Farnbacher Loles on the Podium at the 12th Annual Petit Le Mans
The #87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR returned to the American Le Mans Series podium today with a third place finish at The 12th Annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 at Road Atlanta. The annual 1,000 mile/ 10-hour event ended early after race officials determined that the torrential rain soaked track was unsafe for competition despite several hours of red flag conditions.
Wolf Henzler of Nurtingen, Germany started the #87 in ninth position with rain already falling on the circuit. The Porsche Factory driver passed two cars on the first lap, was running in third position by lap 28, and was able to lead a lap before a scheduled pit stop on lap 33. Henzler handed the Porsche over to co-driver Dirk Werner on lap 61 during a full course yellow. Werner of Kissenbruck, Germany, took to the track in fourth position and stayed within striking distance of the GT2 class leaders until an untimely safety car period put the #87 one lap down. With Henzler back in the car on lap 107, the Farnbacher Loles Porsche successfully maintained track position and got back on the lead lap during another full course caution on lap 140. By lap 159, Henzler moved the #87 into third position and handed the car back to Werner just before the sky opened up on lap 165, causing the red flag to be displayed and ultimately ending the race prematurely.
Henzler was happy to be back on the podium today.
"In the beginning it was difficult with it raining, then drying out, then raining again," Henzler said. "We had a great fight with the #62 Ferrari early on, and we had no major problems throughout the day. We made the right calls with the pit stops, the team did great, and we're very pleased to be on the podium today."
Werner echoed his co-driver's sentiments.
"When the rain started coming down heavily at the end, our decision to wait to pit, and the fast pit stop that helped us beat the #4 Corvette out, was crucial to our podium finish," Werner said. "I'm very happy with the result. The whole team worked perfectly together to make this happen. All the hard work we had to do as a team after missing the first practice and after the contact with the prototype really paid off today."
Farnbacher Loles Team Principal, Gregory Loles, was pleased with his team's third place finish today. "Obviously, the weather played a major role in the results, but Dirk and Wolf did a fantastic job out there. Congratulations to them and the crew. They worked hard all weekend and the car was good in the race, in spite of the difficult conditions. This result was very important for Porsche as well, since our podium secured the Manufacturer's Championship. We congratulate them and we're proud to have been a part of it."
The next and final round of the 2009 American Le Mans Series Season will be held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in beautiful Monterey, California on October 10, 2009.
Qualifying for The Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca begins on Friday, October 9th at 6:10pm ET with the four-hour event beginning October 10th at 5:45pm ET.
SPEED television coverage of the event will be shown tape-delayed at 2:30pm ET on Sunday, October 11, 2009.