Irish eyes were smiling on Falken Porsche this weekend, as the tyre manufacturer’s ALMS team took its second successive win on the closed street course of Baltimore.
Nestled on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore is the largest city in the state of Maryland. Founded in 1729, the city takes its name from Lord Baltimore, first Governor of the province of Maryland and part of the English colonisation of Ireland. Baltimore, County Cork was founded in the early 1600s: the word comes from Baile an Tigh Mór: ‘the town of the big house’ in Irish.
This year’s ALMS Baltimore race was a nail-biting two hours. In front of Porsche Chairman, Matthias Müller, works driver Wolf Henzler and team mate Bryan Sellers repeated last year’s winning performance largely due to an excellent pit strategy and pure determination: the CEO could not have picked a better first ALMS race to watch live. “I’ve rarely experienced such an exciting two hours,” said Müller. “The safety car came out in the first lap. I headed to the pit wall to share the excitement with the Porsche teams. The competition in the ALMS is impressive.”
Driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Henzler started sixth but was immediately embroiled in traffic following a first-lap smash. “There were cars left, right and centre,” he explained. “I was lucky that no one hit me. Somehow I found a free line and made up two places.” Sitting back for a few laps allowed him to study the battles ahead before making his own move for the lead. Sellers lost several places while in the pits but fought his way back to the front in the first hour of racing. Despite coming under attack, he fended off all comers and eventually took the flag. “We weren’t always as fast as the Chevrolets and Ferraris,” he said, “but we were fast enough where it counted.”
“To win such a great race for the second time in a row is fantastic,” said Wolf Henzler. “Our team’s strategy was perfect. We came into the pits when we saw that we could go from there to finish the race and didn’t wait for a safety car phase. That was exactly the right decision.”
Well done to Falken, to ALMS and to the people of Baltimore, who once again served up a weekend to be proud of. This is proper racing!