Team Hardpoint Perseveres At Sebring During IMSA Double

Team Hardpoint Perseveres At Sebring During IMSA Double

19.07.2020: Drivers Ferriol and Pumpelly Relegated To Eighth Place After Late Cut Tire in IMSA WeatherTech Championship Race on Saturday Night, Their Second Race in As Many Days


Drivers Ferriol and Pumpelly Relegated To Eighth Place After Late Cut Tire in IMSA WeatherTech Championship Race on Saturday Night, Their Second Race in As Many Days


 


Team Hardpoint leaves this weekend's IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge doubleheader having taken a large step forward in its two young racing programs. Co-drivers Rob Ferriol and Spencer Pumpelly shared the No. 30 Team Hardpoint/GridRival Audi R8 LMS GT3 on Saturday evening, running as high as fifth before debris on the track cut a tire late in the race left the team a lap down with an eighth-place finish in the WeatherTech GT Daytona (GTD) class at Sebring International Raceway.
 


The Saturday race came one day after a challenging 13th-place finish in the Grand Sport (GS) class during Friday's Pilot Challenge Grand Sport (GS) race for Ferriol and Pumpelly in the No. 31 Team Hardpoint/GridRival.com Audi R8 GT4.

 

 
With both Ferriol, as a driver, and Team Hardpoint itself making just the second career start in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship, the GTD race was proof that team belongs in the sportscar racing's top series.
 


Ferriol began the race in ninth and restarted from the 10th position following a full-course caution with two-hours, 15-minutes remaining. From there, Ferriol climbed to fifth place before pitting and handing the car to Pumpelly with 90 minutes remaining.
 


"There are a lot of positives coming out of the weekend," Ferriol said. "Anytime you can finish a race in a position better than it appeared coming in, that's a good day. I looped the car in turn 17. Had I not spun, and if we hadn't cut the tire, we could have been as high as fifth. Obviously, those things did happen but it's a step in the right direction. The results don't tell the whole story today. We executed, our pit stops were good, and our pace was as good as it was going to be. We were working our way up the field."
 


Pumpelly was in ninth position after the green-flag pit stop sequence, again climbing to fifth place with 55 minutes remaining before making the final scheduled stop and exiting pit lane in seventh position.
 


But as Pumpelly was leaving pit lane, a small piece of debris cut a rear tire and the Team Hardpoint Audi returned to pit lane one lap later after carefully navigating Sebring's 17-turn, 3.74-mile circuit. That slow lap and unscheduled stop shuffled Team Hardpoint a lap down and back to its ultimate eight-place finishing position.
 


"It was frustrating, but only because of the tire," Pumpelly said. "I thought we made a pretty good jump with our competitiveness and pace. The team came a long way in refining how we organized things. Rob did a great job in his first stint and was able to get by a couple of cars. Our pit stops were good. Ultimately, the tire being cut on our out lap was what really put us back and there was no chance for recovering. We just drove it home, but it was a great job by everybody."
 
 


Friday's Michelin Pilot Challenge race, the second round in a 10-race season that was delayed following the season opener in January, was good for the team's big picture despite the 13th-place finish. The race was red flagged for more than an hour for lightning in the area, then finished under caution after a second storm passed through Central Florida.
 



The finish improved the team to eighth in the season-long point championship in both the team and driver championship battles early in Team Hardpoint's sophomore season.
 


"This was a great team-building experience," Ferriol said of Friday's race. "There was so much thrown at us. I started on a wet track with slick tires. I was really proud of where we qualified. We have some changes that we know we need to make for the next time out, and we will. We had to fight through a lot of difficult circumstances, and we did, and we'll move forward and improve."
 


Team Hardpoint returns to action in just two weeks with both programs, as the IMSA WeatherTech Championship and the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge return to action July 31-August 2 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The team is competing in the full IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge schedule and began the WeatherTech Championship Sprint Cup campaign in July at Daytona.

 







Reece White- photos Hardpoint

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/team-hardpoint-sebring-imsa-double---209294.html

19.07.2020 / MaP

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