PORSCHE RS SPYDER SWEEPS LONG BEACH PODIUM AS PENSKE, DYSON RACERS TAKE FIRST THREE LMP2 POSITIONS; SMALLER PROTOTYPE CLASS TAKES FIRST SIX SPOTS LONG BEACH, Calif. - April 14 - Romain Dumas (France) and Timo Bernhard (Germany) brought their ...
PORSCHE RS SPYDER SWEEPS LONG BEACH PODIUM AS PENSKE, DYSON RACERS TAKE FIRST THREE LMP2 POSITIONS; SMALLER PROTOTYPE CLASS TAKES FIRST SIX SPOTS
LONG BEACH, Calif. - April 14 - Romain Dumas (France) and Timo Bernhard (Germany) brought their Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 prototype, prepared by Penske Motorsports, to a first place finish overall and class win at Saturday's American Le Mans Series race through the streets of Long Beach.
Bernhard, who started the car from the front row, ran second to the Franchitti/Herta Acura for the first 30 minutes of the 100-minute event, and turned the car over to Dumas, who took the lead when the Acura pitted for a driver change. The Sascha Maassen (Germany)/Ryan Briscoe (Australia) Penske Porsche RS Spyder was second, and the Andy Wallace (England)/Butch Leitzinger (USA) Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder was third.
It was the first time the Audi R-10 diesel LMP1 has not won an ALMS race that it entered. For Porsche, this was the second one-two overall finish in the American Le Mans Series (the same Dumas/Bernhard combination accomplished the feat at Mid-Ohio last year), and it was the first time any manufacturer has swept the overall podium in ALMS.
"How can you top this?" declared Penske Racing President Tim Cindric, who called the strategy on the radio for the winning car.
"Not only a one-two finish overall for Penske Racing, but a one-two-three finish for Porsche Motorsport," said Cindric.
The Dumas/Bernhard racer ran a flawless race, with a perfect driver change that helped the car minimize its time in the pits. The car ran the whole race without a tire change, proof that the Michelin race tires it uses provide exceptional track life. As no mechanical work can take place in the American Le Mans Series while the car is being fueled - including a tire change - this also helped the team save time in the pits.
Porsche now leads Acura in the LMP2 manufacturers points by six points, and Dumas/Bernhard lead the drivers championship by ten points over teammates Maassen and Briscoe and 16 points over the leading Acura drivers.
Although Maassen/Briscoe had a terrific race and good pit work, Briscoe ran over a bolt on the track - possibly from a P1 car which hit the wall on the pace lap - and incurred a deflating tire on lap number five, only eight minutes into the race. This meant a pit stop very early, and the Penske crew changed all four tires. Although Briscoe and Maassen charged through the field to gain their second-place finish, the unexpected pit stop was too much to overcome and they had to settle for second place.
The third-place finishers - the number 16 Dyson Racing Porsche of Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace, who were fifth in class at the first two events - broke through for a third-place finish after both drivers had a mistake-free run. The team number 20 Dyson Racing Porsche, with Chris Dyson (USA) and Guy Smith (England), also had a strong event, and actually led the team number 16 car out of the pit stops, but Chris Dyson ran wide at one of the corners on lap 29, losing time and allowing the team number 16 car to re-pass him. Dyson/Smith finished fifth overall and fifth in LMP2.
Before the race, Dyson was optimistic as the team had success with some of the changes it made to the new Porsches overnight.
"We're getting closer and closer to the right set-up every time we take to the track," said Dyson, whose team switched from Lolas to Porsches for the 2007 season.
"With additional testing and more races, we're ready to contend for a race win," he said.
GT2 - Second and Fourth
The Darren Law/Patrick Long Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR led the GT2 class for much of the race, but could not overcome time lost during their green-flag pit stop, and finished second to the Salo/Melo Ferrari by less than five seconds. The number 71 Tafel Racing Porsche of Wolf Henzler/Robin Liddell was fourth, while the Bergmeister/van Overbeek Flying Lizard Porsche finished ninth after developing a water leak from an incident with an LMP1 Audi.