Tafel Racing Finishes Third and Eighth in GT2 at Salt Lake City Tooele, Utah, May 19, 2007 -- Tafel Racing finished third and eighth today in GT2 in round five of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix....
Tafel Racing Finishes Third and Eighth in GT2 at Salt Lake City
Tooele, Utah, May 19, 2007 -- Tafel Racing finished third and eighth today in GT2 in round five of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix. The No. 71 of Wolf Henzler and Robin Liddell claimed the third step on the podium and Jim Tafel and Dominik Farnbacher came home eighth in the No. 73.
The 4.5-mile circuit that makes up Miller Motorsports Park (MMP), America's longest road course, presents teams with a unique challenge for setting up their race cars as the 24-turn layout comprises over 80% of every lap at MMP.
Henzler took the green flag from the third row of the GTS starting grid and had moved up to third-place before the end of lap one. He maintained position until the yellow flag fell on lap six when he pitted off-sequence for fuel and new front tires. He re-entered the fray in sixth-place but had returned to third before handing the car over to Liddell on lap 30.
"After qualifying, I didn't really expect to have a car that could finish on the podium," said Henzler. "The car was a lot more consistent in the race and when we took advantage of the early yellow (flag) for new front tires, I had a really good car. I was held up for a while by traffic, but I was finally able to get by the slower cars and maintain my spot until I pitted for the driver change. Robin took over and ran some very good lap times and we were able to hold on for the podium finish, so I'm very happy."
Robin Liddell took over the controls with some uncertainty as he had not driven the car on new tires all weekend, nor had he previously found the No. 71 Porsche 997 RSR to be handling as well as his teammate had indicated.
"According to Wolf, the car seemed to be quite well balanced," Liddell said. "When I took over (driving), I didn't really know what to expect since it was my first time with new rubber all weekend. It started off handling very well, but then faded a little as expected.JLuckily, I was able to do well enough to hold on until the end when we needed that little splash of fuel. But since we only had a couple laps left in the race I knew we could hold on for the podium finish."
Team owner and driver Jim Tafel started in the No. 73 and ran consistent laps, although being on the receiving end of contact by competitors on two occasions.
"It was good to get out there and do some solid laps and get reacquainted with the car and the track," said Tafel. "I mainly wanted to build some confidence by peeling off some decent (lap) times and try to improve our position. A couple cars got into me which is a little disappointing, especially as we weren't able to bring the car home in one piece. It's been a big day and it will take just a little while to digest it all."
Dominik Farnbacher took over the wheel of the No. 73 on lap 42. The young German posted similar lap times to the leaders and was pleased with the team's effort at MMP.
"The car was good and the team did a great job," Farnbacher said. "We were a little bit unlucky in the race with Jim receiving some hard contact and then having a flat tire, but Jim ran a good race and the team performed well, so I am very pleased."
"Sometimes they're ugly, but they all count," said Tony Dowe, team technical director. "This podium finish is a massive gain against the Ferrari team today. We changed so many things between the warm up and the race, so we're really pleased with how the entire team responded and performed.