No qualifying, no problem as Ende scores first ALMS points of the season
April 16, 2012 (Los Angeles, Calif.) â€“ After qualifying was rained out and having only driven four laps in practice â€“ in the rain â€“ for the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach, Duncan Ende was tasked with starting the no. 25 Dempsey / Silicon Tech Racing machine for Saturdayâ€™s two-hour race.
As the field was gridded based on owners points, Ende would start near the back of the Prototype Challenge field. With the bulk of the GT field breathing down his neck, Ende was in a hurry to make up positions in the opening laps, eventually moving his car up to third place in class. However, he would spin exiting turn five when he checked up for slower GT traffic, and had to take an escape road later in his stint. Despite that, he turned the car over to teammate Henri Richard in fourth place during a caution period just before the one-hour mark.
Richard would have a crazy session of his own, enduring a couple of spins before bringing the car home fifth in class at the checkered flag. After not finishing at the season-opening Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, Ende was thrilled that the team scored its first points in ALMS competition.
â€œIt was definitely a challenging situation, but Iâ€™m really happy we got some points and made it to the finish,â€ said Ende. â€œWe would have liked to have been further towards the front, and I wasnâ€™t happy with spinning, but I just got caught out in traffic and Long Beach is a track with high consequences. That being said, we brought the car home with almost no damage and with all the traffic and walls around here, thatâ€™s an accomplishment.â€
Endeâ€™s third attempt at his home race left him with a strong result despite limited track time, and a short learning curve in how to deal with faster prototype and slower GT traffic on a street circuit.
â€œThe traffic was unbelievable, the track was a total mess, and the car wasnâ€™t quite where we wanted it to be â€“ but it was great,â€ said Ende. â€œIn terms of having to learn on the fly, that was the most difficult race Iâ€™ve done. Since I had no green flag running before the race started I just tried to learn as much as I could in the early laps. We had some contact but it wasnâ€™t too bad and the car was okay. I think we have learned a lot about this car and we are in a great spot now that we are heading to Mazda Raceway.â€
The next race in the 2012 American Le Mans Series season is the American Le Mans Monterey Presented by Patron on May 12, 2012, a six-hour race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. That race will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com, with a re-air on Sunday, May 13 at 5:00 PM ET on ESPN2.
For more about Duncan Ende, visit www.duncanende.com, or follow him on twitter at @duncanende.