16 Mar Disappointing Sebring weekend for Konrad Motorsport
Rarely before, the traditional 12 hours of Sebring has been so attritional and turbulent like it was this year. Numerous accidents and the most full course caution periods in the history of the race put a stamp on the 62nd edition of endurance classic in the sunny state Florida. Like many others, also the squad of team manager Franz Konrad and Patrick Dempsey wasn’t spared from running into trouble. Already early in the race an accident as well as a technical issue destroyed all hopes for a good result.
Just three hours were over when Christian Engelhart behind the wheel of the Konrad 911 had a collision with a car of the prototype class. The disappointment could really be seen in the face of the German: “One of the prototypes spun right in front of me and when I tried to find a way around it, I hit a competitor in front of me who just was hard on the brakes. I had no chance to avoid the accident.”
Although the team of Franz Konrad could repair the Porsche 911 GT America and after a stop of about 2 hours managed to get the car back on the track again, it didn’t last for long. In the second half of the 12 hours the car definitely retired from the race. “After the tough setback we at least had the goal to see the chequered flag. However, we had to realize that the car was damaged too badly and so we stopped racing”, Franz Konrad reported kind of disappointed.
What could have been possible for the Austrian and his team mates was demonstrated with a tremendous performance by Rolf Ineichen. The Swiss, who after a punishment had to start from the back of the field, improved position by position. Competing in the GTD class, which with 26 vehicles was the strongest class in the field, the 35-year-old performed a hunt through the field up to third rank before he handed over the car to Christian Engelhart. “All members of the team worked really hard during the complete weekend, thanks to all of them”, Ineichen praised his squad. “We really had the pace, but that’s racing.”
The sister car of Patrick Dempsey, the Austrian Norbert Siedler and the two Americans Joe Foester and Andrew Davis crossed the chequered flag on 15 position. An unplanned stop for a repair cost the team of the TV-Doctor of “Grey’s Anatomy“ valuable time and with that all chances for a top result at the 12 hours of Sebring.