Dramatic and deserved success for Pierre Ehret Chances seemed promising for a victory at the 44th Rolex 24 Hour Race of Daytona in Florida (28th to29th january). Pierre Ehret - owner of the Flamingo Resort Hotel - shared his cockpit with...
Dramatic and deserved success for Pierre Ehret
Chances seemed promising for a victory at the 44th Rolex 24 Hour Race of Daytona in Florida (28th to29th january). Pierre Ehret - owner of the Flamingo Resort Hotel - shared his cockpit with Dominik Farnbacher, Marc Basseng and Mike Fitzgerald and started in a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup of the Farnbacher/Loles team. The team started the race from rank ten in a 36 car comprising grid of th GT category.
Due to problems with the brakesystem and the dampers at the new built Porsche, it was not possible to qualify for a better position. Traditionally the race started at twelve o'clock noon. Easy going was the teams' strategy for the first hours in order to not take any risks and take care of the car. First stint was Dominik Farnbacher, followed by Mike Fitzgerald, then Pierre Ehret and finally Marc Basseng.
Besides a plenty of Porsche 996 and 997, especially the american Pontiac GTO.R with 6 litres V8 engines belonged to the top favourites in the GT category.
After qualifiying all Porsche including the team Farnbacher/Loles were given an additional handcap-weight of thirty pounds, allthough the cars' weight already had been increased with fourty pounds in free training session. Of course this fact had a certain influence on the road performance of the Porsche.
After the start in front of 50.000 spectators the team Farnbacher/Loles stuck to its strategy and dropped back a few positions and even lost more ground due to braking problems a stange drivability. These problems were an effect of broken dampers. During the third stind Ehret came to the pits changing the left damper. The repair took the team 20 laps. Even worth another pit stop at the very end of the race (three laps top go), as another damper quit.
During dusk the team managed a real catch-up and was listed in the first third of the grid, also profitting by a lot of accidents and drop-outs. The second part of the night one was able to defend a firm fith place in the GT-classification. This is even more remarkable as the team had several problems to solve: a blackout of the braking-system, a slip into the tyre-barrier, a non-planned pit stop and a broken damper. Nevertheless the team left no doubt save their position up to the finishing line.
Pierre Ehret: "Surley we are some sort of disappointed after the race. The damper problems were pure misfortune, especially that it happened so early. The team is not to blame for such a defect. But it became clear that you must not have any trouble if you are aiminig for victory. Even the best driver copulation can't iron out technical problems!"