The German from Bad Munstereifel Qualifies Second in First GRAND-AM Appearance
June 30, 2012 (Watkins Glen, N.Y.) - Proving a quick study to the challenges of the Watkins Glen International circuit, Frank Stippler drove the no. 52 APR Audi R8 Grand-Am to second in the fifteen-minute qualifying session for Sunday's Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen.
Stippler's time of 1:51.018 was set on his first flying lap and would hold up throughout the rest of the session. Stippler will share the car with fellow German Marc Basseng in the six-hour race.
"It would have been a dream to qualify the Audi R8 on pole for my first Grand-Am race," said Stippler. "But the Camaro did a really good time. I had a faster lap going but then a Mazda had spun and that lap was destroyed, and then I didn't have the opportunity to go for another one. We have been working hard with APR Motorsport and Audi Sport to improve the car. I think tomorrow we'll have a strong race with me and Marc and we'll try to improve our position by one!"
The team's no. 51 APR Audi R8, which will be driven by Dr. Jim Norman, Dion von Moltke, and Ian Baas suffered a mechanical failure during the third practice, making contact with the tire wall in the 'Laces' section of Watkins Glen. Ian Baas was at the wheel at the time, with the damage causing the car to miss the qualifying session. The team was expecting a strong qualifying performance from the no. 51 car as well.
"We've been making improvements to the car all weekend, and I had just run my best lap of the weekend when we went into the wall," said Baas, who finished second in the 2006 Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen. "I hate it for the guys who have to repair the car, but hopefully we can repay them with a strong run tomorrow. The team has made big improvements to the Audi R8 all season, and it's definitely a better can than it was in Daytona. I think we'll have a great car for the six hour race tomorrow."
The challenge of running two cars in the Rolex Series for the first time is paying off for APR Motorsport, according to team owner Stephen Hooks. APR Motorsport has also entered three cars in this weekend's Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race.
"Our primary goal for bringing in the second car, Audi Sport, and Marc and Frank, was to put everything on the table to see what kind of result we could get," said Stephen Hooks. "Having the Audi Sport guys with us this weekend has been a real learning experience, and it's given us a great chance to go in two different directions with setup, and we've learned a lot this week. It was disappointing to have the no. 51 miss qualifying because we expected that car to be very fast in qualifying, but we have high hopes for their performance tomorrow. Dion and Jim have had some momentum over the past few races and hopefully that carries over to tomorrow."