Dennis Olsen revealed that he had slow puncture on the final lap of Saturday’s Northeast Grand Prix that forced the Porsche Young Professional to “defend for my life” over the hard-charging No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo of Mario Farnbacher.
The Norwegian and co-driver Zach Robichon claimed theirs and Pfaff Motorsports’ first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship win, in a near photo-finish between the two GT Daytona class cars.
The margin of victory, 0.010 seconds, was one of the closest in series’ history.
It came after Olsen’s pass for the class lead around Farnbacher with less than five minutes to go that set up the hard-fought duel to the checkered flag.
“It was pretty tight, all of the moves,” Olsen said. “The last one… the Acura got held up by a bit of traffic in front. I don’t know what was going on. I just prepared myself to get around and I just gambled to go in between the GTD BMW and the Acura and it worked out.
“I think it was millimeters on each side, but it worked out.
“Then I had a slow puncture on the final lap and I just had to defend for my life.”
Farnbacher, who combined with class pole-sitter Trent Hindman to lead 131 of the 178-lap race, said the traffic “messed everything up” in the final ten minutes.
“The last few laps were intense,” he said. “All of a sudden two BMWs came out in front of us. I don’t know what they were doing there. It just confused everybody and messed everything up. Andy [Lally] was in front of me in the Lambo…
“There was a big mess up there but it is what it is. We finished second; that’s good. We made some good points.
“The Pfaff guys had a pretty tough season this year so they deserve the win.”
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Farnbacher and Hindman now have a 30-point lead in the GTD title race ahead of Turner Motorsport’s Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley, who move into second in the points standings following their podium finish on Saturday.
It came after gearbox trouble for the No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 of Frankie Montecalvo and Townsend Bell, who entered the weekend 19 points back in second and have since dropped to fourth.
“Our main focus is the championship,” said Hindman. “It is a bit disappointing we didn’t come home with a win but Mario did an unbelievable job. The Meyer Shank Racing crew gave us an amazing car.
“This team can fight for a championship because we mitigate the factors that are outside of our control.”