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Jun 01, 2014 - 03:35 PM
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GB Autosport Takes Hit In Detroit
Posted by: newsla on Jun 01, 2014 - 03:30 PM
USCR News
GB Autosport Takes Hit In Detroit


GB Autosport was on track for the team’s season-best result on Saturday, but instead faced disappointment after contact from behind sent the No. 81 Tully’s Porsche 911 GT America into the wall and out of podium contention in Round 5 of the 2014 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

 

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IMSA newcomer Ben Barker opened the race from the sixth row, and made steady and confident progress to move up to eighth in the order before turning the car over to co-driver Damien Faulkner.

The Porsche ace was well-placed to make a charge to the front as the race-day pace of the Tully’s car had steadily improved, and with a fresh set of Continental Tires, was ready to go the distance after returning to the fray ready to move up to top-five contention.

But it was not to be, as just a few laps into his stint and running in sixth place, Faulkner was punted into the tire wall after being hit from behind by the No. 22 Porsche. The incident caused a full course caution. Fortunately, the extra strength that the GB Autosport squad built into the Porsche GT America paid off, as the Tully’s machine was able to rejoin the fray after being extricated from the tires.

While the driver of the No. 22 was quick to apologize to the team after the race, IMSA failed to take action and penalize the offending car, which had been incorrectly penalized for a similar infraction at Sebring earlier this year.

Faulkner was able to take the battered car all the way to the finish, clocking remarkably quick laps considering the significant damage to the car, and bring home a 10th place finish.

“There were a couple of cars, we were all in a bunch,” said Faulkner of the incident. “I turned into the third to the last corner. It’s one of the corners that has absolutely no run off. Then BAM! from behind, and I’m jammed into the wall in the tires. I could feel the car was damaged as it was a heavy knock. We just stayed out and hoped it wasn’t terminal and it wasn't thanks to the work the boys did. But it’s really frustrating. Not only for them to not get a penalty, but more so to have such a good race be so compromised. Michael (Avenatti), is putting a big effort into this and we have to bring some results sooner or late to go with that commitment. There is always the next one, but today, it was just unfortunate.”

“I was very frustrated with what I perceived was a lack of response and action by IMSA immediately following the race,” said team manager Cole Scrogham. “After speaking with the Race Director we obviously have a different perspective, which I respect. As a startup team in only our fourth race we really feel like this was an opportunity for our best finish of the year, and we lost that chance due to avoidable contact. I know they can't make calls without video evidence, but I was of the opinion there should have been ample evidence. Perhaps they need onboard video in every car or a more thorough investigation of an incident report from a competitor.”

That the contact came from a friendly and familiar competitor didn’t change the frustration that was felt by the team.

“I have known Leh (Keen) for many years, he is a great driver and I know he would never intentionally knock us out of the race,” said Scrogham. “He is trying to win just like we are, and things happen. I am just frustrated at how this one turned out as it feels like our opportunity was lost, with no consequences for the #22.”

GB Autosport will look forward to a return to the endurance challenge as IMSA moves to Watkins Glen International for Round 6 of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, which also marks Round 3 of the North American Patron Endurance Championship.


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