Strong fourth on Friday is tempered by contact on Saturday as the no. 24 STANDD / Merchant Services Audi R8 LMS has a co-driver for the weekend.
Los Angeles, Calif. - The no. 24 STANDD / Merchant Services Audi R8 LMS driven by Duncan Ende had a co-driver this weekend at the Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader at Lime Rock Park.
STANDD and Ende have partnered since 2011 to bring awareness to the dangers of distracted driving, and to honor what would have been his birthday on June 26, Ende decided to carry Thompson's name above the passenger door of his Audi at Lime Rock.
"We thought that this would be a great way to honor Rodney's memory with this race so close to his birthday," said Ende. "STANDD released their distracted driving app for the iPhone on June 26, Rodney's birthday, so we thought that by putting his name on the car this weekend we could bring a little more awareness to the app."
With Thompson riding shotgun, Ende would narrowly miss out on a podium at the end of the first race of the weekend on Friday morning. Embroiled in a race-long battle with Randy Pobst for fourth place, a late-race caution gave Ende a shot at a podium position but he would run out of time as he crossed the finish line just behind the third-placed Cadillac. Unfortunately in Saturday's race, he would sustain damage to the left rear of his Audi R8 LMS, forcing him to lose pace and ultimately finish in ninth position.
"I guess it was kind of a mixed bag as far as results go, but we were looking good on Saturday and just missed out on the podium," said Ende. "The Audi gets better and better as the race goes on, so that yellow at the end of the race helped us to close the gap to the leaders but also took some of the heat out of the tires. We knew that Lime Rock would be a challenging track for the Audi so scoring fourth was really great.
"In the second race, we just got mixed up with a GTS car that turned in on us in the downhill. The contact wasn't big, but it was enough to knock the toe out of the left rear tire and cost us a couple of seconds a lap. After that, we didn't have a chance to really compete for a good finish. It's disappointing but at least we were able to score a good finish in the first race."
Ende also competed in the American Le Mans Series race at Lime Rock Park, where he and teammate Bruno Junqueira scored their first win of the season in the Prototype Challenge class.
After nine rounds of the Pirelli World Challenge GT season, Ende is eighth in the GT championship with 651 points. He will be back behind the wheel of the no. 24 STANDD / Merchant Services Audi R8 LMS this weekend at the Pirelli World Challenge race at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.