Heartbreak for Pfaff Motorsport at Mid-Ohio
YOU HAVE TO FEEL FOR THIS TEAM WHO HAS SHOWN THEIR COMPETITIVENESS FROM THEIR FIRST OUTING AT THE ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
They kept a good pace and stayed close to the leaders in the early stage of the Rolex 24 before electronic glitches put them several laps down and then involved in a collision in treacherous conditions ended their race prematurely.
They arrived at Sebring with a new tub as the one involved in that Rolex 24 accident could not be repaired. Apart from the first session they were close to the top of the leader board and they qualified third in the GTD class. Zach Robichon started the race in wet conditions and drove a heck of a stint in those conditions. The team was looking good all race for a podium until an ABS fault altered their plan eventually finishing 2 laps behind in 10th place.
And for Mid-Ohio the conditions were far from ideal all weekend, except for race day, with Mother Nature keeping the conditions damp, cold and overcast.
But once again, Pfaff Motorsport with drivers Scott Hargrove and Zach Robichon showed their pace scoring a second place in practices 1 and 2 and a fifth place in practice 3. Zach Robichon qualified the plaid Porsche in second place before being relegated to fifth due to a team procedural error during a red-flag situation.
From the start of the race, it was quite competitive in the GTD class(as always) and unfortunately Robichon went down to ninth place because of a contact from another competitor. Both, Scott and Zach, kept pushing and keeping the hopes alive with good team strategy for a finish on the top step of the podium until another contact with minutes to go in the 2h45m sprint race ended it all.
Although it is a disappointing result, Pfaff Motorsports manager Steve Bortolotti has plenty of positives from the weekend. “In all, I think everyone did an excellent job this weekend, despite the outcome once again,” he said. “We dealt with plenty of adverse conditions, and it was ours and Zach’s first time racing here, so from a performance aspect, I’m very impressed.”
“(Race Engineer) Andrew Marangoni did an excellent job applying his knowledge to this event and giving us a well-thought out setup,” Bortolotti added. “Both Zach and Scott were able to maximize the 911 chassis in the wet and dry, and a lot of that comes down to him, and our technicians J.P. Dias and Corey Whiteman.”
“The guys just knew what to do out there,” he said. “They were driving like seasoned veterans.”
“It was a good race until it wasn’t,” Hargrove said. “Having finished that way after the weekend that we had is disappointing, but there are so many things that this team did right, and the Porsche 911 GT3 R was amazing to drive all weekend. It’s a matter of time before everything clicks, and Watkins is a circuit we’ve all enjoyed some success at.”
“Everything was there this weekend – it just wasn’t meant to be,” Robichon added. “We’re just looking at our next opportunity to bring home the points this team deserves – and it’s a great opportunity because it’s at a track that both Scott and I are very familiar with. Watkins Glen is a really fun track, and I know after this one we’re focusing on getting the job done there. The car was great this weekend, and we have some unfinished business to take care of, so that’s all we’re looking at.”
No doubt this team is growing through all the adversity they have faced thus far this season. And with plenty of racing to go until the end of the season, they will certainly found the way to the top step.
For us Canadian viewers, we can catch a tape-delayed version of the Acura Sports Car Challenge by tuning in to TSN5 on Sunday, May 12 from 12:30 to 1:30 pm EST (subscription may apply).
Images: Jordan Lenssens/Lenssens Photo