PORSCHE LEADS BOTH CLASSES DURING GRAND-AM'S GRAND PRIX OF MIAMI; BOTH DP AND GT TEAMS FINISH ON THE PODIUM, BUT FALL JUST SHORT OF VICTORY HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 30, 2008) -- David Donohue captured the Daytona Prototype pole in the ...
PORSCHE LEADS BOTH CLASSES DURING GRAND-AM'S GRAND PRIX OF MIAMI; BOTH DP AND GT TEAMS FINISH ON THE PODIUM, BUT FALL JUST SHORT OF VICTORY
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 30, 2008) -- David Donohue captured the Daytona Prototype pole in the #58 Brumos Porsche Riley for the Saturday's Gainsco Grand Prix of Miami, and led the first eleven laps of the race, but it was the #23 Ruby Tuesday Alex Job Porsche Crawford of Joey Hand and Bill Auberlen that led 14 laps mid-way through the event and finished a close second in the end.
In the GT class, Dominick Farnbacher in the Farnbacher Loles Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car led 21 laps during the middle of the race, and Jan Heylen in the Synergy Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup led two laps later in the race, but it was the #67 TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Tim George, Jr. and Spencer Pumpelly that finished third -- the only Porsche on the podium. The Dominick Farnbacher/Dirk Werner Porsche dropped to a fourth place finish when the air jacks malfunctioned during a pit stop while leading the class.
Auberlen and Hand finished second in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Porsche Crawford by only 1.6 seconds. Auberlen avoided trouble from the early cautions throughout his stint before passing off to Hand.
"My stint was no problem because I knew there were going to be a lot of yellows, a lot of accidents," Auberlen said. "I thought I would take it easy and let the race come to us because that is kind of how it was last year. The car was really good, especially after restarts. [However], on the last restart, the car became very loose and really bad."
Hand was able to reel in the troubles of the No. 23 and led 14 laps before losing the lead to Pruett on Lap 78. From there, Hand hung around for a runner-up finish.
"Our car was good enough today," Hand said. "When we got here on Thursday, we were in the dumps. We were not good. But, the Ruby Tuesday crew worked and worked to find some stuff. When it looked like we should have packed up, they persevered. And today, we had the best race car that we had all weekend."
For Pumpelly and George, the duo moved up 13 positions from flag-to-flag, slowly moving through the field as many of the frontrunners backpedaled due a number of mechanical problems.
The race marked the second straight runner-up finish for TRG at the 2.3-mile track, and second straight on the young season after three of its cars took top-five finishes in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Pumpelly and George also moved into the series GT driver point lead by one (62-61) leading into Round 3 at Mexico City, Mexico.
"The race was tough because of the depth of talent was really incredible," Pumpelly said. "This year in GT, it's going to be really tough. Fortunately, Tim George did an awesome job in his first stint. The TRG guys gave both of us a really good car. We worked on it a lot last week in the shop and worked on it all week here. The effort that went into it was phenomenal. At the end, I really wanted to win, because I thought on the restart we were fast enough, but he'd get up to speed and up to temp, I really don't think we had much for him Farnbacher and Werner were pleased with their car's performance, but not pleased with the result.
"Leading the race was good! In the beginning, I tried to save my tires because I know that the surface here is very rough. I tried just to stay with the pack; I didn't push very hard. Then after a few safety car procedures, at the end of my stint, I thought, 'Let's go, let's do it!' I led the race for quite a bit. It was calm, I had no pressure. I just drove my race. When I came in for the driver change, something went wrong with the stands which keep the car in the air for a tire change. That cost us a podium, I would guess," said Farnbacher, a former Rolex 24 winner.
"When I got in the car, we lost time and we went from first to seventh. It was very difficult then to overtake because we didn't have anything on the straights for the other cars and our[engine] temperature went high if we followed somebody. I was right behind the first three at the end of the race, and I could go the pace, but I had nothing to overtake them. I'm not really satisfied, but fourth place is better than nothing. Perhaps road tracks without ovals are better for us," said Werner, the Rolex Grand-Am defending GT champion.