Alton, VA – Joerg Bergmeister brought the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche in second in GT today at the four-hour VIR 240 and teammate Marco Holzer crossed the finish fifth in GT in the No. 44.
The inaugural race had a rough start when the field bunched up in turn 1 on the first lap; the incident collected multiple cars. Joerg Bergmeister had started fifth on the grid in the No. 45 and Marco Holzer was sixth. Bergmeister was able to avoid most of the melee by going cross-country across the grass. Holzer also had to go wide off- course into the dirt to avoid a collision, sending him back to ninth place on the first lap.
Once the field settled in, Bergmeister was P3 and Holzer had moved back up to P6. The polesitter No. 01 ESM Ferrari led and the No. 4 Corvette was P2. Just past the 30 minute mark, the No. 02 ESM Ferrari overtook Bergmeister, pushing the No. 45 to fourth.
Nearing the one-hour mark, the No. 44 pitted early in the GT group for tires and fuel and Holzer stayed in the car. The No. 01 was P1, the No. 02 in P2, the No. 4 P3, and the No. 45 P4. Just past one hour, as the GT field readied for their scheduled pit stops the first full course caution was called.
The No. 4 and No. 02 pitted just before yellow, but the No. 45 and No. 01 didn't make it in before the pits were closed and were forced to stay out. When the pits finally opened, the No. 45 was on fumes, but made it safely into the pits for tires, fuel and driver change to Patrick Long.
Once the field resorted after the round of GT stops under yellow, the No. 4 Corvette was in the lead (which he held for the remainder of the race) and Holzer in the No. 44 was P2. The No. 45 was P7 with Long now behind the wheel. Once the track was back to green after the lengthy yellow, Long was able to get by both ESM Ferraris to take P5, then overtook the No. 55 BMW to move to P4.
Just past the two-hour mark, the No. 44 pitted for driver change to Seth Neiman, tires and fuel, moving the No. 45 to P3. With one hour to go in the race, Neiman pitted for driver change to Holzer. Long also pitted, still in P3, for driver change to Bergmeister. After the pit stop, the No. 45 was now in P2, with the No. 4 Corvette still in the lead.
Over the last hour of the race, Holzer moved back up through the field to P5 and Bergmeister held P2. The No. 4 Corvette took the GT victory, with No. 45 P2, the No. 01 P3, the No. 55 BMW P4 and the No. 44 P5.
Marco Holzer, No. 44 Porsche: "I was unlucky at the start in the first corner: there were so many cars stopped that I went wide into the gravel to avoid the mess and lost several places. After that I settled in and just kept pushing. Finally, by the end of my double stint I had made it to P2 and the car felt really good. Seth did a great job in his stint and the 44 crew was seamless as always. In the end we finished P5; it feels like a podium today for us."
Joerg Bergmeister, No. 45 Porsche: "I had an interesting start: my forced shortcut across the grass to avoid the pileup in turn 1 gained me two positions. During my first stint I was just trying to see how long the tires would last, then towards the end of my stint I was fighting with the No. 4 Corvette for position, but unfortunately the timing of the yellow didn't work in our favor and we lost some track positions. In the end, P2 was all that we had. I was hoping for another yellow towards the end and conserving my tires for a final chase but it wasn't to be. Great work again by the No. 45 crew."
Patrick Long, No. 45 Porsche: "In the No. 45 we had some bad luck early on with the yellow flag, but fought back to finish second. This podium gives us some more momentum going into Petit Le Mans. We've fought so hard in the second half of the season to regain the ground we lost early on and have pushed every weekend for as many points as possible. I'm looking forward to continuing this trend next month at Petit."
Up next for the Lizards is the 2012 ALMS season finale - Petit Le Mans, at Road Atlanta on October 20.
Source: Flying Lizard