Augusto Farfus says a drive-through penalty put BMW Team Schnitzer on the “back foot” in Sunday’s Suzuka 10 Hours, denying the team of a likely podium finish.
Farfus and co-drivers Martin Tomczyk and Nick Yelloly took their BMW M6 GT3 to a fifth place result in the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli round, after struggling to rebound from the mid-race penalty for not meeting the minimum pit stop time.
The penalty dropped Yelloly to sixth at the time after being in the lead pack until that point.
“Here, as you can see, it’s pretty much impossible to overtake cars,” Farfus told Sportscar365.
“Unfortunately the drive through we lost track position and then we were pretty much stuck.
“With the stint length, you don’t have flexibility. There’s no strategy. This is a shame. You’re pretty much frozen on that.
“You cannot save fuel because it doesn’t make sense. You cannot save tires, so you’re pretty much stuck there.
“We could not undercut people, we could not over-run people.
“We had a car which could good enough to be on the podium but the drive through put us on the back foot.”
Having started on pole, both Tomczyk and Farfus led in the early stages of the race, in what was a BMW 1-2 at one point with the No. 34 Walkenhorst entry of Nicky Catsburg running second.
Farfus credited their strong run in the first two hours down to tire management, despite the car’s inherent challenges with tire degradation.
“I think our car is the most difficult on tire management but if you do play it right you can survive,” he said.
“If you saw my second stint, I was leading and Car 25 was behind me and we matched the pace. If you drive well. I think the Pirellis are nice for this reason because the driver has a big influence on the stint performance.
“We knew the race would have come to us if we would have had track position, which we didn’t.”
Despite not coming home with the result he felt they deserved, Farfus said the Suzuka weekend brought many positives to the program.
“Our ‘old lady’ M6 is still doing well,” he said. “I think the team is doing well with BMW.
“I’m very pleased. It’s good to show that we’re on the hand. We probably don’t have, on the pocket, as much as the other one have, but with good work we can make it up.”