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AUSTIN, Texas (September 21, 2015) – Paul Miller Racing and team drivers Christopher Haase and Dion von Moltke raced to a come-from-behind podium finish Saturday at Circuit of The Americas where they placed third in the GT Daytona (GTD) class in the No. 48 Castrol EDGE Audi R8 LMS at the Lone Star Le Mans.
The podium result, the first for the No. 48 team since Watkins Glen in June, came after Haase capped a late-race charge through the field with a last-lap pass for third place.
The team had to overcome a costly 60-second stop-and-hold penalty in the first 35 minutes after race officials ruled pole-starting driver von Moltke failed to stop for a red light at pit exit.
The No. 48 fell out of the top 10 running order after the penalty but never went a lap down. Haase took over for von Moltke and passed several competitors in the race’s final hour.
“For my stint in the last hour I’d say I risked the whole hour,” Haase said. “I just drove over the limit of the car, hoped that it would work out and it did, luckily, at the end. I think this was the shot for us to come back in the championship and Dion did a great job in the beginning. Tough race but good at the end.”
Von Moltke, who clinched the season-long TOTAL Pole Award when he won a GTD class-leading fourth pole of the year on Friday, led the opening laps of the race. The team called the No. 48 to the pits during an early caution period and the red-light confusion occurred for von Moltke and some other frontrunners when they exited to rejoin the race.
“It was a pretty difficult stint,” von Moltke said. “We got off to a really good start, in a little bit cooler conditions the car was fantastic, and in 10 minutes we had an eight second gap. A full course yellow came out and we decided to pit. We lost one position as we were leaving and the car in front of me just completely came to a stop at pit exit. I almost hit them and was looking at them when I missed the red light. We had to stop-and-hold for a 60-second penalty that was really, really difficult to take.”
Von Moltke focused on making up as much ground as he could after the penalty.
“I was really just trying to attack as much as possible to try and close the gap,” von Moltke said. “Luckily at the end of the stint we had a full course yellow and were able to close the gap. Chris took over and I think he started in ninth or 10th but he kept it on track, had a great run and worked his was all the way up to P3. Good points for us today. We’ll do battle at Petit.”
The team’s podium at COTA, its fourth in the nine races run to date, put them right back into the GTD team and driver championship race that will be decided in less than two weeks in the season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Paul Miller Racing and the No. 48 Castrol EDGE Audi R8 LMS are the defending Petit Le Mans race winners.
The No. 48 Paul Miller Racing team, and Haase and von Moltke, now have 255 points in both the GTD team and driver championship standings, just one point shy of the leaders in both battles heading to Road Atlanta.
“We just did it and now we are a point behind the championship leader, which is just fantastic for the last race,” Haase said. “Our Audi R8 LMS just has great reliability, which is what always helps us during races, and it’s great to work with the team and to go for the last race together.”
Haase and Bryce Miller, who will be back with the team at Road Atlanta, were two of the three drivers in last year’s Petit Le Mans victory.
“Petit Le Mans is definitely the race which measured our performance last year, actually the best race for us during the season,” Haase said. “It’s a 10 hour race with Audi, which just has such huge reliability, but you need luck and Petit Le Mans traffic is pretty tough. We know our car is fast there, so if the luck is just on our side we can manage to win the championship.”
Von Moltke will run his first Petit Le Mans with Paul Miller Racing.
“It’s going to be a long hard battle but I think we’ve got the best team here,” von Moltke said. “We’ve got a great car with the Audi R8 LMS and we’re ready to go to battle.”
About Audi of America and the Audi R8 LMS: Audi began a new chapter in 2009 with the introduction of the Audi Sport customer racing program. For the first time it was possible for motorsport customers to acquire a race car designed for customer racing events. Since its inception, the success of the R8 LMS has been significant throughout the GT3 racing format worldwide, including victory in the GT class in the 2013 edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The Audi R8 LMS shares more than 50% of its parts with the Audi R8 street car including the naturally aspirated V10 5.2 Liter engine, the Audi Space Frame and a variety of other components.
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. Audi was a top-performing luxury brand in Europe during 2012, and broke all-time company sales records in the U.S. Through 2016, AUDI AG will invest about $17 billion on new products and technologies.
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