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Timo Bernhard files Sportsccar365 column following victory at COTA…

Photo: Porsche

Photo: Porsche

Without a doubt Austin is one of my favourite races on the calendar. Not only because of the track which has a lot to offer and is demanding for the car and driver but also in terms of what’s going on in the city and the reception we receive from the fans.

I’ve spent a lot of my career in the States and have always enjoyed racing there as the fans love sports cars and embrace the endurance racing culture.

Like last year we went out for a team dinner on Tuesday night downtown for some traditional Texan food. It’s great to kick off a race week like that and get the team spirit going.

I raced at COTA for the first time last year where we had quite a turbulent race with a torrential downpour and I had a massive aquaplaning experience.

This year the weather definitely made up for last year with scorching hot conditions in the sessions, which added an additional element.

The weekend started out well and we put the car in second in the first practice session after we lost some track time towards the end of the session due a problem with the front axle.

In the second session we topped the time sheets with good performance from the car.

I did a longer run in the night session to prepare for the race. With 31 cars on track, all at different speed, traffic is a challenging factor which I found demanding on the track especially at night.

We had another good run on Friday afternoon in the third practice session with the last preparations for qualifying.

I shared duties with Brendon and it was a very tight qualifying session, where our sister car No. 18 jumped us for pole in the last moments of the session.

It was another fantastic result for Porsche though with the fifth consecutive front row grid lock out this season.

Mark started the race on Saturday and managed to get past Neel right after the start and pulled out a gap before handing over to Brendon.

Mark jumped back in again and at his second pit stop after 88 laps, he overshot the pit box. The mechanics had to push him back and we incurred a penalty which I took later in the race and which put our sister car in the lead.

I stayed in the car for a double stint and handed the car over to Brendon for the final stint.

The No. 18 car ran into trouble half an hour from the end and we took over the lead again and drove it home.

It’s great to score our second WEC win in a row after the Nürburgring. We had a great car and the team did an amazing job all weekend.

It was an exciting race and we took home some valuable points for the championship.

We’ve got a two week gap now before we’re back on track in Fuji. I look forward to going back to Japan and I hope we can take our momentum into the race.

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