CRS Takes a Hard Fought Fifth in Atlanta
Sunday 2nd October 2011
The CRS Racing team was on track at Road Atlanta yesterday for Petit Le Mans, which is round six of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. On driving duty in the No.62 CRS Ferrari were Pierre Ehret, Roger Wills and Tim Mullen. The trio took fifth place at the chequered flag last night in a result that didn't reflect their pace throughout the race meeting.
Tim Mullen was behind the wheel of the Ferrari 430 for qualifying, running on the harder compound tyres that he would start the race on. This strategy worked for the race as it meant that the team could double stint from the start. Unfortunately everything didn't go quite to plan during the qualifying session.
"You only get 15 minutes to qualify at Road Atlanta and then your moment is over," explained CRS MD Mark Busfield. "It was taking a while to get heat into the hard tyres but then on his fifth lap Tim was fully on it. Unfortunately he crossed the pit exit line on the track, which isn't allowed and got pulled in for an immediate stop-go penalty. That was the end of that but we knew we could do a lot from fifth position in a 10-hour race."
Tim started the race and by his second stint he was in the lead of the GTE-Am class. It was then Pierre Ehret's turn to take the wheel. He too put on a strong display until a tiny error at turn one during the second half of his double stint saw him run wide onto the grass. Once on the grass he became a passenger and the Ferrari hit the tyre wall, sustaining damage to the front left of the car.
After a very busy 50 minutes behind the wall for the CRS technicians, Tim ventured back out on track in the repaired Ferrari. He reported that the car felt better than ever and soon came in to hand over to Roger Wills.
Roger put on another fine display, completing a double stint before handing back to Pierre who had a great run with no dramas. Another run for Roger preceded Tim taking the wheel again for the final leg of the race.
"The end of the race was just a case of getting to the end for us as none of the guys ahead had any problems," said Tim. "The final result is a bit of a shame as we all drove well and we were battling for the lead. Pierre's first stint was great so it was really unfortunate for him that he had the off. The car was great in the race. Road Atlanta isn't a track we know well so we worked hard to improve the car through the weekend and by the time the race came along it was really good."
"All in all though Petit Le Mans is a fantastic event," concluded Tim. "It was great to be out with Pierre and Roger again and I look forward to going to China and fighting to get on the podium with them there."