After a successful start to the season, the new Porsche 911 RSR narrowly missed out on securing its third podium result in the IMSA SportsCar Championship on the Circuit of the Americas. At the season-opening round in Daytona, the new 911 RSR had finished second, and recently followed up with a third place at Long Beach.
In the No.911 Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner secured fourth in the GTLM class after holding the lead at one point.
In the No.912 Laurens Vanthoor and Wolf Henzler took the flag in eighth place. Shortly after the start, the pair became entangled in a collision which threw them back down the field.
Pilet got off to a fine start. When several cars became entangled during the sprint to the first turn, Pilet managed to avoid the melee and launch a pursuit race from fourth place. First he snatched third and several laps later he overtook another competitor. After almost an hour of racing he was in the lead. This pace, however, could not go on.
“This race was pretty disappointing." said Pilet "We had the best chances to do well here, but it was our own fault that it didn’t succeed. We make mistakes that shouldn’t happen. I hope things go better for us at the next race in Watkins Glen.”
Dirk Werner, who then took the wheel was first shunted by a GTD car and was then handed a 60-second penalty which he served in the pit lane. As a result, all hopes for a possible podium finish were dashed. After two hours and forty minutes, Patrick Pilet finally saw the flag in fourth place.
“We had the chance for a podium result here." Werner said "It’s a shame that we didn’t managed to use it. At the exit of the pit lane I was alongside a BMW and I didn’t notice – for whatever reason – that the pit lights were red. The resulting penalty cost us the race, what’ more I had already been sent into a spin by a GTD car prior to this. All in all, it wasn’t a great race for us.”
The accident put an early end to the race for the No.912. Wolf Henzler, who replaced Kévin Estre at Austin so that the Frenchman could contest the WEC round in Spa, rejoined the race in fifth after the first stop for repairs. However, associated damages required longer repairs in the team workshop.
“I didn’t imagine my first race this season with the 911 RSR would be like this." commented Henzler "In the very first corner after the start, a Ford and a Ferrari had a big encounter and that set off a chain reaction. When I sped up right behind a Corvette, it suddenly spun. I couldn’t avoid it and we collided. Our 911 RSR was so badly damaged that the resulting repairs cost us all chances of a good result.”
When Laurens Vanthoor finally returned to the racetrack he was too far behind to make up any positions.
“By the time I climbed into the car for my stint, the race was as good as over for us." added Vanthoor "That was not a great weekend for us. We’ll now go testing and hopefully we’ll return stronger after the summer break.”
Round five of the IMSA SportsCar Championship will be contested on 2 July at Watkins Glen in the US state of New York, following a break after the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
*From team media release
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