Steiner finishes second in IMSA Challenge Platinum Cup championship Records second and fourth-place finishes at Laguna Seca Haering earns back-to-back sixth-place finishes TAVARES, Fla. - German driver Dino Steiner narrowly missed winning ...
Steiner finishes second in IMSA Challenge Platinum Cup championship
Records second and fourth-place finishes at Laguna Seca
Haering earns back-to-back sixth-place finishes
TAVARES, Fla. - German driver Dino Steiner narrowly missed winning his first IMSA Challenge by Michelin Platinum Cup drivers' championship this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. He finished second in Saturday's Round 13 race and scored a fourth-place finish in the Sunday's season finale. Steiner's teammate and fellow German, Juergen Haering, earned a pair of sixth-place finishes.
Steiner was tied with rival Bob Faieta for the Platinum Cup point lead heading into this weekend's Monterey Sports Car Championships. As the result of his two finishes, Steiner finished second (240 points) in the championship behind Faieta (246 points).
Steiner's weekend started off well. He was only eight-tenths of a second off the pace following the only practice session heading into Round 13 qualifying. Unfortunately, he only gained about two-tenths in qualifying (1:29.498, 90.022 mph), which relegated him to a third row starting spot. This meant he had his work cut out for him because Faieta was the pole winner.
In a race that was billed as the first of two to decide the Platinum Cup championship, it was mired with more caution laps (6) than green flag laps (5). With that in mind, Steiner never really got a serious shot at Faieta. As a result, Steiner recorded his eighth second-place finish of the season. This put Steiner two points behind Faieta heading into Sunday's 75-minute season finale.
Driving the No. 15 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3, Steiner started Round 14 from the front row thanks to the lap time of 1:29.933 (89.587 mph) that he set during Saturday's race. Faieta started on row two due to his lap time set during Saturday's race. Steiner needed to finish three spots in front of Faieta to win the championship. Had Steiner finished two spots in front of Faieta, Faieta still would have won the championship because he had more race wins than Steiner. So, Steiner needed to finish well and three spots ahead. Unfortunately, Steiner got squeezed into turn one, allowing Faieta to pass him, which Steiner never recovered from, finishing fourth. Steiner finished the 2008 season with three wins and 12 podium finishes.
"Dino did an excellent job this season," Team Owner Alex Job said. "He had a shot to the win the championship heading into the last race of the season and that is the position you want your driver to be in at the end of the year - in contention to win a championship. Unfortunately, we came up a bit short. But, we are extremely pleased with how the season went. The crew worked very hard all season to put Dino in contention and then Dino did his part behind the wheel. It truly was a team effort."
Haering made his first appearance in the No. 17 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 since the Mid-Ohio races in July and performed well despite the brief layoff. In Saturday's race, he qualified seventh and finished sixth. In terms of starting and finishing order, it was dejà vu for Haering in Sunday's finale. He started and finished in the same order he did in Saturday's race.
Haering recorded one podium, three top-five and seven top-10 finishes. Despite only driving in eight of 14 races, he still finished seventh in the Platinum Cup drivers' championship with 78 points.
"It was nice to have Juergen back for the season finale," Job said. "He drove a couple of solid races this weekend. I believe had he driven all 14 races this year, he would have been very high in the championship. But, all in all, he had a pretty good season."
The 2009 IMSA Challenge by Michelin season will start March 18-22 with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida.