Flying Lizard Wins in GT2 at Mid-Ohio; First and Third in Team's First Double Podium Finish May 21, 2006--Lexington, Ohio--In today's American Le Mans Series at Mid-Ohio race, the Lizards finished first and third in GT2 for the team's first...
Flying Lizard Wins in GT2 at Mid-Ohio; First and Third in Team's First Double Podium Finish
May 21, 2006--Lexington, Ohio--In today's American Le Mans Series at Mid-Ohio race, the Lizards finished first and third in GT2 for the team's first double podium finish. Wolf Henzler and Johannes van Overbeek finished first in the No. 45 and Darren Law and Seth Neiman finished third in the No. 44. With this finish, the PortalPlayer-sponsored team further extends their lead in the ALMS GT2 team and driver championship points.
The 2 hour and 45 minute race proved to be another test of endurance for the GT2 field. By the end of the first race lap, three GT2 cars had either pitted or gone behind the wall. Starting third on the grid in the No. 45, Henzler began his pursuit early in the race, pushing hard on the second place No. 50 Multimatic Panoz Esperante. Over the 80-minute first stint the chasing, Henzler repeatedly attempted to pass the No. 50. At one point, the No. 50 made contact with the No. 44, sending Henzler into a spin and off track. The car was undamaged and he once again pulled up to the No. 50. In the meantime, the leading No. 31 Petersen car had pulled away and held a 30 second advantage over both cars.
"The car was really great; both fast and consistent," said Wolf Henzler, who clocked the fastest lap of his stint near the end of his 1 hour, 20 minute run. "It was very frustrating not being able to pass the No. 50 car. I was outpacing him, but I was not willing to take a chance on an unsafe pass. When I picked my pass opportunity, unfortunately, it resulted in a spin. But I was able to catch back up and kept the pressure on hard throughout the entire stint."
A double yellow one hour and 20 minutes into the race brought nearly every car into the pits, including most of the GT2 field. The No. 45 left the pits in third and the No. 44 in fifth place.
On the restart after the yellow, the No. 45 moved to second, right behind the leader No. 31 Petersen Porsche. Johannes said of his stint, "Heading out after the yellow, I was focused on chasing down the No. 31 Porsche. When they pitted unexpectedly, I was able to move into first place. My goal was to stay out of trouble and keep a solid pace. It was tough for the first 30 minutes because the firmer tires that I was on took longer to get up to speed. Overall, it was a great race."
Meanwhile, Darren Law in the No. 44 quickly moved up to fourth place. "I was pushing as hard as I could but I couldn't catch the Ferrari. When the No. 62 went into the gravel on the back straight just seven minutes before the end of the race, I was able to move to third place. This was definitely a race of attrition for GT2!"
"The first yellow put many of the cars in a position of needing to fuel twice during the race. When the second yellow occurred, we knew the No. 45 was good on fuel till the end of the race. We brought the No. 44 in for fresh tires to set ourselves up for a late race run with the No. 62 Ferrari and No. 21 BMW, but as it turned out, we didn't need that advantage," said Chief Strategist, Thomas Blam. "I'm thrilled with our double podium finish today."
The next ALMS contest for the Lizards is the New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock, July 1.