ST. PETERSBURG, FL March 31, 2007 – “We had them right where we wanted them,” summed up Andy Wallace, driver of the #16 Thetford/Norcold Porsche RS Spyder. Wallace brought the car in for a splash of fuel and four new tires when a full course yellow was thrown twenty-two laps from the end of Saturday’s St. Petersburg race. “The four P2 cars in front of us were all on worn tires, skating around and we were on brand new ones,” said Wallace. Unfortunately Andy had to bring the car in thirteen laps later to have the right rear suspension repaired. The time in the pits cost the team a chance at their first class win with their new Porsches in only their second race. Wallace and Butch Leitzinger ended up fifth in the LMP2 class. “I am just proud to be a member of this team,” Wallace continued. “They have done a great job and it is great to be with them. We will get them next time.”
Chris Dyson and Guy Smith finished sixth in class when Dyson was punted into retirement six laps from the end. “I had slowed up for a local yellow and a back marker did not slow and ran right into the back of me. Our team worked hard to give us a competitive car for the race. It’s a shame the race didn’t work out better. The result didn’t show it, but we are definitely making progress and we’ve learned some lessons here that should serve us well at the upcoming street races.”
The race on the 1.8 mile, fourteen turn temporary street course started as it ended. “The strategy was to hold back a little bit and not try to be in the carnage in the first corner,” said Leitzinger. “But I got a pretty good start and was able to get next to the Audi and just as we got to the braking zone, there was carbon fiber everywhere in the air and I am not sure who hit whom. Everyone at that point was in survival mode and I got though without hitting anybody and picked up a position or two and the car was working well.”
The # 16 car led the race for eight laps, and was second or third in class for much of the race. The #20 entry was matching the leader’s times and the team’s pit strategy was spot on before the effort was slowed by gearbox problems.
The next American Le Mans Series race is the Long Beach Grand Prix, on April 14.
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