Sunday
Apr152007

TEAM NEWS: Tafel Racing Qualifies Fifth and Eighth in GT2 at Long Beach

Tafel Racing will start from the third and fourth row in GT2 for tomorrow’s running of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Wolf Henzler had the controls of the No. 71 Tafel Porsche and logged a qualifying time of 1:21.563 good for a fifth place starting position for tomorrow’s 100-minute race. The No. 71 car is being sponsored this weekend by North South Machinery and their associate partners Tornos, ANCA, and Dunkel Brothers Machinery Moving.

“We really went the wrong way on the changes we made from this morning,” Henzler said. “Overall the grip of the track was better, but I wasn’t able to take full advantage of the traction. The balance of the car was off and I was having trouble getting the power down out of the corners. We have some work to do for the warm-up. We will get it figured out and be ready for the race.”

In the No. 73 Tafel Porsche Dominik Farnbacher was having trouble getting his Porsche 997 to come to grips with this 1.9-mile, 11-turn closed street course. The young German logged a time of 1:21.804, good for eighth place on the grid.

“I had a lot of oversteer in the car which makes it wants to spin,” Farnbacher said. “The car is improved from this morning, but it still is not really confidence inspiring enough to put up a really fast time. The track has picked up grip with all of the running so far; we need to adjust our car to take advantage of it.”

Robin Liddell partners Henzler in the No. 71, the Scot is also looking forward to making a few changes for tomorrow.

“The track can really throw up some surprises,” Liddell said. “The different pavement surfaces and some of the bumps really make it tricky. We are focusing on maximizing the grip off of the corners. The layout is really a typical street circuit with the 90-degree rights and lefts. It is nice to be apart of a great historical racing event, I just wish we had some more track time.”

Jim Tafel is still getting his comfort level up on the Long Beach ocean front street circuit.

“I have ten laps so far,” Tafel said. “Our qualifying was good. We have some adjustment to make for the cars, so our warm-up is definitely going to be a full bore practice session. We solved one problem on my 73 car, but need to keep working to get it just right for the race. We have two more chances to make adjustments and we will use every opportunity before the race.”

“We are working with our limited track time to make the cars as fast as possible,” Tony Dowe, team technical director said. “We made a number of small changes on the 71 car for Wolf for qualifying and it didn’t work out the way we thought it would. We now have a better idea of what the car needs. The track surface is changing with the rubber being laid down by all of the cars, so we are trying to stay on top of all the conditions.”

Long Beach GT2 Top Qualifiers:

1. Melo/Salo Ferrari 1:20.916

2. Law/Long Porsche 1:21.209

3. J. Bergmeister/van Overbeek Porsche 1:21.239

4. Mueller/T. Bergmeister Ferrari 1:21.392

5. Henzler/Liddell Porsche 1:21.563

6. Jonsson/Lazzaro Ferrari 1:21.620

7. Kelleners/Milner Porsche 1:21.749

8. Tafel/Farnbacher Porsche 1:21.804

9. Auberlen/Hand Panoz 1:22.083

10. Maxwell/Sellers Panoz 1:22.620

11. Borcheller/Pappas Porsche 1:25.211

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