Michael Marsal press release
Marsal Starts 2012 With Busy Weekend at Daytona
Daytona Beach, FL (29 January 2012) - After running two races and driving countless laps at Daytona International Speedway, Michael Marsal will sleep well tonight.
Opening the 2012 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season with a run to sixth in Friday’s BMW Performance 200, it was then back to Daytona International Speedway on Saturday for Marsal as the Rolex Sports Car Series staged the historic 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona.
In addition to Marsal’s full-time campaign in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge with Turner Motorsport teammate Boris Said, he was also tabbed to run the 24-hour endurance classic in the highly-competitive GT category for the team, joining Bill Auberlen, Paul Dalla Lana, Dirk Muller and Dirk Werner in the No. 93 BMW M3.
After a mammoth drivers meeting, morning autograph session, and a huge grid procedural build up to the race, Marsal first took control of the No. 93 machine during the evening hours. Opening with a nearly hour long stint, Marsal kept to the Turner Motorsport program and kept the laps clicking off as he worked through the huge GT class field, with the faster DP machines a constant presence as well.
Keeping the car clean and trouble-free among the 44-car GT class, he took to the track in the 25th position and moved up to 23rd before handing the BMW machine over to co-driver Dirk Werner.
“It went well - for me it’s all about maintenance and making sure the car stays out of trouble and I made sure I did that,” said Marsal following his first stint. “The tire wear was fine. Will said it was going to get slippery at the end of the stint and that’s exactly what it did. The track is actually in fairly good condition. It’s not that time yet where there is parts and debris everywhere and nothing is really oiled up yet.”
The flat out pace produced a record-setting run for the winning DP car, with the big GT class field not producing the expected run of yellow flag periods.
“It’s actually really amazing at the few cautions we’ve had with the amount of racing and the amount of cars out there. Everybody seems to be doing what they’re supposed to be doing!” said Marsal.
He returned to take the reigns of the BMW at 4:30 AM to run a 45-minute stint and again displayed his consistency and patience as he ran 15th in the order. After handing the car over to Werner, Marsal had ample time to rest up before returning to his duties behind the wheel around noon on Sunday. With the main goal of keeping the car out of trouble and running clean laps, he again maintained a focused and calm demeanor inside the cockpit as the drivers motored for a solid finish.
“I didn’t put a tire wrong this year, which is what Turner wanted me to do,” said Marsal of his second-ever Rolex 24 race start. “My job was to make sure the car stayed in one piece, so that goal was achieved. Unfortunately a bolt got sucked into the intake which blew into our motor and kept us down on power through most of the race. So, we didn’t have the car to win it - we just didn’t have the speed. But I just couldn’t believe how fast this race was - I’ve never seen this race run so quickly with so few cautions. This was a 24-hour sprint race.”
Marsal now has a two-month break from GRAND-AM race action as he next heads to Barber Motorsports Park for Round 2 of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge championship March 30-31 with co-driver Boris Said. The duo will look to carry the momentum of a solid sixth place result in the BMW Performance 200 at Daytona and capture some more championship points with another strong finish at Barber.
“I’m really looking forward to the next Continental race. Boris and I worked really well together this weekend - we seem to like the same set-ups and we’re just really meshing well, so I’m super pumped to get going at Barber in a couple months. I’m still getting used to the GT car, but I’ve done the GS car for three years now and I know it like the back of my hand. We had a good finish there last year and I’m really looking forward to it.”