Farnbacher Loles Racing celebrated its first American Le Mans Series podium on Saturday, with a third-place GT2 finish on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.
The team started third in class, lost nine positions due to an electrical malfunction at the race start, then regained the nine positions to take third in the final five minutes of the one-hour 55-minute race.
Marc Basseng of Leutenbach, Germany, drove the first stint in the team's No. 87 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. The race started under caution, so Basseng switched to a fuel-conserving setting. When he tried to return to race mode, he had no power and lost nine positions before he was able to restart the engine. He then worked through the field to fifth in class before handing off to Dirk Werner of Kissenbrück, Germany, mid-race. Werner also moved up and took third place with five minutes to go, as the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche dropped out of the top three after contact with a prototype car.
Gregory Loles, team owner: "Obviously, we're a work in progress. You can't have only bad luck, so we got very lucky at the end. We don't want to have good luck against the Lizards, but that's what it was. We had the problem at the start, but Marc and Dirk brought it all the way back. That was great! It was a good result for the team."
Marc Basseng: "I don't know what happened exactly. [During the first caution] I was on the pace-car mapping and I wanted to change to the race mapping. At that moment, the engine cut off. I called the pit and got advice to go to the service position for the fuel pumps and then the engine fired up, but the field had gone by. After that, the car ran well and we got place by place. At the end, we had luck, so we got our first podium. It's a good result for the team, we needed it. But it was a shame for Flying Lizard – I'm really sorry for them that they lost the race in the last five minutes."
Dirk Werner: "Good end for a bad beginning. I'm not 100 per cent satisfied because our car is much faster than the result showed in the end. With a little bit of luck, we could have been second. But again we showed that we are fast, we are competitive. Thanks to the team – they did a great job, a very fast pitstop, no problems. It gets better, so hopefully it will go on that way. I won't be at Long Beach, unfortunately, but I wish the guys all the best and I hope they get another podium for the team."
(The next American Le Mans Series race is scheduled for April 19 in Long Beach, Calif., the same day as a Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race in Mexico City. Werner will be driving a Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche in the Rolex Series race.)