Patrick Long Victorious at Lime Rock, Reclaims Championship Lead Long Converts Pole Position to Race Victory Patrick Long and his teammate JÃ¶rg Bergmeister capitalized on Long's pole position for today's American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand...
Patrick Long Victorious at Lime Rock, Reclaims Championship Lead
Long Converts Pole Position to Race Victory
Patrick Long and his teammate Jörg Bergmeister capitalized on Long's pole position for today's American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Western Connecticut, scoring their third win in five races of the 2010 season and crucially regaining the GT2 Driver's Championship lead. The victory is the second consecutive Lime Rock win for Long and Bergmeister and their third together at the late Paul Newman's "home" track.
Long, who set the fastest qualifying lap on Friday, started the race and led the charging train of #62 Ferrari, the two Corvettes and the two Rahal BMWs early in the race before pitting under yellow for a splash of fuel. A later incident, in which the #62 Ferrari and the #3 Corvette tangled diving into turn one, resulted in the race's second caution period and forced the retirement of the #62, which led the championship heading into Lime Rock. Under yellow Patrick turned the #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR over to his teammate.
Bergmeister endured a tense battle with the #90 and #92 BMWs and the #61 Ferrari during his stint, and was able to retake the lead when both BMWs pitted under green. Jörg then handed the car back to Long with just less than an hour left in the race, and speedy pit work allowed Patrick to rejoin ahead of both BMWs. When the leading #61 Ferrari pitted for fuel under green, Patrick regained the lead and set about using traffic to his advantage, maintaining the gap back to the BMWs in 2nd and 3rd place, taking the win by a scant 1.495 seconds.
LBGP Pit Wall
He said, "I thought nothing could top our dramatic win at Laguna Seca in May, but I am the first to admit I am wrong. We had to push 100 percent to the last lap to beat the BMWs, and Pierre Kaffer was not far behind in the Ferrari. While the Melo/Bruni Ferrari is our closest rival, relaxing when they dropped out early would have been a mistake, as that would only have added to our vulnerability in the wild traffic among the four classes."
"By the time I took the wheel for my second stint, our strategy had gotten us the provisional lead - this is where Flying Lizard sets itself apart with strategy and pit stops. My job was to maintain the gap, but today that was far from a natural challenge. Navigating the traffic was unbelievably difficult. I had to shift from trying to hold the gap to just keeping the BMWs behind me. With the speed they had, traffic actually then became my friend -- each time I worked through a pack of cars I was able to increase the gap. Then the BMW just behind me would close it again on the straights, but we were better in the corners. I knew I just had to fight tooth and nail to the end. "
The American Le Mans Series races next on August 6-7 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Mansfield, OH.