Fifth and seventh places were not at all what Ende had in mind
May 20, 2013 (Los Angeles, Calif.) â€“ It looked as though Duncan Endeâ€™s run of bad luck was coming to an end in the closing stages of Sundayâ€™s Cadillac Sports Car Challenge at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. In the closing stages of the race, Ende had the no. 24 STANDD / Merchant Services Audi R8 LMS solidly in second position after passing Andy Pilgrim’s Cadillac CTS-V.
However, it would be a slow puncture, coupled with a late-race caution period, which would end his chances for his first podium of the season. The puncture, which happened before the caution, meant Ende wasnâ€™t able to mount a challenge to the race leader, James Sofronas in the sister no. 14 GMG Audi R8 LMS, or defend from the charging cars behind when the race went green with two laps remaining. He would ultimately finish Sundayâ€™s race in fifth position.
â€œOn one hand, Iâ€™m happy that we had the speed to be on the podium both days in Austin and definitely had the speed to win on Sunday,â€ said Ende. â€œBut mostly Iâ€™m just disappointed with how the weekend turned out. The GMG Racing guys did a great job preparing and setting up the Audi R8 LMS, and it was really quick all weekend â€“ quick enough to be on the podium twice.
â€œAndy and I had a great battle and I was lucky enough to see a gap in traffic and go for it. He pushed me really hard but it was very fun. As the race went on our tires didnâ€™t fall off much and I was able to open the gap over Andy but that went away with that caution period. And under caution, I could tell we were in trouble with something wrong at the back of the car. It was really tough to deal with in the fast right handers and I tried hard to get the spots back from Andy and Randy Pobst but the tire was getting really low on pressure.â€
Saturdayâ€™s race had also ended with disappointment for Ende, after falling from fourth to seventh in the closing stages of the race after being shuffled backwards after a late-race restart.
â€œSaturday was another great run that didnâ€™t end like we would have liked,â€ said Ende. â€œWe were running with James just cruising around, biding our time, and then I got sucked into a big battle on the restart. On the short circuit at Austin, when one car gets by you another one tends to follow them through. I was really hoping to have a straight up battle with James for the win on Sunday but the flat tire was just a bad break.Â One of these days weâ€™ll catch a break and be able to put up a real result.â€
After five of fourteen races, Ende sits seventh in the GT class championship with 360 points.
The Cadillac Sports Car Challenge at Circuit of the Americas will air on Sunday, June 16 at 5:00 PM ET on NBC Sports. Â The next two rounds of the Pirelli world Challenge will be May 31 â€“ June 1 at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix in Detroit, Michigan.
For more about Duncan Ende, visit www.duncanende.com, or follow him on twitter at @duncanende.
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