PORSCHE RS SPYDER GIVES PORSCHE FIRST OVERALL WIN IN THE AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES WITH ONE-TWO FINISH; FLYING LIZARD PORSCHE WINS GT2 CLASS LEXINGTON, OH - May 21 - The ...
PORSCHE RS SPYDER GIVES PORSCHE FIRST OVERALL WIN IN THE AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES WITH ONE-TWO FINISH; FLYING LIZARD PORSCHE WINS GT2 CLASS
LEXINGTON, OH - May 21 - The #7 Porsche RS Spyder, entered by Penske Motorsports, which was forced to the rear of the grid after pole-setting qualifying times because of a slight vehicle weight violation, used spectacular driving at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course by German Timo Bernhard and Frenchman Romain Dumas to score Porsche's first overall win in the American Le Mans Series since its inception in 1999.
The Bernhard/Dumas Porsche also won the LMP2 class, its class first win of the season. The team #6 RS Spyder of Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr, which led the race from the green flag until the one hour mark, finished second overall and second in LMP2 - the first time that LMP2 cars have finished one-two overall in the history of the series.
After offsetting pit stop strategies between the two Porsche RS Spyders, Dumas and Luhr were dicing for first place, with Dumas holding on for the win with a half-second victory.
The Audi R8 of Rinaldo Capello/Alan McNish, the top-finishing LMP1 car, was third overall.
For Timo Bernhard, the victory was particularly sweet because of the run he had to make from the back of the pack after yesterday's disappointing disqualification.
"The track was still slippery from the morning rain and lack of rubber on the new surface, so I had to be careful as I started to pass the slower GT2 and GT1 cars, but the track dried quickly and I was in fourth place in less than three laps," said Bernhard, who was the ALMS GT Champion in 2004 in the Alex Job Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
"I had a good battle with Lucas in the last half of the race, but I thought our car was set for victory after Lucas' pit stop, only to find him on my tail again after the late yellow flag. Fortunately, our car was working so well that we were able to take home the win," said Dumas, who was on the pole last week in Houston.
For team owner Roger Penske, this was a special win as it brought together the efforts of the crew, the drivers, and the engineers after more than a year of development.
"Even in Indy car racing, we have always liked endurance events because they require strategy, smart driving, and crew involvement to gain victory. We knew this car was capable, but needed a good win to show that it met the reliability standards that Porsche sets for all its race cars," said Penske, who earned his 13th career team win at Mid-Ohio including Can-Am, Trans-Am, and CART events.
For Maassen and Luhr, who started the race on the pole, and led overall for the first hour, it was a good win for the team, but they would have rather won than finished second.
"The first yellow flag really opened the door for our team drivers as Sascha had built an 18-second lead which disappeared under yellow. Romain and I had a good competition, but when I was called into the pits for tires and fuel, our car fell behind. I caught up again under the late yellow, but did not pass. I am glad for the team, but Sascha and I don't like to finish second," said Luhr.
Between Maassen/Luhr and Bernhard/Dumas, the Porsche RS Spyder led every one of the race's 119 laps. For Porsche, Mid-Ohio is also a special place, as it won its only Indy car race here (Teo Fabi in 1989).
The next race for the Porsche RS Spyders will be at Lime Rock Park on Saturday, July 1, in Lakeville, Connecticut.
Lizards Extend Points Lead in GT2 Porsche
Johannes van Overbeek and Wolf Henzler put pressure on the early GT2 leaders, and scored their third straight podium of the season and their first class win as the Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR has a solid points lead after three ALMS events.
Henzler, who recently joined the team, spun out only 30 minutes into the event after an incident with on of the Panoz racers and had to run hard to make up time when the Panoz got caught in the pits when a yellow flag became green. Henzler gained a lap before turning the car over to van Overbeek, who moved into first place after the leading Petersen/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Patrick Long/Jorg Bergmeister broke an axle.
The Panoz finished second, and the other Flying Lizard Porsche of Seth Neiman/Darren Law was third. The Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR dropped out of the race on the first lap with shift linkage problems after winning last week at Houston.