TEAM NEWS: Lime Rock delivers 5th straight podium for Farnbacher Loles

Photo by John Thawley Lime Rock on Memorial Day is North America’s home for exciting sportscar racing. This year delivered more than its share of drama, thrills and frustration for the Farnbacher Loles Racing team. In Monday’s race, Bryce Miller and Dirk Werner took their fourth straight podium in the Grand-Am Rolex series while teammates Leh Keen and Dominik Farnbacher where given a stop-and-go penalty late in the race for a questionable call on a restart. While a protest was filed, the penalty deprived the team of a likely double podium as the #85 was running in second before the stop.

The weekend started well for the team as the set-up on both cars was good right out of the trailer. Both cars were very quick with Dominik topping the charts in Friday’s practice. It was clear though, that this was going to be a tough race as the Pontiacs showed some serious speed following the recent round of performance adjustments. Qualifying showed the parity as the top three were comprised of Porsche, Mazda and Pontiac. Bryce Miller put his #87 Marquis Jet/IPC/Paul Miller Porsche/Recaro Porsche 997 GT3 into the sixth spot followed by Leh Keen in seventh driving his #85 Shoes For Crews/Recaro Porsche. At the start, all the cars made it safely through the difficult first turn with Bryce picking up two spots in the first lap. The leaders set a quick pace and soon began lapping the back of the field. Bryce and Leh stayed in the cars through the first round of pit stops and caution periods brought out by on-track incidents. At the halfway point in the race, Leh was now leading Bryce as they ran third and fourth behind two Pontiacs.

At the second pit stop, both crews made driver changes. The high temperature and humidity left both Leh and Bryce exhausted as they had driven at a torrid pace throughout their double stints. It was now up to Dominik and Dirk to bring the cars home. Dominik was running in second and Dirk closing fast with only 30 minutes to go; the chances for a double podium were looking good. Around this time, the race officials informed the team of an apparent jump by the #85 during a previous restart. The penalty was a stop and go which, when handed down so close to the end, eliminated any chances for recovery.

Meanwhile Dirk continued his chase to the front. He was running in third chasing down his friend and former Supercup teammate Wolf Henzler. With only six minutes to go, Dirk made the race’s best move at the end of the front straight and outbraked Henzler into turn one to move up to the second spot. The higher finish moved Werner into a tie for first place in the championship. After the race, the drivers looked back on the day. Said Werner, “The Farnbacher Loles team again gave us a great car. And Bryce did a fantastic job. Our goal from the beginning has been to win the championship for Farnbacher Loles.” Added Bryce, “I have to give credit to the team as well. Every race they give us such a well-prepared car. It was extra special to get this finish in front of so many of our family, friends and sponsors. I think we gave them a lot to cheer about today.”

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