THIRD FOR MILLER & BECHTOLSHEIMER AT LIME ROCK PARK
The #33 CJWR Porsche Fresno/HD Radio Cayman made a welcome return to the podium with an outstanding third place finish at Lime Rock Park. The result leaves drivers Marc Miller and Till Bechtolsheimer just six points off the Continental Tire SportsCar Championship lead with four races remaining.
With just over 50 minutes to go in the two hour race, Marc Miller began his stint with a full tank of fuel and four fresh Continental Tires. Sixth place leaving pit lane quickly became fourth place as Miller was able to get by the #69 McLaren of Jesse Lazare as the #76 McLaren made its final pit stop. The Holland, Michigan resident's quest for the podium was helped by a brief full course yellow which tightened up the field with 46 minutes remaining. After five laps circulating behind the safety car, the green flag fell once again. Within two laps, fourth became third as Miller got by Championship rival, Cameron Cassells in the #12 Bodymotion entered Cayman.
The next target was the #28 Porsche of Dylan Murcott but catching the second place car through the ST traffic proved to be an uphill task. This was underlined by an incident entering Turn 4 on Lap 97. With just under twenty minutes to go, Miller was pushed into a spin by an errant ST class BMW. The contact demoted him back to fifth position and a place on the podium looked beyond reach. Incredibly, the #33 Cayman was able to work its way back into contention with Miller taking the final spot on the podium for good with just 8 minutes remaining.
The opening laps of the race brought nothing but frustration for Miller's teammate, Till Bechtolsheimer, as he was stuck behind Alan Brynjolfsson's Volt Mustang. After 32 frustrating laps, relief came in the form of the race's first full course yellow. Unfortunately it was caused by the #35 CJWR Cayman of Russell Ward as his Porsche came to a halt with a fuel pump failure. With fuel and fresh tires, Bechtolsheimer re-started in eighth position but had moved up to fifth within four laps. For the remainder of his stint, the New York based Englishman lapped as quickly as the leading cars and gradually moved up to the head of the field as those in front of him made their scheduled stops. After his most impressive spell in the car since the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, Bechtolsheimer pitted handing the car over to Miller and his subsequent run to the podium.
It was great being in the car for a double stint. It always feels good being in the car a little longer. Battling with some of the slower GS cars was tough and it was a problem getting around them. Once we put the new Continental Tires on the car I was able to pass a bunch of cars and make some positions back. I couldn’t be happier, I thought we’d lost it all when Marc was hit by the ST car but ultimately, I’m thrilled!
We set the car up looser than we ever have before, hoping that it would really free up towards the end of the stint. The car was a little difficult to drive but on fresh Continental tires, Till drove it up through the pack and got us in the top five.
We had a stellar strategy and the crew were awesome in the pits. I just was trying to chase down the #28 car and I thought we had enough for them but the traffic just proved to be too much.
The fight for the 2017 Continental Tire SportsCar Championship resumes at Road America, WI on Saturday, August 5th.