of it.
GTC this year is extremely competitive. I think it is more competitive than any other class in the ALMS. Just look at the teams. You have Flying Lizards that were a factory team. Alex Job and his team have been around forever. It is extremely competitive; even the driver lineup.
You have the top-notch drivers that dominate Supercup in Europe, the best of the best Porsche drivers are here. We had nine cars running here and four or five Supercup drivers in it. So, it’s pretty impressive. We may be the biggest team here but we are the newcomers. This is our first season fulltime in GTC. We’ll do the best we can. We just need a little bit of luck.”
The next race for the No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Porsche GTC will be Round 8 of the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at the International Sports Car Weekend presented by Continental Tire, Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, September 19-21, 2013.
MOMO NGT Motorsport