Long Beach: Wolf Henzler race report

News from Wolf Henzler - a podium but for a prototype! Long Beach, CA., 15th April 2007. It was only a 100-minute race -- the shortest in the history of the American Le Mans Series -- but it was action-packed all the way. Wolf Henzler drove...

News from Wolf Henzler - a podium but for a prototype!

Long Beach, CA., 15th April 2007. It was only a 100-minute race -- the shortest in the history of the American Le Mans Series -- but it was action-packed all the way. Wolf Henzler drove superbly from the start of the race, overtaking the class leaders when they pitted during the one and only yellow flag caution period. The German held onto the lead of the GT2 class in his Tafel Racing Porsche 997 GT3-RSR for 17 of his 45-lap stint, only relinquishing it when he came in to the pits to hand the wheel over to Robin Liddell. A spirited fight by the Scot in the closing stages of the race brought the no.71 car into fourth place, just six tenths of a second away from a podium placing.

"We had a really good race car but we didn't get the result we thought was possible," said Henzler today. "With such a short race it was all about strategy and, although neither the team nor the drivers did anything wrong at all, the fact that there was only one caution period went against us. At street races you never know what will happen, but there are usually several yellow flag periods and we were hoping there would be another in the middle of the race during which we could pit. There wasn't though and, when you have to stop under green, it kills you.

"We stayed out as long as possible, which is why I was so close to the maximum permitted driving time of 70 minutes [Wolf stopped at the 1hr 9 minutes and 30 second mark]. By that stage I had to come in anyway otherwise I would have not only gone over the maximum time and been disqualified, but I would also have run out of fuel. The team did a very quick pit stop and Robin was able to re-join in fifth place.

"Unfortunately he got stuck behind the orange, Autocon LMP1 car and lost about 10 seconds in time. The prototypes are, of course, usually much faster than us, but some of them take time for their tires to come up to temperature and pressure after a pit stop, and they are slower than us in this period of time. It was frustrating for Robin as he could see the no. 61 Ferrari ahead of him and knew he could have caught for him for the third podium place if it had not been for the prototype. We just needed a couple more laps in the race.

"Now we are going to our third street race in a row, at Houston, and this one will start in daylight and go into darkness. As I said, you never know what will happen at these races but we think it is time for our luck to change -- with yellow flags or without them!"

Wolf Henzler's next race will be for Tafel Racing in the fourth round of the American Le Mans Series, the Lone Star Grand Prix of Houston (Texas). The 2 hour 45 minute race will start at 5:30 pm CST on Saturday, April 21. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA's Live Timing & Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.

-credit: wh/fm

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Series ALMS
Drivers Robin Liddell , Wolf Henzler