Disappointment for Michael Marsal at Lime Rock Park

michael_marsal_racing_1Lakeville, Conn. (24 May 2014) – Michael Marsal had been hoping to bring home a big result at Lime Rock Park as the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge visited both he and Turner Motorsport’s home track for Round 4 of the 2014 Championship. But a big hit from a fellow competitor ruined Marsal and co-driver Tom Kimber-Smith’s day just about a half an hour into the race.

The 28-car grid was set by championship point order after qualifying was rained out, but Saturday afternoon’s 2.5-hour race brought warmer temperatures and sunshine. Marsal started the race from the fifth starting position and ran a strong opening stint and maintained a healthy spot among the top-10 throughout the entire first 30 minutes.

While setting consistent and clean laps around the quick 1.5-mile Connecticut road course, Marsal remained calm and poised behind the wheel as he clicked off lap after lap. He seemed well on his way to turning the car over to Kimber-Smith in strong form, only to sustain hard contact in Turn 1 with 1 hour and 53 minutes still remaining in the race.

The No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW sustained significant right side damage and Marsal was forced to the pit lane for repairs. The traditional speedy pit work of the Turner Motorsport crew saw the severely damaged car return to the track just nine minutes later. But with how quickly the laps are turned at Lime Rock Park, the team went 11 laps down.

“It’s really disappointing for sure,” said Marsal. “We really wanted to get a good finish here today with so many of the Turner Motorsport supporters here at Lime Rock this weekend. But it is what it is. That stuff happens in racing. The Turner guys did an absolutely phenomenal job getting the car back out there. It’s frustrating but we’ll turn the page onto Kansas. Last year was an amazing race there so I’m looking forward to getting back to Kansas.”

Once the 45-minute requirement for driver points had elapsed while the team made repairs, Kimber-Smith took over to finish out the race and rallied to take the ill-handling No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW to 22nd at the checkered flag.

Marsal will return to race action on June 6-7 at Kansas Speedway.