Doran Racing's Theys and Lienhard Finish Third in GT1 With Brand-New Lista Maserati In Generac 500 ALMS Race at Road America ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 11 - The debut of the Doran Racing Maserati MC 12 was a big success, as Didier Theys and Fredy...
Doran Racing's Theys and Lienhard Finish Third in GT1 With Brand-New Lista Maserati In Generac 500 ALMS Race at Road America
ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 11 - The debut of the Doran Racing Maserati MC 12 was a big success, as Didier Theys and Fredy Lienhard finished right behind the two factory Corvettes in the Generac 500 American Le Mans Series race Saturday at Road America. Their efforts were rewarded with a GT1 podium finish in their first race with the marque and this particular car's first race ever, as well as a trophy given to the top privateers.
The Corvettes were 12th and 13th overall but the new blue Maserati sponsored by Lista, Making Workspace Work and Lista Office was right behind them in 14th position at the checkered. One lap separated the two Corvettes and the Maserati completed two less laps than the second-place finisher in GT1, but it more than held its own. Indeed, the car's best lap was Theys' 2:02.908 to the Corvette's 2:02.031 and 2:02.197.
The team ran between 14th and 19th overall the whole time.
Theys, of Scottsdale, Ariz., drove the first stint and was in the car for a portion of a rain delay that lasted a little more than one hour during the four-hour event. Lienhard, of Niederteufen, Switzerland, drove the middle portion of the race, and Theys brought it home at the end to put the Lebanon, Ohio-based team on the podium.
The only incident the team had occurred about 21 minutes into the race on a restart for the first full-course caution. Theys had contact with a Ferrari in Turn 5, reportedly the Petersen White Lightning No. 31, but the only damage to the Maserati was a scrape on the right side. Theys didn't even have to make a pit stop due to the tussle.
Theys pitted for four fresh Michelins and fuel around the one-hour mark, and then pitted again about 23 minutes later for rain tires when a thunderstorm erupted. Since lighting was involved the corner workers were told to take cover until it passed, and the field circled the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course for a little over an hour under a full-course caution for the bad weather.
Theys pitted again around the two-hour mark, when Lienhard took over. Lienhard drove for about an hour and 3 minutes with no incidents, and then Theys got in to bring the car home.
NBC will broadcast the highlights of Saturday's race in a two-hour program beginning at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time tomorrow.
Lienhard confirmed that the Maserati will also compete in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in October, but before that he, Theys and Eric van de Poele will drive the Horag Racing Lola Judd in a Le Mans Series race at Spa, Belgium next weekend.
Lista's Web site is at listaintl.com. Lista Office's Web site is at lista-office.com. The series' Web site is at americanlemans.com. Doran Racing's Web site is at doranracing.com, and the track's Web site is at roadamerica.com. Information on Maserati can be found at both maserati.com and maseraticorse.com.
Post-race quotes follow:
Didier Theys "There's a little scrape on the right side from an incident in Turn 1 at the second start. I made a mistake. I started in second gear and I should have started in first. We entered the corner side by side, and I had contact with somebody. I don't know who it was; there were about five cars running together at that point.
"We had understeer the whole way. Kevin [Doran] made an adjustment to the tire pressure on a pit stop that helped, but then it started to rain so we had to stop to put on rain tires.
"For my last stint the car was good. But Kevin said at that point you don't have to push, so I didn't. Finishing was our goal and we accomplished that, so we're happy.
"Fredy says we're going to the Petit Le Mans. It will be a little harder, but hopefully we'll be a little more prepared and now we have a little experience with this car. So basically the challenge will be about the same."
Fredy Lienhard: "The first 15 or 20 minutes I drove it was under yellow because of the rain. I didn't have any problems with the windshield fogging up; it was fine. With the rain, it ended up being cooler than I thought it would be too.
"On the restart I basically let the cars that wanted to pass me go by; that was fine. Finishing was our goal.
"When the track started to dry up, I was maybe out three laps too long on the rain tires. We wanted to combine the tire change with the driver change, so for about three laps I had no grip at all. I needed to be in the car over one hour, and I was. That was good enough for me for our first race with this car.
"I had an up and down weekend, but it ended up. We couldn't have expected more. We could not have done better for the budget that we have against the factory Corvettes. The team did a very good job. And yes, we'll go to the Petit Le Mans with the Maserati now."