Detroit: Peterson/White Lightning race report

Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Takes GT2 Third-Place in Detroit Belle Isle Street Brawl Earns Two-Time Champs Second Podium of '08 DETROIT, September 1, 2007 - Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing walked away from a Detroit...

Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Takes GT2 Third-Place in Detroit
Belle Isle Street Brawl Earns Two-Time Champs Second Podium of '08

DETROIT, September 1, 2007 - Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing walked away from a Detroit street brawl with a third-place finish. The American Le Mans Series Detroit Sports Car Challenge promised to be a brutal battle between the concrete walls of the Belle Isle temporary course and it did not disappoint. The beaten and bruised No. 31 MMPIE/PAWS/Petersen Holdings/Michelin Ferrari F430 GT is testimony to the fight. Dirk Muller (a native of Germany now living in Monaco) started the two hour and 45-minute race and moved as high as second even before the serious battles began. Once in the trenches, Muller and Peter Dumbreck (born in Scotland but living in Adderbury, England) fought for every square inch of real estate on the 2.125-mile, 14- turn circuit earning the Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev.) owned team its second podium of the season, the first being the GT2 victory at Salt Lake City.

After initially being caught behind a slow prototype bellowing smoke, Muller was able to track down the No. 62 and No. 61 Ferraris which had pulled away in the opening laps. Muller stalked and then passed the No. 61 in a classic out-braking maneuver. However, five minutes later the No. 61 made an outside move in a one groove corner that resulted in heavy contact and damage to the Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Ferrari. This damage, which had grave impact on the aerodynamics, left the car with a heavy understeer condition that plagued the Dale White (Bozeman, MT) managed program the rest of the day. The MMPIE/Petersen Holdings machine would fall to fourth in the melee. Despite the ill-handling, Muller and then Dumbreck fought to return the 10-time American Le Mans Series winners to the podium. A severe accident by the second-place running car allowed the white and yellow Ferrari with the red lightning bolt to re-enter the top-three. Dumbreck relieved Muller with just over one hour remaining in the show.

Dumbreck took-up where Muller left off quickly closing the gap to second-place. In pursuit of the No. 44 Dumbreck worked to clear a lapped car cleanly lap after lap. The Scot eventually dashed for a spot that he thought the lapped driver was leaving open for him. As Dumbreck went to make the pass the hole quickly closed and the nose of the Ferrari spun the lapped car. IMSA officials determined it avoidable contact and called Dumbreck to serve a penalty with just 16 minutes to go. The quick times Dumbreck had turned earlier in his stint allowed the two-time American Le Mans Series Driver Championship-winning team to hold third despite the stop-and-go penalty. However, any chance of fighting for second was ended when the call came to visit the penalty box. The team would take its first temporary course podium finish of its distinguished career, competing 101 laps and finishing 14th overall.

A month-long break will be the reward for the hard work, effort and long hours that the Dennis Chizma (Las Vegas, Nev.) led crew has put in during recent months. On October 6, Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing will visit Road Atlanta (Ga.) to defend its Petit Le Mans title of the last two seasons, Round 11 of the 12 race American Le Mans Series season.

Michael Petersen, Team Owner: "It was a tough and exciting race. A couple incidents out there had us from third to fourth to second; we were pretty much all over the place. The safety car played quite a bit of a role once again to put us a lap down. We actually got our lap back on the track and that was satisfying. Dirk did a great stint. We had a pit stop that was a little slower than the guys normally would like to do which cost us a little time. Peter was closing on second but had contact with a back-marker that got us a stop-n-go [penalty]. Fortunately, we had a big enough lead over fourth that we held on. I am looking forward to moving on to Petit Le Mans in a month."

Dale White, Team Manager/Entrant: "We are obviously really happy to be back on the podium. The team worked hard the last two weeks and it is gratifying to have that pay off some. We are never happy unless we are on the top step of the podium so we will continue to focus our energy on that at Petit Le Mans. I hope we can continue to work with the Series to create a safety car procedure that works better for the GT class."

Peter Dumbreck, Driver: "I think from relatively early in the race we didn't have the best car with the damage on the front. By the time I got in I could feel that the car was picking up a lot of understeer. I certainly enjoyed my first few laps battling. I was able to catch-up to Patrick Long and I had a chance to overtake him but I had a problem with a car that we were lapping. I thought he was letting me through but he turned in on me and I got a penalty which pretty much ended my challenge. Overall, I think we deserved third-place. We didn't have the best car. It was a good result considering all of that."

Dirk Muller, Driver: "After two disappointing weekends where we had the podiums taken away, I'm happy to finally get my first podium with Petersen/White Lightning. I had a very exciting first stint. I had to get by another Ferrari which made it not easy to overtake. After nice overtaking I got away and I could do my race pace. Due to bad traffic there was just a chance for them to close the gap again. After a hard try by him to overtake me he made contact and the aero of the car got effected. It was obviously very hard afterwards to achieve the same lap times than before. With this I feel that Peter and I did a great job and so did the team. We really deserve this podium."

-credit: pm/wl

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Series ALMS
Drivers Dirk Müller , Peter Dumbreck , Patrick Long , Michael Petersen