Sunday, February 1, 2015

TUSC: Christopher Haase with a top-five finish in Rolex 24 at Daytona

Christopher Haase Press Release

In its 53rd edition, the 24 hour classic at Daytona delivered the usual excitement – and it proved to be more challenging than ever. Changing track conditions and levels of surface grip, dense traffic, and enormously high speeds tested the driver’s abilities, and hardly any of the teams had a race that was even remotely free of trouble. The quartet of drivers for Paul Miller Racing also struggled to get its #48 Audi R8 LMS to the finish. They ultimately came through and secured 5th place in the GTD class, and the team can be happy with important points for the USCC season standings.

The weekend started out very well for the drivers Bryce Miller, Dion von Moltke, René Rast, and Christopher Haase, with no problems in free practice. An excellent setup for the car had already been found at the “Roar”, the official pre-race test at Daytona. In qualifying, Haase drove the Audi to position 11 on the grid and thus established a good starting point for the race that would run over 24 long hours. Still, Haase was not entirely happy with his qualifying run: “I believe we ran a bit too much wing which cost us some top speed on the long straights. And going through the infield section, the additional downforce did not gain us enough time to make up for it.”

The race itself was off to a difficult start for the team. Rain during the night before meant that grip levels on the track had changed which affected the Audi R8 LMS’ performance. But as darkness descended on the Daytona International Speedway, the car’s initial grip returned, and things were looking up. Place by place, the four drivers moved up the order; a few hours into the contest, the team was in the lead of its class, battling with its competitors. Just as for so many other teams, however, trouble soon set in for the #48 crew. Haase: “Over time, our rear suspension got worse, the car was precarious to drive. That led to an off-track excursion which meant repair work that unfortunately brought us a few laps’ deficit on the class leaders, and the damage to the car then also led to the front bodywork coming unfastened during my stint – that meant we had to stop again. Thankfully, the guys at Paul Miller Racing made sensationally quick work of it and we were able to contain the loss of time.”

Photo credit: Paul Miller Racing / Bob Chapman