News from Wolf Henzler - a Houston podium despite problems Houston, TX., April 21 2007. It wasn't an easy race, on the rough and very bumpy Reliant Park street circuit in Houston, but Wolf Henzler from Nurtingen, Germany, was happy to claim...
News from Wolf Henzler - a Houston podium despite problems
Houston, TX., April 21 2007. It wasn't an easy race, on the rough and very bumpy Reliant Park street circuit in Houston, but Wolf Henzler from Nurtingen, Germany, was happy to claim his second podium finish of the season and take home some valuable points for the American Le Mans Series GT2 title race. The track was the talking point amongst all the drivers in the field this weekend, and the bumps caused set up problems for many, including the Tafel Porsche. The 90o temperatures (30o C) also played a part in the story of Henzler's Houston, as the German explains.
"My team mate, Robin Liddell, qualified and started this race and I was due to do the last two stints. He made a good start and was running in a strong fourth place until he had to avoid a spinning prototype, which unfortunately dropped him down to sixth place. This is where we were when he came in to the pits to give me the car.
"The crew's pit stop was very good -- much better than the drivers as I was a bit slow to make the change over. Luckily we were just in time though and it didn't delay us. The car didn't feel nearly as good as it had been in the morning warm up and I didn't know why -- I thought something was maybe damaged or broken on the car, I wasn't sure. After a couple more laps I thought maybe the track and its grip level had changed and this wasn't good for our car, or perhaps it was just me. It was confusing." Despite Henzler's doubts about the handling, he was able to make up good time and was holding onto third position until a rare error lost him some time.
"It was so bumpy on the track, and the steering wheel was shaking so much, that during the race I hit the pit speed limiter button by mistake at Turn 5 round the Astrodome. The first time it felt like the engine had died; there was no power. After three seconds I realised what had happened but it then happened again twice more, when Dirk Muller was behind me. His Ferrari was so much better than our car under braking that I couldn't keep him behind me.
"My other big problem was that my drinks bottle wasn't working and I ended up very de-hydrated. The temperatures were hotter on race day than any other, but I had to do the whole stint without a drink. When I was due for my scheduled pit stop for tires and fuel, the team wanted to just change the drinks bottle but I was worried that the problem might have been something in my helmet so I asked on the in-lap if we could do a driver change. It didn't give Robin much notice, so he put on his helmet without his earplugs and therefore had no radio in the last part of the race. He didn't know where he was, what position, and also didn't know that Muller had a late penalty which meant we moved into third and got the podium. I know we were lucky, and I was surprised, but the important thing is that we got points and we are still there in the Championship - at least for 2nd place as the Ferraris look like being hard to beat after four straight wins.
Wolf Henzler's next race will be for Tafel Racing in the fourth round of the Grand-Am Rolex Series at Virginia International Raceway. The 400 kilometre race (2.5 hours maximum running) for the GT class only will start at 4:00 pm EST on Saturday, April 28.