Dirk Werner driver, Farnbacher Loles Racing No. 87 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR We came to St. Petersburg with a rebuilt car after a big hit that took us out of the 12 Hours of Sebring race. The car felt great right from the beginning of the weekend, so...
Dirk Werner driver, Farnbacher Loles Racing No. 87 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
We came to St. Petersburg with a rebuilt car after a big hit that took us out of the 12 Hours of Sebring race. The car felt great right from the beginning of the weekend, so it was a really good job from the guys rebuilding it. It was quite difficult because neither my co-driver Marc Basseng or I knew the St. Petersburg track. We had only two hours of free practice and we had a lot of things to do to set up the car and get to know the track. We couldn't really use the first half-hour of practice because the track was so dirty.
I qualified third in the GT2 class, so I guess we used the practice time pretty well to set up the car and do everything we had to do. We showed again, like in Sebring, that we are fast in qualifying.
For the race, I have mixed feelings. In the beginning, it looked like it was happening again -- the weekend was already done before the race ended. We started under caution and as Marc went to the race fuel map, he lost power. He got the car going again, but we lost nine places. We had bad luck, but Marc did a great job to fight back. He overtook a lot of cars and brought us to fifth.
During the safety car [caution] period, we changed drivers and tires, added fuel and got back on the track, but I had quite a big gap to the cars running in front in GT2. I did my best closing up and gained two positions. I could overtake some cars because our car was pretty good and I could do fast lap times. Unfortunately, we had two full-course yellows that put us in a bad position and we nearly lost a lap because the overall leader was directly in front of us. I think the car had a second place in it, but we didn't get to the point where we could fight for it, so we finished third.
We can be pretty happy with the race. It's our first podium in the American Le Mans Series and only our second race this year. I'm looking forward to working with Farnbacher Loles at the next races. I'm sure we can get to the point where we have it in our hands to perhaps even win a race.