TRG TAKES SECOND AT ALMS HOMECOMING Following strong drives by all three drivers, flawless pit-stops by the crew, and decisive strategy to maintain track position, TRG was finally rewarded with a well deserved second place finish during ...
TRG TAKES SECOND AT ALMS HOMECOMING
Following strong drives by all three drivers, flawless pit-stops by the crew, and decisive strategy to maintain track position, TRG was finally rewarded with a well deserved second place finish during Saturday's American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patron.
Now in their third race with the team's no. 63 Future Electronics/Freescale Semiconductor/FaceCake/Green Hills Software/LifeStudio by Hitachi Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, TRG has continually shown the pace to be a winning car, prevented only by misfortune in the previous two rounds. During Saturday's race however, drivers' Henri Richard, René Villeneuve, and Andy Lally never put a wheel wrong at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, earning their first podium for the season.
Following his second-place qualifying effort, Andy Lally started the race and immediately set a strong pace to pull a substantial gap over most of his competitors. Taking advantage of an early yellow, Team Owner Kevin Buckler made the wise decision to put Henri Richard in the car, allowing the Frenchman to re-catch the field as he began what would become a double stint.
For Henri, a flawless drive in front of his home crowd was exactly what he'd hoped for.
"Andy handed me a great car and I just wanted to execute the team's strategy, drive cleanly, consistently and stay on the lead lap," stated Richard. "Luckily my stints were a success and I turned over a good car to Rene. There was a lot of action on track but I was able to avoid all of it except for a light rub with a Corvette into Turn 2. I have to thank the spotters for keeping all of us out of trouble, as well as of course Kevin Buckler and his world class crew, who ran an impeccable race strategy, sometimes beating the competition by over 10 seconds during pit stops. We had over 180 guests from our partners at Freescale Semiconductors, Future Electronics, Green Hills Software,Facecake as well as Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, and I'm elated to deliver my first ever ALMS podium in front of them. This was a great 'home race' and I thank everyone who helped to make it happen."
Following a clean drive by Richard, another opportune caution period allowed co-driver René Villeneuve to get in the car and fill out the middle portion of the race. Having driven countless laps at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as an instructor, Villeneuve knew that a clean stint was all he needed to deliver.
Luckily for Villeneuve, his stints were a success.
"This was the most fun I've ever had racing a Porsche. The car was just perfect, and I was so comfortable. I was able to get in some really fun battles out there, and made two passes for position, which can be tough here," stated Villeneuve. "This is an emotional day for me, it's my home track and I had many personal sponsors and my own family here to cheer us on. I'm at this track nearly every week and yet I'd never seen the view from the podium until tonight! I really want to thank my teammates Andy and Henri for their great drives and I want to thank our sponsor FaceCake Marketing Technologies. This was their first race with us and a podium finish is a great way to reward them for their support!"
With two-and-a-half hours remaining, Villeneuve handed the car to Andy Lally in third place. Driving his customary fast but clean style, Andy was able to move the car up to second and was gaining on the lead, but simply ran out of time before being able to catch eventual winner Jeroen Bleekemolen. This was the team's first podium since returning to the ALMS after a five-year hiatus, and a great momentum builder headed in to a six-week hiatus in honor of June's 24 Hours of Le Mans.
For Team Owner Kevin Buckler, the team's podium result is well over due, and is a result of a well combined effort by everyone on the team.
"This weekend was well deserved, and a great testament to everyone involved," stated Buckler. "All of our drivers were flawless. Henri was under a lot of pressure in front of so many personal sponsors, and he delivered as expected. Fast lap times and a car with no scratches is no easy feat in this series, but Henri brought the car home to us just as we'd asked. René knows every inch of this track and it showed in his drive. He stayed on track, drove an incredible pace and did everything he could to keep us with good track position before handing the car to Andy. Of course when Andy took over he delivered exactly as expected, fighting like hell to try and get us to the top of the podium. The crew was spot-on all race. This is a competitive series and perfect pit stops are the key, and they delivered. We were really happy to be joined all of our partners at Freescale, Future Electronics, FaceCake, Green Hills Software, as well as Hitachi. We pride ourselves in providing both on and off the track, and I think this weekend proved it."
With an extended hiatus for the series due to the 24 Heures du Mans, the team returns to round four at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, on July 11.