Punctured tire knocks Ende off the podium in Austin

After five of fourteen races, Ende sits seventh in the GT class championship with 360 points.

Los Angeles, Calif. - It looked as though Duncan Ende's run of bad luck was coming to an end in the closing stages of Sunday's Cadillac Sports Car Challenge at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. In the closing stages of the race, Ende had the no. 24 STANDD / Merchant Services Audi R8 LMS solidly in second position after passing Andy Pilgrim's Cadillac CTS-V.

Duncan Ende, Global Motorsports Group/STANDD.org/Merchant Services Audi R8
Duncan Ende, Global Motorsports Group/STANDD.org/Merchant Services Audi R8

Photo by: Martin W. Spetz

However, it would be a slow puncture, coupled with a late-race caution period, which would end his chances for his first podium of the season. The puncture, which happened before the caution, meant Ende wasn't able to mount a challenge to the race leader, James Sofronas in the sister no. 14 GMG Audi R8 LMS, or defend from the charging cars behind when the race went green with two laps remaining. He would ultimately finish Sunday's race in fifth position.

"On one hand, I'm happy that we had the speed to be on the podium both days in Austin and definitely had the speed to win on Sunday," said Ende. "But mostly I'm just disappointed with how the weekend turned out. The GMG Racing guys did a great job preparing and setting up the Audi R8 LMS, and it was really quick all weekend - quick enough to be on the podium twice.

"Andy and I had a great battle and I was lucky enough to see a gap in traffic and go for it. He pushed me really hard but it was very fun. As the race went on our tires didn't fall off much and I was able to open the gap over Andy but that went away with that caution period.

And under caution, I could tell we were in trouble with something wrong at the back of the car. It was really tough to deal with in the fast right handers and I tried hard to get the spots back from Andy and Randy Pobst but the tire was getting really low on pressure."

Saturday's race had also ended with disappointment for Ende, after falling from fourth to seventh in the closing stages of the race after being shuffled backwards after a late-race restart.

"Saturday was another great run that didn't end like we would have liked," said Ende. "We were running with James just cruising around, biding our time, and then I got sucked into a big battle on the restart. On the short circuit at Austin, when one car gets by you another one tends to follow them through. I was really hoping to have a straight up battle with James for the win on Sunday but the flat tire was just a bad break. One of these days we'll catch a break and be able to put up a real result."

After five of fourteen races, Ende sits seventh in the GT class championship with 360 points.

The Cadillac Sports Car Challenge at Circuit of the Americas will air on Sunday, June 16 at 5:00 PM ET on NBC Sports. The next two rounds of the Pirelli world Challenge will be May 31 - June 1 at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix in Detroit, Michigan.

Duncan Ende

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series PWC
Drivers Andy Pilgrim , Randy Pobst , James Sofronas , Duncan Ende
Teams Global Motorsports Group
Article type Race report
Tags audi r8, austin, cota, ende, pilgrim, pobst, scca-wc