PORSCHE RS SPYDER TAKES ITS 5TH WIN OF THE SEASON WHILE EXTENDING LEAD IN BOTH THE DRIVERS AND MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIPS AT MOSPORT INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES RACE Johannes van Overbeek extends lead over fellow Porsche...
PORSCHE RS SPYDER TAKES ITS 5TH WIN OF THE SEASON WHILE EXTENDING LEAD IN BOTH THE DRIVERS AND MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIPS AT MOSPORT INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES RACE
Johannes van Overbeek extends lead over fellow Porsche driver Jorge Bergmeister in GT2 with hard-fought third-place finish.
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario (Canada) - September 3, 2006 - The Porsche RS Spyders of Lucas Luhr/Romain Dumas, and Saascha Maassen/Timo Bernhard, finished 1-2 in their class at the Labour Day Weekend Grand Prix of Mosport. It marked the fifth LMP2 class victory and the fourth 1-2 LMP2 class finish of the season for the Penske Motorsports-entered Porsche prototypes.
After a weekend drenched in rain, it was cool and dry at the start of the 2 hour and 45 minute contest. The #7 Porsche RS Spyder, driven by Lucas Luhr, started from third its position determined by practice session times as Saturday qualifying had been cancelled due to standing water on the track. Initially, the Porsche RS Spyder held station for the early laps, but the field quickly segmented into LMP1s, running 1st thru 4th and the LMP2s 5th through 7th.
The front runners ran together for most of the first 10 laps, when a full course yellow presented the Penske Team with an opportunity to pit the #6 Porsche RS Spyder of Sascha Maassen, putting it on a staggered pit stop schedule.
At the 50-lap point, the first of the regularly scheduled pit stops began and the # 7 pitted for a driver change, tires and fuel, Dumas taking over for Luhr. During the flurry of stops, Sascha Maassen, benefiting from Penske's early pit stop strategy, took over the lead in LMP2.
At the 54 lap mark, the primary challenger to the RS Spyders, the Liz Halliday/Clint Field Lola, pitted with its front brakes on fire. The team pushed the car behind the wall and it would not return until almost 30 laps later.
On lap 63, Maassen finally pitted from the LMP2 lead, handing the #6 Porsche RS Spyder over to Timo Bernhard and returning in 2nd place. The #7 and #6 remained 1st and 2nd for the remainder of the race.
"Before the race, we decided to focus onour performance within the LMP2 class, to be safe and try to bring home another 1-2 finish," said Luhr. "It was the best of results for Porsche and Penske Motorsports.
"I'm also delighted to be tied with Sascha in the Drivers Championship," Luhr added. "His and my goal is to win the title together."
It was Luhr's 22nd career win in the ALMS putting him 6th on the all-time list. All of his wins have been behind the wheel of Porsches.
The two Porsche RS Spyder prototype teams, prepared by Penske Motorsports, scored maximum points and lengthened their chassis and engine manufacturer championship points lead in the LMP2 class. The result leaves drivers Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr tied atop the driver's championship points standings with 139 points. Tied for third in the point standings at 134 are the driving team of Liz Halliday and Clint Field. Tied for fifth are Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas at 130 points.
"Putting a pair of one-two finishes together in the last two races, here and previously at Road America, gives us the consistency we need to win championships," said Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing.
"This consistency is especially important now as we head into our next -to-last race of the season, the very tough 10 hour Petit Le Mans," he added, noting that both Petit and the finale at Laguna Seca in October offer bonus points because of their race length.
In GT2, the class point leader, Johannes van Overbeek, with co-driver Marc Lieb, had a relatively comfortable lead until he had a coming together 65 laps into the race with an LMP1 car which damaged the left rear wheel on his Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. The ensuing spin and a slow trek back to the pits with a flat tire, handed the class lead over to one of the Ferrari 430 GT Berlinettas. The Ferrari held that lead from then on.
But despite loosing a considerable amount of ground and several positions, van Overbeek and Lieb fought to claim a hard-earned third place, thus helping van Overbeek to extend his lead over Petersen/White Lighting Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driver, Jorge Bergmeister, in the GT2 drivers chase.
-credit: porsche motorsport