MICHELIN SWEEPS TOP NINE SPOTS AT LIME ROCK
Porsche, Audi, Corvette Triumph and First ALMS Win For New Porsche GT2
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 7, 2007) -- Michelin carried the momentum from their record tenth consecutive victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans to the shortest track on the American Le Mans Series, winning the Northeast Grand Prix as the DHL Porsche RS Spyders of Penske Racing scored a 1-2 finish to lead a Michelin sweep of the top nine positions overall and wins in all four classes.
Starting fifth after qualifying was washed out, the #6 DHL Porsche RS Spyder driven by Sascha Maassen and Ryan Briscoe moved up to trail their pole starting teammates Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas in the #7 Penske Porsche RS Spyder at the one hour mark. They continued there until a caution flag with 54 minutes remaining in the 2 hour-45 minute race produced yet another winning call by team owner Roger Penske.
Penske had the #6 car take on a fresh set of Michelin tires while the race leading #7 chose to protect their lead by taking only fuel. The fresher tires helped give Briscoe the opportunity to catch their teammates in traffic and move into the lead with just 25 minutes remaining. "It was really a low risk move for us" said Briscoe. "If the #7 car took tires, then we probably would have skipped tires and beaten them out of the pits"
Extending their perfect record in 2007 ALMS competition, Michelin and its partner teams again swept the victories in all four classes, raising their total to a perfect 24 of 24 class wins in the first six races of 2007.
Finishing third was the Acura ARX 01a driven by Stefan Johansson and David Brabham for the locally based Highcroft Racing. Taking fourth, after encountering a pair of stop-and-go penalties for contact, was the #20 Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder driven by Chris Dyson and Guy Smith. Finishing fifth overall and first in the LMP1 class was the Audi R10 TDI of Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello.
Corvette Balancing Act:
Taking a narrow lead at the start and holding off their teammates for a narrow 0.384 second GT1 victory and eighth overall was the #4 Corvette C6.R driven by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta. "This is the smallest, bumpiest, narrowest, craziest place we race all year," said Gavin. "Being in GT car here is like being in the middle of a busy highway riding a bicycle with cars and trucks whizzing by everywhere," said Beretta. "Michelin gave us great tires, as usual, and the car was very well balanced all day."
Overcoming a puncture on the opening lap, the #45 Flying Lizard team of Joerg Bergmeister and Johannes van Overbeek fought back, made only a single mid race pit stop and scored their first victory of the season and the first ALMS GT2 victory for the new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997).
"We are pleased that all of our Michelin partner teams were able to show their competitiveness and spirit here at Lime Rock," said Karl Koenigstein, Michelin ALMS technical team leader. "The continued progress by the Acura teams, the Dyson Porsches and the Flying Lizard, Tafel and Rahal Letterman GT2 Porsches made for a very exciting race for the big crowd here and bodes well for tremendous competition in the second half of the season.