Flush it down, move on!
Walnut Creek, CA – All weekend long Reto Baumann was running on old sets of the Hankook Motorsport’s tires, turning competitive laps. Team Red Panther Motorsport was looking forward to that race with a brand-new set of sticky tires mounted, the temperatures having dropped to a perfect level for the Garrett turbo powered #53 VW Jetta 2.0 GLI DSG. Everything was looking good and Reto Baumann, not having turned laps at Sonoma Raceway for about a year, was continuously improving his lap times. But it wasn’t to be…
With the green flag dropping, the start for a front wheel powered car is always more challenging than for the rear wheel powered competition. Nevertheless, the start was quite good and Reto Baumann, although losing two spots, was biting his time, holding back a bit, knowing his chances will come. Into T2, right when the car is the lightest over the crest, Reto got tapped just behind his right rear wheel, spinning him around without a chance to react. To make matters worse, the car spinning him, hit him again on the now front right, facing the field of cars flying right at him. That second contact shattered the tie rod, took out the front fender and dented the passenger side door. After the field had passed, Reto tried going again. Without proper steering, the only thing he could do was to park the car out of harm’s way at the closest flag station allowing the race to resume without the need for yellow flags.
That was a short-lived race and a whole lot of work to be done before next race that was not needed. Basically, eliminating the chance for a test day before the next round of races at Laguna Seca. It also meant that Reto lost a spot in the overall Championship.
From Car Chief / Spotter Travis Makela to Crew Chief Chris Hovey, Team Manager John Lothrop, Driver Reto Baumann and the rest of the Team Red Panther Motorsport crew, who all did a fantastic job, everyone was saddened by the outcome. Not the race result Team Red Panther Motorsport crew supporting the #53 was looking for in this round of the United States Touring Car Championship. Race gods can be very cruel. A bit of a surprise and remedy for the woes of the weekend, that the Team won its third ‘Top Team’ award of the season.
Reto Baumann reviews his Round FOUR performance:
“This is one I will have a long-time digesting. You do everything right, put your everything in it, just to have it taken away in an instance. On top of it, you are now fighting to make it to the next race. This is not the situation I was foreseeing in preparation for the big races at Laguna Seca supporting the NTT Indy Car Series during the Firestone GP of Monterey. Flush it down and move on. Easier said than done. This one hurts. Still sticks with me days after it all happened...”
About Red Panther Motorsport (RPM)
A leading California based professional racing team. RPM competes in the Hankook Tires United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) race series and has won multiple class Championships. For more information, please see and visit www.RedPantherMotorsport.com and like us on our social media channels.