Team Falken Tire places fourth in GT class at Mid-Ohio
Under sunny skies at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with an excellent race strategy and speedy pit stops, Team Falken Tire earned their second consecutive fourth place finish in the GT class of the American Le Mans Series. As in the previous race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the team struggled all weekend, facing difficulties with tire and car set up. However, as with the previous round, hard driving, perfect strategy and impeccable pit stops brought the team another strong finish in the highly competitive GT class.
Bryan Sellers started the race in ninth position and for the next 26 laps, methodically worked his way up to fourth position before the 2012 number 17 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR pitted for a fuel, tire and driver change during a full course yellow. "When we headed into the race, we didn't have a lot of positive outlook," said Sellers. "We didn't have the quickest car, but it was such a good day because the team executed so well."
With fresh Azenis RT Slick tires, Porsche Factory driver Wolf Henzler started seventh on the restart and quickly charged up the field to gain two positions. "Bryan and I had to fight very hard behind the wheel," said Henzler. "It's amazing how the team worked our way through the field. The team made all the right decisions and our pit stops were perfect." With Henzler at the wheel, the Porsche again worked the way up to fourth position before making the final pit stop of the race.
With Bryan Sellers back at the wheel, the Porsche stayed competitive, keeping a strong gap from the cars racing up behind. "It's my favorite position to be in when the guys do their job, hand you the car and tell you to push as hard as you can and bring the thing home." As the race drew to an end, the 17 Falken Tire Porsche's fuel dropped dangerously low. The laps counted down and Walker called on the radio to Sellers, encouraging him to hard charge to the checker flag. The team watched anxiously as Sellers fought to maintain his gap on the competition as well as even be able to finish the race without running out of fuel. Just as the Porsche crossed the finish line, Sellers came on the radio to tell the team the car had officially run out of fuel.
"We just missed out on the podium," said Sellers. "But some days are moral victories and this is one of them. I'm so happy for the guys, because today is one of their days." After a difficult race weekend the team celebrated in their second, hard earned top five finish. "Usually I would not be so happy about a fourth place," said Henzler. "But after the first races this season and all the disappointments, I'm so happy. It's like a win."
Approaching Round 7 at Road America August 18th, the team still has progress to make. Walker holds a strong focus to the future and earning the team their first win of 2012."That's what it is in racing: always improving," said Program Manager Derrick Walker. "I think in both of these past two races, the team has taken what they had and turned it into a great finish, which is what GT racing is all about: maximizing with what you have, and getting a good result." As the team looks to the future for the remaining four races of the season, the team will continue development to keep this streak of success alive. Follow Team Falken Tire on twitter at twitter.com/FalkenALMS and a behind the scenes recap of the event is coming soon on falkenalms.blogspot.com