Potter/Lally put keep Rolex GRAND-AM GT points lead with sixth-place finish in their Magnus Porsche 911 GT3 Cup at Birmingham
Birmingham, Ala. Porsche customer teams placed four 911 GT3 Cup cars in the top-10 of the Porsche 250 held at Birmingham, Alabama's Barber Motorsports Park today. All five of the Porsche Cup cars entered for Round Three of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season finished within the top-11. The two-hour race, a sprint event in the terms of endurance sports car racing, saw the No. 18 Muehlner Motorsports America Porsche led eight laps while the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche leaves Alabama holding the lead in the season-long team point standings.
Following several days of cool conditions and rain, the two-hour race ran under clear skies and temperatures above 70F. The perfect racing weather combined with a freshly diamond-cut track surface led to some of the quickest lap times of the weekend and helped result in only one caution flag slowing the competition over the 77-lap race.
The unrelenting pace forced several teams to alter pit strategy as expected caution periods never materialized. Of those that played the strategy well were the No. 44 Magnus Racing entry driven by Andy Lally (Dacula, Ga.) and John Potter (Salt Lake City, Utah). Potter drove for over half the race before handing the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car - which entered today's race as the leader in both team and driver championship standings - to teammate Lally. Lally, the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year, raced the car into the top-five before a puncture to the car's radiator forced him to slow to fight rising engine temperatures. Lally kept the Porsche in fifth until the closing moments of the last lap when he was passed for position. Magnus would finish sixth.
"If you can't take first, taking top Porsche honors is always a nice consolation," said owner/driver Potter. "It's actually a great testament to Porsche that we were able to bring the car home. Once we realized the problem Andy's radiator had, we were keeping a really watchful eye the whole time on the engine temperature, and it's amazing the car made it to the end. We had the support of Porsche Motorsport engineers by our side the whole time to monitor the situation, and that helped a lot to make the right decisions. We all came in to this weekend knowing that Barber would be a tough track for our car, but I think we did a good job and walked away with great points."
Muehlner Motorsports America, a relative newcomer to full-season GRAND-AM racing, had an especially strong day in Birmingham. The No. 18 was started by Chilean Eduardo Costabal and finished by young American Dion von Moltke. The Coral Gables, Fla. driver pushed the car into the lead for eight laps following the race's only caution. The team fell from the top spot when they pitted. The pit strategy sequence kept them from climbing back to the lead. They would finish seventh just behind Magnus Racing.
Following the Muehlner entry across the line was Porsche works driver Patrick Long (Belleair, Fla.) sharing the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports 911 GT3 Cup with Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, Calif.). Lindsey qualified third and stayed in the top-five for much of his stint. The Park Place machine finished eighth.
The No. 59 Brumos Racing machine entered the race with a one-off livery celebrating the work of "Racing with Children's of Alabama", a charity raising funds and attention to the efforts of Children's Hospital of Alabama. However, ongoing brake issues over the course of the weekend hampered their efforts to return to the Barber podium. The legendary No. 59 driven by Andrew Davis (Athens, Ga.) and Leh Keen (Charleston, S.C.) crossed the finish line in 10th. A second Park Place-entered Porsche, the No. 72 driven by Mike Skeen and Mike Vess, finished 11th.
The sixth-place finish by Magnus Racing coupled with the seventh-place result for Muehlner, tightened the GT driver standings at the top of the order. Lally and Potter hold onto the lead they entered with by two points over von Moltke. In the team title chase, the Magnus Porsche squad holds a three-point margin over the Scuderia Corsa program.
For the third straight event of 2013, a Porsche Cayman won the GX class. Taking their second consecutive victory of the year was the No. 38 BGB Motorsports entry shared by Dr. Jim Norman (Tampa, Fla.) and John Tecce (Ormond Beach, Fla.). Norman also won the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in a Cayman driving for Napleton Motorsports.
The tape-delayed broadcast of today's Porsche 250 can be seen on SPEED Channel at 5:30 p.m. Eastern, Sunday, April 7th.
Round Four of the Rolex Sports Car Series will be held April 20th at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. That race returns to the two-hour, 45-minute duration format.
Race Results - GT Class
1. Edwards (USA)/ Liddell (UK), Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro
2. Balzan (Italy)/ Westphal (USA), Scuderia Corsa Ferrari F458
3. Curran (USA)/ Said (USA), Marsh Racing Chevrolet Corvette
4. Segal (USA)/ Papis (USA), R.Ferri/Aim Motorsports Ferrari F458
5. Auberlen (USA)/ Dalla Lana (CAN), Turner Motorsports BMW M3
6. Lally (USA)/ Potter (USA), Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
7. Costabal (Chile)/ von Moltke (USA), Muehlner Motorsports America Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
8. Lindsey (USA)/ Long (USA), Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
9. Assentato (USA)/ Lazzaro (USA), AIM Autosport Ferrari F458
10. Davis (USA)/ Keen (USA), Brumos Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
11. Skeen (USA)/ Vess (USA), Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
Please note: Photos of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series are available for accredited journalists from the Porsche Press Database under the internet address http://press.porsche.com/media/gallery2/v/photos/motorsports/happenings/
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