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FRANCHITTI: Nürburgring Debrief

Marino Franchitti files his latest Sportscar365 column following Nürburgring…

Photo: Drew Gibson/Ford

Photo: Drew Gibson/Ford

It’s always cool to be racing at the Nurburgring, as modern circuits go, it has a lot of character and is a real challenge.

Some modern circuits feel like they’ve been designed by a committee, but not this one.

While going in I was concerned about how so many cars in so many different classes were going to exist together on this tight and twisty track , it turned out that everyone throughout the classes did a great job of respecting each other and working together.

It seemed our luck (or lack thereof!) from Le Mans decided to follow us to Germany. On Friday we chased a couple of issues. A huge effort by the Ford Chip Ganassi crew overnight transformed the car and myself, Andy, and Harry were all really happy heading into qualifying.

They had the honors here and while we were right up the front for the whole session, a drying track meant that whoever crossed the line last was going to be hard to beat.

Unfortunately, we were the first to complete our final lap (we missed getting another one by about 2 seconds!) so we went from 1st to 5th.

Still, we were really confident for the race and making our way back towards the front.

Harry took the start and made great progress throughout his stint, making it up to 2nd in class (his pass on Bruni was the move of the race for me).

He came in to change over to Andy and all was going well with the stop until a problem with a valve spayed fuel all over the hot car. It ignited and there was a big flash fire, which our crew and the marshals dealt with fantastically.

You can’t help but worry at moments like that, worrying if your crew and team mate are OK, but fortunately everyone was fine.

I will never forget the sight of one of our guys stepping into the flames to make sure that Andy was getting out OK with no thought for his own safety. That one moment says everything about the team we have and what they will do for each other.

Like Le Mans, I listened on the radio to the whole process the guys went through to deal with the situation.

It amazes me we’ve only been together as a team for just over half a year as they were so calm and got the car back out in just over 20 minutes.

The race was gone for us by that point, but it was great to see the speed our Ford GT had during the race.

Like Le Mans, is so hard when you know you have a car capable of competing for the win, but an issue has taken you out of the running early on.

While we didn’t get the result we wanted, we’ll be back in Mexico trying to get this monkey off our back. I raced there on a different layout of this track in Grand-Am back in 2006 and I loved the circuit, and town.

I can’t wait to see the event that Ricardo and his team will put on for us.

Before that it time for some R&R with my family and for a trip to Monterey for car week to see some beautiful historic cars, and catch up with friends.

Have a great August and look forward to catching up after Mexico!

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