Derrick Walker, Falken’s ALMS Team Manager, made the comment after previously expressing confidence in Falken’s capability at Mid-Ohio, a track he knows very well from years of competing as a manager and owner of IndyCar teams.
Credit also went to Falken’s two team drivers, Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler, and his partner, Bryan Sellers, who persevered through the race on a track notoriously tough on tires. Sellers qualified 9th and expressed disappointment with the position, considering Falken has finished in fifth place the last two races. However, Sellers started the race and started moving forward until he was hit from behind by the No. 04 Ford GT, which dropped the Porsche to 12th. The veteran driver fought hard and turned the car over to his teammate in 10th. Henzler entered the race and gradually moved to 7th place in GT, remaining there for a good portion of the race.
“With just 30 minutes to go, the skies, which had been threatening all day, simply couldn’t withhold the rain any longer and it started pouring,” said Kevin Jones, Falken’s ALMS Supervisor. “We immediately switched to Falken wets and outlasted a very long yellow.”
When the green came back out, Henzler immediately jumped two positions to fifth, though heavy rain followed, prompting a second yellow flag. However, it didn’t remain yellow for long, and when the green fluttered again, Henzler drove from fifth to first in a single lap.
ALMS officials decided with 10 minutes to go to red flag the race as the rain showed no signs of letting up, and Team Falken Tire took the win, earning its first podium and victory.
“We are of course excited to have secured our first win in the American Le Mans Series, but will quickly move forward following a short celebration and focus on our main task at hand, further development as we continue to chase down a field full of goliaths,” stated Nick Fousekis, Falken’s Director of Motorsports Marketing and Events. The win puts Henzler and Sellers in 5th place in class for the championship points standings.
“Guys who were spinning were taking the inside line,” noted Henzler, when he moved from fifth to first. “I found grip on the outside line and passed all those cars, because I had confidence in the rain tire, and it helped us win.”