– Paul Miller Racing No. 48 Audi R8 LMS drivers Christopher Haase and Dion von Moltke took the points lead in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class Sunday with a second-place finish in the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The result gave the No. 48 team consecutive runner-up showings in the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix after also finishing second in the 2014 race.
“The Audi was great today, Dion did a great job in the first stint and Christopher was fantastic as always,” said Paul Miller Racing Team Owner Paul Miller. “We can’t complain too much and we are at the top of the GTD driver standings too and the championship is ultimately our goal.”
Haase took over from starting driver von Moltke with just over 60 minutes remaining in the two-hour and 45-minute race and quickly set out to catch the race-leading Park Place Porsche. Despite closing to with two seconds of the leader numerous times, Haase could never get quite close enough or clear of traffic to attempt a winning pass.
“Traffic was definitely our biggest issue,” Haase said. “Sometimes the traffic would be such a bad situation that I would lose two or three seconds. The leader had the same issue, I could constantly catch up a little bit, but in the end – especially the last 20 minutes – you could feel the other competitors were also fighting. Nobody tried to give anybody room. I got hit on the second to last lap by a prototype and that was really my last chance.”
Von Moltke, in his first year with the Paul Miller Racing team, turned in a string of firsts this weekend. He qualified the No. 48 for the first time, clocking in a solid third fastest in GTD, made his first race start with the team and also led his first race laps in the No. 48 near the end of his driving shift.
“I had to be quite patient and pick my way through,” von Moltke said. “Eventually I got to second and then up to the lead as well. Through the pit stops, we couldn’t keep that lead even though our team had a really, really great stop. The way the rules are, the Porsche takes less fuel than us, so that’s where we kind of lost seven seconds or so. Christopher did a really great job to chase it down.”
Combined with a pair of fifth-place finishes in the season-opening races at Daytona and Sebring, Haase and von Moltke now lead the GTD driver standings with 86 points. They are one point clear of the co-drivers of the second-place Scuderia Corsa Ferrari while the co-drivers of the third-place Alex Job Racing Porsche have 83 points.
The No. 48 ranks second in the IMSA TUDOR GTD team championship standings, trailing the leading Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper by two points.
The No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS and its drivers are also the only GTD team to earn a top-five finish in each of the year’s first three races this season.
Paul Miller Racing’s competition relationship with Audi Sport customer racing complements a longtime retail partnership the Paul Miller Auto Group has enjoyed with the manufacturer. The dealership group has included since 1976 Paul Miller Audi, one of the largest Audi dealerships in the nation, which made the team’s on-track switch to Audi a logical decision.
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