Richard – “On Saturday, I qualified mid-pack and was really looking forward to the race. After the green, I was maintaining 2nd place when I saw dust outside of Turn 10. Later, I noticed Tim re-enter the track surface in my mirrors. I held him off for a few laps, but Tim out-braked me into Turn 1 and he went inside. The remaining laps were uneventful until I developed an engine misfire. The engine simply shut off for some reason and I coasted around turn 1. I noticed all pressures and temps were fine, so I hit the starter and the engine re-fired.”
Tim Pierce qualified the #18 Firman on the outside pole (2nd overall) with a lap time which was four hundredths of a second off his career best. It appeared he was going to steal the show on the opening lap with a pass on the pole setting Pro F2000 in Turn 1. However the open track and clean air in front would not last. The two swapped positions again a lap later in Turn 11. Tim held on to the overall second position and opened a gap on the field until he spun off the track in Turn 10. Four competitors including his teammate passed by the time he found a smooth area to reenter the track,. Tim then assessed the condition of his car, cleaned his tires, and then set his sights on #81. Two laps later Tim took the lead going into Turn 1 and maintained that position for the win and new personal lap record.
Tim – “My car was the most reliable piece of equipment I used this weekend. I didn’t expect to qualify on the outside pole and was a little worried about getting bunched up into Turn 1 being on the outside. I got a good jump at the start and was able to pass the pole setter cleanly before the turn. He wasn’t in my class, so I had no problem giving him the line to pass a couple laps later. I felt like I was putting down quick laps after that, but wanted to put some distance between me and the rest of the pack. I might have been pushing a little bit and went into Turn 10 way too hot. When the car spun, I looked up the track and saw another racer coming. I eased off the brake and so the momentum would take me off the track backwards. The car jumped the FIA curbing, but I don’t think there is any damage. I’m just thankful there was no contact and I was able to regain position for the win.”
Next race for the Wilmington, NC based Area 81 Racing Team is the VIR Oak Tree Double SCCA National April 20-22nd.