TEAM NEWS: Tafel Racing To Start Lime Rock Sixth And Ninth Due To Weather

Photo by John Thawley Lakeville, Conn., July 6, 2007 -- Tafel Racing will start from the third and fourth row in GT2 for tomorrow's running of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. An afternoon rain shower with lightening forced qualifying to be scuttled further limiting the teams track team on already short two-day race weekend..

The ALMS officials decided to set the grid for tomorrow's two-hour-and-forty-five-minute race based upon this mornings practice times. This will see the Tafel Racing Porsche RSR sports cars go away from the GT2 grid in sixth and ninth. Starting position on this short 1.54-mile, 8-turn road course is crucial, as the GT2 competitors are doing 53-second lap times. The cars took to the track for a one-hour practice session later in the afternoon giving the competitors a chance to test a wet and drying track surface.

Robin Liddell in the No. 71 Tafel Racing Porsche took the one-hour drying track practice session in stride. He understands the safety aspect for the teams and fans.

"I think the series is doing the safe thing," Liddell said. "We don't want to lose cars in these conditions and this track has very little run-off area. We have some work to do on the setup, the track is bumpy and grip is an issue. The team is focusing on getting the car to go over the bumps and up on the curbs. This requires an ideal damper setting that we will try and hit upon for the race tomorrow."

Teammate Wolf Henzler likes to run in the rain and looked forward to turning a few laps for the first time this year in the wet.

"The rain is good for us, it would equalize things a little," Henzler said. "The car felt better over the bumps this afternoon, but we still have some understeer. We are adjusting the damper settings, it just understeers everywhere. It would have been nice to have a dry practice and then qualifying, I know we could have qualified further up the field."

In the No. 73 Tafel Porsche Dominik Farnbacher knows the team has to make up for the lack of track time with a little engineering genius for the race."We have some work to do on the handling," Farnbacher said. "We have a lot of understeer in the rear. Our qualifying session ended up being the first practice of the day, and that was not too good for us. We had a list of settings to try in the afternoon, but with a drying track and more rain, we will have to try and get it done in the morning warm-up."

Jim Tafel knows the team would have benefited from the qualifying session. The team's work over the last couple months hasn't been revealed yet this weekend.

"We could have really used the practice and qualifying session," Tafel said. "But that is the hand we were dealt. It will be good to do some laps in the wet to get acclimated in case we get rain tomorrow. We had some snap oversteer in the high speed corners and some push coming down the hill. That is a little unsettling with the speed we can carry on the Michelin tires through the last turn. Tony and the guys will have a plan for tomorrow and the race."

"We did a great deal of work on the cars over the Le Mans break," Tony Dowe, team technical director said. "However, this track requires a special tune and we just need a few laps to get us there. It is tough coming into a two-day event and then have some track time taken away. The issues are not huge, we will just use the warm-up tomorrow as a full practice session and get a setting on the cars that will help us move-up in the race. The organizers are understandably cautious with the cars as we are just getting going after almost a month-and-a-half of down time."

The race tomorrow, Saturday, from Lime Rock will be televised on CBS, tape delayed, starting at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday July 8.

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