RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING ALMS SQUAD SCORES SECOND CONSECUTIVE PODIUM FINISH BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada - Noted philosopher George Santayana is credited with penning the saying 'Those are do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it', but...
RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING ALMS SQUAD SCORES SECOND CONSECUTIVE PODIUM FINISH
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada - Noted philosopher George Santayana is credited with penning the saying 'Those are do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it', but it is doubtful that he had auto racing in mind when he came up with the time-honored adage.
Today at Mosport International Raceway, the Rahal Letterman Racing squad made sure that it learned from past occurrences, using the lessons taught at Lime Rock earlier in the year at a key moment in Sunday's Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport to score a third-place run in today's American Le Mans Series event at the Canadian track.
A mid-race caution period caused by an incident between a GT2 Porsche and an LMP2 Acura set the stage for the team's big move, and RLR race strategists made sure they made the right call when the time came.
Running sixth in class through the first stint of the race, the team waited for not only the first wave-around for lapped cars during the abovementioned caution, but also for the second wave-around before pitting for fuel, a move that boosted the team from sixth to second at a race where passing opportunities were few and far between.
"The key move for us today came when that second caution came out," said RLR strategist Jay O'Connell. "The pace car picks up the overall leader in the event when the caution comes out, so we got a wave-around to the back of the line. But we remembered that we lost some time in Lime Rock when we pitted after the first wave-by, so we waited for the next one that came after the leaders pitted. Most of the other GT2 teams didn't, and that allowed us to gain some much-needed track position."
Ralf Kelleners took over for Tom Milner to run the second half of the race and picked up where Milner left off, fighting with the second Risi Ferrari for second place before settling for third. The result gave the first-year RLR ALMS squad back-to-back podium finishes for the first time this year, and the team also finished as the highest-scoring Porsche for the second consecutive race.
The result was far more than quick thinking by the guys on the headsets, as the Bell Micro-sponsored Porsche ran strongly all day long, keeping pace with the leaders throughout Milner's opening stint. The 21-year-old Virginian handed the car over to Kelleners at the halfway point with just one command for the crew "Don't change a thing."
"It might have been the best car we've had all year," enthused Milner. "The balance was great and held up even as the fuel burned off and the tires got older. I was able to run with the whole GT2 pack for my entire stint and I could see the leader the whole time. It was frustrating though, because I felt I was quicker than some of the guys in front of me, but I couldn't find a way to get around them. So when we made the call on the caution, it made a huge difference for us."
The two-car Risi Ferrari squad finished 1-2 for the second straight year at Mosport with the series-leading duo of Jamie Melo and Mika Salo taking the win. The result, couple with a sixth-place run for the Wolf Henzler and Robin Liddell Porsche, moved the RLR squad to within 13 points of third-place in the GT2 driver standings.