Long Beach: Tafel Racing race report

Tafel Racing Finishes Fourth and Seventh in GT2 at Long Beach Long Beach, Calif., April 14, 2007 -- Tafel Racing finished fourth and seventh today in GT2 in round three of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. ...

Tafel Racing Finishes Fourth and Seventh in GT2 at Long Beach

Long Beach, Calif., April 14, 2007 -- Tafel Racing finished fourth and seventh today in GT2 in round three of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The No. 71 of Wolf Henzler and Robin Liddell came home fourth and Jim Tafel and Dominik Farnbacher were seventh in the No. 73.

The race distance of 100-minutes is the shortest duration the ALMS series has ever run. This made strategy and pit stops a premium on the closed 1.9-mile, 11-turn street course. The race played out with only one caution period which came out on lap 14 and lasted six laps.

Henzler started the No. 71 Tafel Porsche from the third row of the GT2 grid. The German maintained a steady pace and took over the lead on lap 31. He then proceeded to turn fast laps and gap the second place GT2 car by eight seconds before handing over to Liddell.

"The car was a lot better than in qualifying," Henzler said. "I was able to move up through the field with the help of some the front cars pitting under the first caution. I passed the leading car into turn one when I got a good run off of the last turn. I had pretty clear laps and was able to put a lot of time to the second place car. Fourth place is a good result; we just needed a little luck at the end which did not come to get on the podium."

Robin Liddell had a frustrating stint, being held up by a P1 car and coming just feet short of putting the North South Machinery Tafel Porsche on the podium.

"There were differing pit strategies out there today," Liddell said. "Some of the teams came in on the first and only caution and that proved to be the call. We waited and Wolf did a great job to get us in the lead. We had a solid pit stop and when I returned to the race I got caught behind that orange P1 car and it cost me a lot of time. I needed one more lap to get by the Ferrari for third; a podium finish would have been a somewhat satisfying result on the day."

In the No. 73 Tafel Porsche team owner and driver Jim Tafel started and posted consistent, mistake free laps.

"I made one small mistake when I went a little too deep into a corner," Tafel explained. "I was really focusing on running consistent, tidy laps and hitting my marks. The team performed well in the pits and we kept the pace on the track, we just needed a small break to really get top results which did not come our way today."

Dominik Farnbacher took over the wheel of the No. 73 on lap 30. The young German set down laps comparable to the leaders, but didn't get the late race caution to make up track position.

"The car was a lot better than St. Pete," Farnbacher said. "I had the speed I needed and was running with a lot of confidence. The field got spread out and the race went under green the rest of the way and I couldn't make up the positions that we lost when we pitted. We have a good setup on the car for these street races so I am looking for a good result at Houston in one-week."

"Strategy was the rule of the day," Tony Dowe, team technical director said."

"We chose to leave Wolf out as long as possible with the hopes of getting a mid-race caution which never came. He did a great job to lead and Robin got in and made up time and nearly got us a podium. The car was on pace, we just needed a needed a little luck. Jim and Dominik also ran fault free. The guys did great pits stops and we were in the thick of it all race."

-credit: tr

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Series ALMS
Drivers Robin Liddell , Wolf Henzler , Jim Tafel , Dominik Farnbacher