TEAM NEWS: 3rd and 5th for Farnbacher Loles at Homestead

Photo by John Thawley 3.24.07-Homestead, FL Homestead brought another great weekend for the Farnbacher Loles Racing team: Leh Keen qualified on the pole, while Bryce Miller and Dirk Werner took their first podium of the year. In between, there was enough drama to last a while.

Homestead was the third round of the Rolex GT series, and Farnbacher Loles driver Keen took his no. 85 Shoes For Crews/Recaro Porsche GT3 Cup to the fastest lap in qualifying for his first pole in the series. His teammate Miller started the #87 Marquis Jet/IPC/Paul Miller Porsche/Recaro Porsche 997 GT3 Cup in the 6th spot on the grid for the 400K race.

Coming off second and fourth in the Mexico City race, the team was feeling good about their prospects for Homestead. At the start Leh kept his lead while Bryce began his move to the front. But on lap two while passing to take the fifth spot, Miller was hit by another car. The contact punctured tires on both cars and Bryce was forced to pit. He rejoined the race in the 23rd spot. Meanwhile the first of numerous cautions came out for an incident with the DP class. At the restart Leh held the lead and Bryce put the hammer down.

At the front, Keen battled with the more powerful SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 and the two cars swapped the lead back and forth. Bryce moved through the field like a seasoned veteran and got his Porsche all the way up to fifth before handing the car off to his co-driver Dirk Werner. Werner kept the pressure on and moved into the fourth spot. Dominik Farnbacher took over for Keen in the #85 but a gearbox problem soon appeared. The team decided to keep him out since pitting again would have dropped the car out of contention. The problem slowed the car but the German was able to hold onto the fifth spot for the finish.

As the race neared the end, Dirk had the third position in his sights and set about getting the spot. His battle over the last two laps with former Farnbacher Loles driver Wolf Henzler was amazing as the two cars ran side by side through most of the banking. Even though there was some contact in the infield, Werner was able to take the position and hold off Henzler to secure the podium spot.

After the race, the team was all smiles again. Team owner Gregory Loles was thrilled with the performance of the drivers. “This was another great result for the team. Look what these drivers did. Bryce was hit on lap two, and forced all the way back in field. But he kept his cool and drove a really impressive race. This is a new series for him, but he showed everyone he certainly belongs here. Leh taking his first pole was a great accomplishment for him personally as well as the team and sponsors. It set the tone for the weekend for all of us. Dominik was solid as always and for him to bring that car home in fifth was quite an achievement. At the end, Dirk’s drive to take the third spot summed up this team and our commitment. This is the real deal and we’re serious about this championship.”

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