Farnbacher Loles Racing scored a GT podium finish during the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race in Mexico City on Saturday. The result put defending Rolex Series GT champion Dirk Werner tied for third in class points. Werner, of Kissenbrück, Germany, and Pierre Kaffer of Salenstein, Switzerland, combined for the third-place finish in the team's No. 87 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Their teammates, Leh Keen of Charleston, S.C., and Eric Lux of Jacksonville, Fla., ran as high as fourth in class in the No. 86 Porsche, but finished eighth.
Kaffer started the No. 87 Porsche from the GT pole position and held the class lead through the first 33 minutes of the two-hour 45-minute race. Werner took over on the first pitstop, but was slowed by a problem with the fuel-tank vent. He returned to the track fifth, then regained second place, but ultimately had to settle for third.
Lux drove first in the No. 86 Porsche, starting fifth in class. He moved up to fourth before handing off to Keen. He was heading for a top finish, but was assessed a stop-and-go penalty when officials judged him to have jumped a race restart. After serving the penalty, he dropped back to 10th, then picked up two positions to finish eighth.
The team's next Rolex Series race is at Virginia International Raceway on April 27.
Farnbacher Loles Racing also notched a top-five GT2 finish in the American Le Mans Series race in Long Beach, Calif., rewarding the team for its two-country double effort on Saturday. The team will participate in three more double sports-car racing weekends this season.
car time driver action
86 start Lux
33m change pit – Keen in, four tires, fuel
1h03 Keen pit – four tires, fuel
1h30 Keen stop/go penalty
87 start Kaffer
33m change pit – Werner in, four tires, fuel; fuel-tank vent problem
1h03 Werner pit – four tires, fuel
Gregory Loles, team owner: "I am proud and relieved that we grabbed a very important podium and a top-five on the first dual race weekend for our team. We passed the test with flying colors. Now we are confident the dual weekends later in the season will not be a problem for us."
Leh Keen, No. 86: "The race was disapointing because we had so much potential. Our car was very fast and we were with the lead group untill we had the penalty for an aggressive restart. This put us 40 seconds back and with no more yellows [caution periods], it was hard to catch the field. We were very happy with the car. The crew did the best job out of anyone for the whole weekend, giving us the fastest Porsche out there and one of the fastest cars in the field. I have to thank them the most, and thank Eric for giving me the car in a great position. We are excited VIR is soon, and we look foward to taking our awsome Farnbacher Loles Porsche to a good finish."
Eric Lux, No. 86: "The race began well. I was able to discuss the start with Pierre before the race, so I could anticipate what he would do when the green flag dropped. By the third corner, I was able to put the car in the fourth position and create a gap. We had some close calls with other cars attempting to alter our race position and with incidents on the circuit. The Farnbacher Loles team gave us an excellent car for this race, as Leh's time showed – he was the fastest Porsche in GT during the race. Unfortunately, we had some bad luck with a misinterpretation of the Grand-Am rules regarding restarts. Nevertheless, the car is in great condition to head to Virginia next week."
Pierre Kaffer, No. 87: "I really enjoyed my stint. I tried to save my tires and control the gap to the Pontiac. I am happy for Dirk, that I could help him so much – he is now third in the championship! Thanks to the team; they did a great job. I am looking forward now to [the series race at Mazda Raceway] Laguna Seca, to help Dirk again score as many points as possible."
Dirk Werner, No. 87: "In the last two cautions that brought the field together again, the team called a very good pit strategy that brought us to second position and we were able to go to the end of the race without an additional pit stop. But it was was clear that we would have problems with the rear tires during that long stint. I tried to go fast without wearing off the tires too much and the lap times were very consistent. When the 07 Pontiac came closer, I gave everything the car had in it to keep him behind me, but the Pontiac was just too strong. I think we did everything right this weekend; the Pontiacs just were stronger. I'm happy with our first podium in the Grand-Am series this year and to be in third position in the championship. I enjoy being part of the Farnbacher Loles team and appreciate their professional way of working. I'm looking forward to the next race and a good battle for the victory at VIR."