Dirk Muller and Dominik Farnbacher were rewarded with their third victory of the season in the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio on Saturday, the latest round in the American Le Mans Series.

The #71 Tafel/Bell Micro Ferrari brought home the victory after being at or near the top of the GT2 time sheets all weekend, with Dominik Farnbacher, who qualified the car fourth, going on to set the fastest GT2 race time.

Farnbacher started and he set to work in his typical quiet but quick fashion keeping on the tail of the three leading GT2 cars.

Technical director Tony Dowe intuitively watched the calls from other teams on pit lane and played the strategy perfectly at the race's first of four caution periods.

Farnbacher entered pit lane in fourth-place handing the Bell Micro Ferrari over to Muller approximately one hour into the two hour and 45-minute race. The pit crew returned the #71 back on track quickly with Muller taking advantage of Dowe's race strategy to springboard from fourth into the race lead.

A misstep in the strategy of competitors, compounded by pit lane troubles, would further benefit Tafel/Bell Micro giving Muller a one lap lead he would never relinquish.

The #71 car eventually finished ninth overall in the four-class event. It was the eleventh career ALMS victory for Muller, the 2000 GT2 champion, and the third for Farnbacher.

With victories in 50 percent of the events this season, Farnbacher and Muller have now moved to within four points of the lead in the GT2 driver championship chase with five races remaining.

"I want to congratulate Dominik and the whole Tafel team. The strategy was great," said Muller. "There were two teams that were making mistakes with their strategy and we were right on with our strategy. At the end I just controlled it. I had a lap lead and I never pushed the car towards the end.

"We knew that we could double stint the Michelin tyres, so we didn't change them on the last stop. I am really, really happy. It makes me really proud to be with a team like Tafel. It was a different challenge than Long Beach. You don't need to have a Long Beach every time. There will be more races like that coming in the future but for now I am really happy with this result."

"My stint was good. I think I could have improved a position but I didn't want to risk anything," added Farnbacher. "We are in the middle of the season and I was right behind Wolf [Henzler, #45]. I had a few chances to go by him but I didn't want to risk anything.

"I had problems with traffic at the beginning but I was able to catch back up to the pack every time. I think we have a pretty good strategy with our guys here on this team. It is incredible."

The sister #73 Ferrari F430 GTC co-driven by Alex Figge and Jim Tafel meanwhile gained four positions from their starting spot of twelfth to eventually finish eighth and 18th overall, two laps behind their team-mates.

"I didn't go out there and force it. I knew my position and every car in front of me that I saw I just reeled in," said driver and co-owner Jim Tafel. "I just tried to bring back an awesome car for Alex. I am really happy with my stint. I wish I was a little quicker but that will come with time.

"I am glad that I made no mistakes and I was out there consistently hitting every lap. Alex did a great job for the rest of the race. I am thrilled for the #71. What a great feeling. Dominik and Dirk both had great runs. The team was awesome. I'm really proud of the guys."

"It was a really good race. We knew from qualifying and warm-up this morning that we could win. When you have that mental edge it makes a big difference," added Dowe. "We were very unfortunate at Lime Rock and we really dug-in after that. We had to go back to Atlanta [to the team shop to make repairs] with the #71 car and everyone, from the truckies that drove all night to the guys working on the car, did an awesome job. The people from Michelotto that were here helped too and did a super job. Everyone did. This was special."

 

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