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Team Falken Tire Turns Heads And Wheels At The Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix

Derrick Walker’s Team Falken Tire as it tracks around the city street course at the Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix. Image Credit: The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron

Team Falken Tire Turns Heads And Wheels At The Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix

Yes, just as it was in Mid-Ohio, at least three other teams with six driver pairings were supposed to lock the Derrick Walker managed Team Falken Tire out of any podium finish in the seventh round sold out ALMS GT Class race through the streets of Baltimore. The drivers Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler captured their second and most impressive victory in their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR this weekend at the 2011 Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix.

The team’s first order of business was to move up from its P5 qualifying position, while remaining clear of being involved in any collection of machinery, that has a tendency of happening on a tight and bumpy closed street course. Sure enough, just after the Green Flag dropped to start the race, driver Wolf Henzler, who started the first stint, managed to wiggle through carnage in Turn-1 of the narrow 2.04-mile circuit, picking up two positions before the first lap was over.

Team Falken Tire’s Wolf Henzler maintains the inside passage at race start (left-inside) to gain two positions on the opening lap of the Baltimore Grand Prix. Image Credit: The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron

Henzler showed a strong pace and his equipment proved to handle well on the rough temporary course near Camden Yards baseball stadium in downtown Baltimore. After putting the pressure on the leaders for many laps, the German driver then pulled a daring outside pass toward the lead around Turn-1 and got the position … now P3.

At the mandatory pit stop for a tire change, fuel, and a driver change on Lap 35, the Team Falken Tire pit crew, lead by crew chief Nico Castellaccio, performed the quickest pit stop of the whole GT field and sent team-mate Brian Sellers out with one hour to go in the timed race.

A few laps transpired and the action on the track was placed under a Full Course caution to fix a loose manhole cover … after the restart, Sellers took advantage of contact between the final two top running GT Class cars (the #55 BMW and #3 Corvette). The Turn 1 incident and penalty issued to Tommy Milner driving the #3 Corvette created enough separation where the Walker Racing managed driver led the remainder of the race and took the checkered flag for the second time this year.

Team Falken Tire’s Brian Sellers leads the GT Class during the Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix. Image Credit: The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron

The team’s first victory came at Mid-Ohio earlier this year where the Walker Racing led Team Falken Tire drivers took advantage of their superior Falken rain tires to survive monsoon conditions at the picturesque road course. This win thrust Derrick Walker back into the limelight where he had been before in his previous life as a ChampCar World Series team owner. On 7 April 2007, Walker won his first race as a team owner since 1999 with the then Team Australia’s Will Power (the IndyCar winner of the 2011 Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix) won the CCWS’s inaugural (and only) Las Vegas GP.

Funny how the cream always rises to the top in these inaugural races … even when the cream becomes separated.

Derrick Walker’s Team Falken Tire takes the trophy in the GT Class (photo left) at the podium ceremony at the Baltimore Grand Prix. Image Credit: The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron

Results – 71 laps (Class Leaders In BOLD):

Pos – Class – Drivers – Team/Car – Time/Gap

1. P1 Al Masaood/Kane Dyson Lola-Mazda 2h01m03.170s
2. P1 Dyson/Smith Dyson Lola-Mazda + 6.961s

3. PC Marcelli/Drissi Intersport FLM + 25.760s
4. PC Lux/Julian Genoa FLM + 58.462s
5. PC Bennett/Montecalvo CORE Autosport FLM + 1m00.861s

6. GT Henzler/Sellers Falken Porsche + 1m16.935s
7. PC Jeannette/Gonzalez CORE Autosport FLM + 1m19.921s
8. GT Muller/Hand BMW + 1 lap
9. GT Gavin/Magnussen Corvette + 1 lap
10. PC Nicolosi/Boon Performance Tech FLM + 1 lap
11. GT Miller/Maassen Miller Porsche + 1 lap
12. GT Auberlen/Werner BMW + 1 lap
13. GT Melo/Vilander Risi Ferrari + 1 lap
14. GT Beretta/Milner Corvette + 1 lap
15. P1 Burgess/McMurry Autocon Lola-AER + 3 laps
16. GT Neiman/Law Flying Lizard Porsche + 3 laps
17. GT Sharp/van Overbeek Extreme Speed Ferrari + 3 laps
18. GT Brown/Cosmo Extreme Speed Ferrari + 3 laps

19. GTC Pappas/Bleekemolen Black Swan Porsche + 4 laps
20. GTC Sweedler/Keen Alex Job Porsche + 4 laps
21. GTC Potter/Stanton Magnus Porsche + 4 laps
22. GTC LeSaffre/Davis Green Hornet Porsche + 4 laps
23. GTC von Moltke/Bunting TRG Porsche + 4 laps
24. GTC Ende/Pumpelly TRG Porsche + 4 laps
25. P1 Dumas/Graf Muscle Milk Lola-Aston + 7 laps
26. GT Bergmeister/Long Flying Lizard Porsche + 15 laps

Retirements:

PC Ducote/Ducote Intersport FLM 52 laps
PC Dobson/Lewis PR1 Mathiasen FLM 14 laps
GT Jones/Moran RSR Jaguar 1 lap
GT Junqueira/Wilden RSR Jaguar 0 laps
(ht: chart – autosport.com)

The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron will now head west to Monterey, California for the ModSpace American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patron. The six-hour race will take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 17th, and will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com at 3:15 PM ET, and tape delayed on ESPN2 on September 18th at 1PM ET.

… notes from The EDJE

 

[Article first published as Team Falken Tire Turns Heads And Wheels At The Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix on Technorati]

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