LAKEVILLE, Connecticut (July 25, 2015) – The GT Daytona (GTD) class-leading Paul Miller Racing No. 48 Audi R8 LMS was knocked out of the Northeast Grand Prix just past the halfway point of Saturday’s two-hour and 40-minute race but still left Lime Rock Park with the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTD points lead.
The Audi was collected by the overall race-leading Prototype Challenge (PC) entry that was attempting to make a pass on the fast, downhill-run leading on to the Lime Rock front straight. Both cars crashed hard into the outside Turn 7 retaining wall but Paul Miller Racing driver, Christopher Haase, and the PC-car driver were uninjured.
“First of all, the race went pretty good for us,” Haase said. “We had a nice balanced car, the team did a fantastic job on that, we had a great start and everything was going well right up until the point of the incident. It is always difficult to judge as a driver, but from my point of view, the guy was a little optimistic. He destroyed our race and our chance to pick up more points.”
The race-ending incident also put a stop to a six-race top-five finishing streak the Paul Miller Racing team started with a victory in last year’s season-ending Petit Le Mans.
The No. 48 Audi R8 LMS also lost any chance at a Lime Rock victory, which would have been the team’s first this season, just when it seemed like a strong possibility. Haase and co-driver, Dion von Moltke, were the only GTD teammates to lead in the Northeastern Grand Prix, and the No. 48 team was competitive all weekend.
After winning a class-leading second pole of the season in Friday qualifying, von Moltke took the lead at the drop of the green flag and led every lap of his hour-long opening stint.
Von Moltke pitted under green and handed the Audi over to Haase who quickly cycled back into the lead as the rest of the GTD field made its stops. Haase then set what was, at the time, the fastest GTD lap of the race only to be taken out in the incident five minutes later.
“There were three PC cars around me, and I don’t think the one saw me, because when I turned into the corner he just hit me very hard,” Haase said. “It was not like a touch or something and then you go off. Right when he hit me, the car was broken and then we just went straight into the barrier.
“Things happen in racing. We should now focus on our next races and forget about this one, but it’s definitely disappointing because we had a shot for the victory.”
Despite the disappointing end to the day, Paul Miller Racing, and Haase and von Moltke, held their GTD team and driver championship leads. The No. 48 team and drivers now have 171 points in first place, five points clear of the second place team and drivers.
“It was a tough ending to what started off as a good day,” von Moltke said. “Ultimately, what happened has happened and its unfortunate, but we’ve got a really strong team, a really determined focused team here, and our heads are already up and we are focused on Road America. Our Audi R8 is a great car, we’ve got a great team and just have to keep plugging away laps, keep getting points and we will come back from this even stronger.”
Next up for Paul Miller Racing is the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, August 7 – 9.
– Paul Miller Racing and von Moltke are the only GTD team and driver to earn a repeat pole position this season. Friday’s new track qualifying record at Lime Rock was preceded by the No. 48 team’s pole at Detroit in late May. The Motown top qualifying effort was von Moltke’s first IMSA TUDOR Championship pole.