Los Angeles, Calif. - Miles from his home and from where he grew up, Duncan Ende scored his first podium on the famous circuit on the streets of Long Beach as he and teammate Bruno Junquiera combined to drive the no. 9 RSR Racing Oreca FLM09 in the Continental Tire Prototype Challenge to third place in Saturday's Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach.
With a clean start, Ende was able to pull out a lead over the PC field - and was able to do it repeatedly as the race had several caution periods during its first hour.
"It's a great feeling to stand on the podium in Long Beach which is so close to home and where I had my first professional race," said Ende. "I really want to thank everyone at RSR for a great car. It was a lot of fun to run up near the front of the field and to lead the Prototype Challenge field.
Being at the front is so critical, especially when it comes to dealing with traffic, and Bruno put us in a great position by qualifying on pole."
With a healthy lead and running third overall - ahead of the Prototype 2 field - Ende turned the car over to Junquiera during a full-course caution.
The team would lose valuable time, however, as a GT-C class car blocked the exit of the no. 9 RSR Racing Oreca FLM09 from the pits.
With the loss of time and track position, Junquiera was slowed by a P2 car that held up Junquiera for the final thirty minutes of the race. While the RSR Racing car was able to save fuel, the two Prototype Challenge cars ahead were also able to stretch their fuel to the checkered flag.
"We had a really great race, the right call on strategy, and a fast Prototype Challenge car," said Ende. "There were a couple of things that were out of our control that kept us from winning.
We had a car blocking our exit which cost us a bunch of time and two positions, but it's just one of those things that happens on a street circuit with such a tight pit lane.
Then, Bruno got held up by an Extremely slow P2 car and that killed any chance we had to catch up to the first two cars. No matter what, it's a good day when you stand on the podium in Long Beach."
"And then after the race I watched the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Memphis Grizzlies, and that made it an even better day!"
Ende will join Junquiera again for the American Le Mans Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 9-11.