BERNHARD/DUMAS LEAD PORSCHE RS SPYDER OVERALL WIN AT ALMS MID-OHIO; BERGMEISTER/VAN OVERBEEK GUIDE FLYING LIZARD PORSCHE 911 GT3 RSR TO GT2 WIN LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) combined a perfect drive with ...
BERNHARD/DUMAS LEAD PORSCHE RS SPYDER OVERALL WIN AT ALMS MID-OHIO; BERGMEISTER/VAN OVERBEEK GUIDE FLYING LIZARD PORSCHE 911 GT3 RSR TO GT2 WIN
LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) combined a perfect drive with precise Penske Motorsports pit stops, a race car with a good set-up, good fuel strategy, and Porsche RS Spyder speed and reliability to repeat their 2006 overall win on Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, round seven of the American Le Mans Series.
Teammates Sascha Maassen (Germany) and Ryan Briscoe (Australia) took their Penske Porsche RS Spyder to a second-place finish, giving Penske and Porsche their fifth overall win in a row, and sixth win in at row in the LMP2 class. Bernhard and Dumas, with three overall and LMP2 wins, have earned 127 points, while Maassen and Briscoe have 114 points. The Acura drivers David Brabham and Stefan Johansson are third with 74 points. Porsche leads Acura in the LMP2 engine manufacturers points, 139-99.
For Bernhard, this win was especially rewarding as he and Romain had the pole last year, but had to start at the back of the field because of a technical violation -- the pair had never won a race after starting on the pole.
"I wasn't sure after the start that we could hold the lead going into the first corner, and Sascha and I were side-by-side, but I took the lead and we had a good day. This race was won in the pits, as we gained the final advantage by not filling up during our last pit stop. It meant less weight -- which allowed us to go faster and save the tires -- and less time than the Audi in the pits," said Bernhard, who won here with Dumas in 2004 in the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR as well.
"The Audi was really quick today, so we thought we would just aim for an LMP2 win," said Dumas.
"When it became clear we couldn't catch the Audi, we pitted, but then the Audi pitted at the same time. The Penske Motorsports team beat the Audis out of the pits all day, and they never caught us after that," Dumas said.
"Nothing was easy for us today, but the drivers were fast, but careful, following the strategy and guiding the Porsches to victory," said Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing.
"We have won races in the pits all year, and we are really proud of our entire team for their efforts," said Cindric.
The Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyders were right behind the leading LMP2 Acura, finishing fourth and fifth in class and sixth and seventh overall. The Butch Leitzinger/Andy Wallace entry, after running as high as second overall early in the event, was fifth in class, and the Chris Dyson/Guy Smith car was sixth in LMP2.
In GT2, the leading Ferraris again took themselves out while leading the class, with the Enge/Mueller Ferrari crashing into the Melo/Salo Ferrari while the pair were first and second. Both cars incurred penalties, and the #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR took advantage as it did two weeks ago at Lime Rock by scoring its second straight win. Jorg Bergmeister and Johannes van Overbeek stretched their GT2 class drivers points lead to eight points over Melo/Salo, and Flying Lizard Motorsports took over the points lead in the team championship.
"It takes teamwork, car preparation, good pit stops, and smart driving to win a race, and we had all that today," said van Overbeek, one of the team owners as well as a driver.
"If someone ahead of us wants to make a mistake, we will be right there to take advantage," he said.
The team Flying Lizard Porsche of Seth Neiman/Lonnie Pechnik was fourth in GT2, duplicating their best finish of the year (fourth at Lime Rock, while the Tim Pappas/Terry Borcheller Team Trans Sport Racing Porsche was fifth, also duplicating their fifth place at Lime Rock.
The American Le Mans Series will be telecast on a tape-delayed basis on Sunday, July 22, at 2:00 EDT on CBS-TV.