LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 5, 2012)– For the first two hours of Saturday’s two-hour and 45-minute Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge, it appeared that co-drivers Bryce Miller and Sascha Maassen might bring the No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche 911 GT3 RSR home with their second straight top-five GT result in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.
Miller had a solid run in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing machine during his leadoff double stint, but fought what was later determined to be a creeping condition in the left-rear wheel bearing throughout his stint beginning just 20 minutes into the race. Nevertheless, he did manage to adapt to the condition and battled for position with the Falken Porsche, one of the BMWs and one of the Ferraris.
Miller worked his way all the way to third place just prior to the race’s only full-course caution period at the 30-minute mark. He dropped back to ninth following his first pit stop but again worked his way forward into the top five and was running fourth when he pitted just shy of the two-hour mark to turn the car over to Maassen.
Unfortunately, the handling difficulties worsened as the race went on, making the car a handful by the time Maassen strapped into the cockpit. He made an unscheduled pit stop with 15 minutes remaining, and after a quick repair, Maassen returned to action and finished ninth in his 100th ALMS race.
“We managed still to finish in the points,” said Maassen. “Bryce did a great job in the beginning. I was really happy and I was looking forward to my stint. Early on, I felt strange behavior on the rear and the power steering kept quitting in corners. This problem in the rear, there was a tow change when I braked hard. It was killing my confidence because at one point I braked at the left side and I finished braking on the right side and I was lucky there was still some track, so I stopped braking hard and I just cruised around. My team told me how quick I had to go to still keep the position.”
Despite the disappointing result, Miller believes the team is clearly headed in the right direction with the 2012 ALMS season just passing its halfway point.
“The car was actually very good early in the race,” Bryce said. “We came into this weekend really in control of the factors more than I think we’ve been in a while. We’re really on top of the car and the tires, so I think we were really looking forward to capitalizing on that this weekend, but it doesn’t always go your way.
“The last two races have been really big strides forward for us, both on the car and as a team. Those things have really moved forward for us and the pace really shows as much. Dunlop has also brought some more in the tire and we’re also learning more about the tire as a team, so this is all progressing forward and again can be reflected in our pace.”
Next up for the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing team is the four-hour Road Race Showcase at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. on Saturday, August 18.
PHOTO: The No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche in action at Mid-Ohio. Credit: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image