DUMAS PASSES PIRRO WITH FOUR LAPS LEFT; PENSKE PORSCHE DETROIT WIN EIGHTH OVERALL AS PORSCHE CLINCHES LMP2 MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIPS DETROIT -- September 1 -- Romain Dumas (France), driving the number seven Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder...
DUMAS PASSES PIRRO WITH FOUR LAPS LEFT; PENSKE PORSCHE DETROIT WIN
EIGHTH OVERALL AS PORSCHE CLINCHES LMP2 MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIPS
DETROIT -- September 1 -- Romain Dumas (France), driving the number seven Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 prototype, pulled side-by-side and then passed the Pirro/Werner Audi R10 TDI LMP1 car with four laps to go to win Porsche's eighth straight American Le Mans Series event overall at the Detroit Belle Isle Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch.
With the Penske Porsche victory and the Dyson Racing Porsche's Butch Leitzinger (USA)/Andy Wallace (England) second place in LMP2, Porsche also clinched the LMP2 engine and LMP2 chassis manufacturers championship for 2007, adding to the Penske Racing team championship which was decided last week at Mosport.
Dumas, and co-driver Timo Bernhard (Germany), started behind their Penske Porsche teammates Ryan Briscoe (Australia) and Sascha Maassen (Germany), but Briscoe ran into trouble early, incurring a penalty for avoidable contact with a GT2 car, handing the lead to Bernhard. But, after a series of pit stops -- which included 12 laps that were led by the Dyson Racing Porsche of Guy Smith -- Briscoe put himself back in the lead before handing the car over to Maassen with 90 minutes to go.
Meanwhile, after a yellow flag session, the Pirro/Werner Audi jumped into the lead at the re-start, and it looked like the more powerful diesel race car would break the Porsche overall win streak, but Dumas chased him down with less than three minutes to go.
"The Audi could pull away on the two long straights, but I could get close at the short corners. I did not want to risk my LMP2 first position, but I found a place to pass. He then passed me back, but I caught him again at the next corner. I knew I could turn faster laps, but it was hard to get past him because of traffic and his power out of the corners," said Dumas.
Maassen ran into bad luck late in the race as one of the Acuras spun and knocked off the rear spoiler of the number six car, causing an unscheduled pit stop and putting him two laps back, resulting in a seventh-place finish in class. Although Bernhard/Dumas have not clinched the LMP2 driver championship, they are 37 points ahead of Briscoe/Maassen with only 49 points to be earned in the last two events. Andy Wallace/Butch Leitzinger have pulled into a third-place tie with Acura drivers Brabham/Johansson.
The Guy Smith (England) and Chris Dyson (USA) Porsche RS Spyder was competitive all afternoon, looking like it would lead a Dyson Racing Porsche second and third in LMP2 until their #20 Porsche stuck momentarily in third gear late in the race -- just long enough to slip from second to fifth place. That enabled their teammates Leitzinger/Wallace to move into second place -- the team's best finish of the season.
In GT2, the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Patrick Long (USA) and Darren Long (USA) gave chase to the winning Ferrari for the last 45 minutes, with Long falling 20 seconds short at the checkered flag after closing to less than one second with 15 minutes to go. Still, the second place finish in class was a bright spot for the team after the Bergmeister/van Overbeek team Porsche caught fire after colliding with another car. The severing of an oil line resulted in the fire which caused extensive damage to the race car. The Tafel Racing Porsche of Robin Liddell/Wolf Henzler also retired as a result of that accident.
-credit: porsche motorsport