Mechanical Difficulties Strike Baas While He Was Running Third Sunday in Rolex GT Race at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio, June 24 - A possible podium finish or at least a top five was in sight for Ian Baas of Noblesville, Ind., Sunday during the Rolex...
Mechanical Difficulties Strike Baas While He Was Running Third Sunday in Rolex GT Race at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio, June 24 - A possible podium finish or at least a top five was in sight for Ian Baas of Noblesville, Ind., Sunday during the Rolex Series GT race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, but unfortunately those hopes collapsed when a wheel hub broke on the At Speed Motorsports Porsche on lap 68 of the 94-lap race while Baas was in third place.
Baas and his co-driver, Mark White of Madison, Wis., ended up 17th in the 24-car, two-and-a-half-hour race that was televised on SPEED.
It was not a fitting ending for the team that worked so hard to improve on its 21st place starting position, and ran in the top five for many laps.
White started the race on Mid-Ohio's challenging 2.258-mile road course. He turned the car over to Baas in good shape under the third full-course caution from laps 22 to 25 caused by Milton Grant stopping on the course.
After the round of pit stops Baas started his stint in 13th place with the car, which is sponsored by Celette and Duraform. He got a great restart on lap 26 and he was in ninth place by lap 27 when he set the Porsche's fastest lap of the race with a 1:27.298 for an average speed of 93.116 miles per hour.
A battle with Spencer Pumpelly followed. Although Pumpelly got around him on lap 31, Baas was back in ninth two laps later. That's when another battle heated up between Baas and the tenth-place car driven by Jean-Francois Dumoulin.
That war waged for many laps. Dumoulin was still behind Baas when Baas moved into eighth on lap 48. He got seventh on lap 53, and with one hour remaining he was fifth on lap 56. A few laps later he moved into third, trailing only the eventual winner, Andy Lally, and Dumoulin. He was still in third when the problem occurred on lap 68.
Baas' next Rolex Series race is at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. on July 5. Right after that he'll travel to Exhibition Place in Toronto for a SPEED World Challenge Touring Car race July 7-8 with his STaSIS Motorsport Audi.
Fans can keep up with Baas throughout the year on his Web site at ianbaasracing.com. The Rolex Series' Web site is at grand-am.com, while the SPEED World Challenge Web site is at world-challenge.com.
Baas' post-race quote follows: "A wheel hub broke. This is the second time it's happened. We don't have the updated part; it was the left rear.
"I got some vibrations and then the brake pedal went to the floor, so I knew something was up. I was lucky to get it back to the pits. The wheel was half hanging off the car when I got back here.
"We spent most of the practice sessions working around a faulty shock, which cost us valuable time.
"We're going to try to do some testing before Daytona. That will help.
"But I had a great battle for 15 laps or so with Jean-Francois Dumoulin. That was fun.
"No, there were no offs for me. A lot of people went off ahead of or behind me though.
"The team worked really hard. We were as high as third at one point. I think we had at least a top-five car.
"Mid-Ohio is one of my favorite tracks, but it's not been very nice to me. I've retired while running in the top five here three races in a row. I was fourth in the ALMS race and fourth in the Grand-Am race here last year when I retired, and I retired in third here today."
-credit: restart communications