RSR Racing Oreca FLM09 wins on the strength of Endeâ€™s opening stint
August 12, 2013 (Elkhart Lake, Wis.) â€“ For the second time this season, Duncan Ende and co-driver Bruno Junqueira stood atop the American Le Mans Series podium after winning the Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire class at Sundayâ€™s Orion Energy Systems 245 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Not only did the no. 9 RSR Racing Oreca FLM09 take the victory, but the duo finished third in the overall standings of the Orion Energy Systems 245 at the historic weekend at Road America in which the ALMS raced alongside the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.
Ende would start Sundayâ€™s ALMS race in second place in the Prototype Challenge class, avoiding the opening lap incident in which several GT and PC class cars spun exiting Road Americaâ€™s turn three. When a full course caution period came out shortly thereafter, the RSR Racing team elected to pit Ende for dry weather tires and fuel. Rejoining the race, Ende was able to leapfrog the field during his hour at the wheel of the no. 9 RSR Racing Oreca FLM09, moving back to the lead in class and to third overall with a large margin to the second-placed PC car.
While the team would relinquish the lead during the next pit stop, when Junqueira replaced Ende and the RSR Racing team performed a full service, the strategy enabled Junqueira to regain the lead in the latter stages of the race. When a full-course caution came out with eight minutes remaining, the teamâ€™s second victory of the year was sealed.
â€œWinning feels so much better than losing our lead like at Mosport,â€ said Ende. â€œWe came into this race really thinking we were owed one after what happened last month. Bruno did a great job in qualifying and the RSR Racing guys did a great job preparing and setting up our car, and then they called the absolute perfect strategy in the race. Things were a little bit tricky starting on a wet track that dried very quickly, and coming in for the dry Continental tires and fuel really set us up for victory.â€
Endeâ€™s opening stint was the fifth time this season that he led the opening stages of the Prototype Challenge class in the American Le Mans Series, but he was quick to credit the work of the RSR Racing crew for his performance at Road America.
â€œIt really boils down to the team making the call to come in for tires and fuel during the first caution period,â€ said Ende. â€œI didnâ€™t have the best start, trying to be conservative and stay out of trouble, but that put me right into the middle of all the trouble. Stopping under the caution put us far back in the field, but we were on the dry weather tires at just the perfect time to come back through the field while most of the field was struggling on wet tires. It also put Bruno into a perfect fuel window for the rest of the race.â€
The next round of the American Le Mans Series will be August 30-31 at the Grand Prix of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland.
For more about Duncan Ende, visit www.duncanende.com, or follow him on twitter at @duncanende.
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