Marsal has big day in Texas

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Michael Marsal contested both the Grand-Am Rolex and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series races on the Circuit of The Americas.

Austin, Texas (3 March 2013) – They say things are bigger in Texas, and that saying proved true for Michael Marsal on Saturday as he saw big success in GRAND-AM’s inaugural Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) and Rolex Sports Car Series events, racing two different cars for two different teams.

#93 Turner Motorsport BMW M3: Michael Marsal, Gunter Schaldach
#93 Turner Motorsport BMW M3: Michael Marsal, Gunter Schaldach

Photo by: Mike Geng

Marsal drove the No. 71 Multimatic Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage to a fifth place result in the CTSCC event with co-driver Tonis Kasemets. He then teamed with Gunter Schaldach in the No. 93 Turner Motorsport BMW to take eighth in the Rolex Series race as the pair made their first race start together. It marked Marsal’s best Rolex Series result and his best CTSCC finish since last year’s fourth round at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Marsal opened the CTSCC event from the sixth row after having qualified the No. 71 Aston Martin 11th. Taking his first race laps around the challenging Texas circuit, Marsal navigated cleanly among the 60–car field and avoided attrition through the opening laps to run solidly among the top-10.

When the first full course caution of the race was displayed, Multimatic Motorsports took advantage and called Marsal to pit lane for fuel and a driver change. Following a quick pit stop, Kasemets returned to the order 23rd in line with several other teams opting to stay out under the yellow.

But Kasemets wasted no time moving forward and was quickly back into the top-10. He would run fifth just prior to the team’s final pit stop but he would find himself climbing back up through the field when he was forced back to pit lane after GRAND-AM issued a penalty on the car for an improper pit lane procedure.

He would return to the track in the 17th position but the strength of the Aston Martin shined during the final stages of the race as Kasemets brought the No. 71 across the finish line in fifth.

“It was a fantastic race for the first ever GRAND-AM event at Circuit of the Americas,” said Marsal. “I knew that the Aston Martin would be a great car for this track and I think we could have maybe been even better if not for that penalty, but I’m happy with the top-five. It puts us third in the championship heading to Barber and I can’t wait to get there!”

Though happy with the result, Marsal did not have much time to celebrate the top-five finish as his busy race day saw him off to the Rolex Series autograph session following the CTSCC event. After meeting with hundreds of fans on hand for the GRAND-AM Circuit of the Americas debut, Marsal had less than an hour following the autograph session before he strapped into the No. 93 Turner Motorsport BMW for the Rolex Series race.

Another great qualifying effort saw Marsal start from 10th on the Rolex Series grid. He once again kept the car trouble-free throughout his stint - including avoiding the spinning sister Turner car (who would go on to win the event) as the Turner teammates headed into Turn 1 early in the race.

Within 20 laps, Marsal had put the No. 93 BMW into the top-five. He remained behind the wheel of the BMW until about the ½ way point of the race before turning the car over to Schaldach.

Schalach would run among the top-10 throughout the remainder of the race and took eighth at the finish while the No. 94 Turner BMW took a thrilling victory in the inaugural GRAND-AM event.

“I’m very happy with eighth place,” said Marsal. “We had a pit lane speeding penalty after my first pit-stop so rallying back and scoring eighth was good. The car was fantastic. What a great day it was for Turner pulling off the win! I’m super happy for Will and everyone at Turner. All in all it was a great weekend at a great track!”

“I’ve watched Mike race for several years now, and that was far and away the best performance I’ve seen from him,” offered Turner Motorsport team owner Will Turner. “He also did a great job to avoid hitting the team car early on when Paul had that quick spin in Turn 1. After putting the car into the top-10 for us in qualifying on Friday, Mike also ran really long into the race on Saturday, and was quick and consistent all day—it was a great effort from him.”

Marsal will return to GRAND-AM race action at Barber Motorsports Park April 3-6.

Michael Marsal

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About this article
Series GRANDAM
Article type Race report
Tags aston martin, austin, bmw, circuit of the americas, cota, marsal, multimatic, texas, turner motorsport