Bernhard, Alex Job Racing Porsche Creep Towards GT Points Lead with ALMS Mosport Victory; Petersen/White Lightning, Flying Lizard Porsches Also on Podium as Championship Chase Tightens with Three Events Left
--The # 23 Timo Bernhard/Jorg Bergmeister Alex Job Racing McKenna mail2web.com Porsche 911 GT3 RSR overcame an early rear end vibration and a late-race tire change to score its third win of the season, besting the Petersen/White Lightning Porsche of David Murry/Craig Stanton by 17 second. Points leaders Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law finished third in the Flying Lizard Porsche -
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada - August 8, 2004 - Timo Bernhard, from Dittwiler, Germany, co-driving with Jorg Bergmeister, from Langenfeld, Germany, drove their # 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to its third GT victory of the season at the American Le Mans Series Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport Sunday.
Bernhard is now only four points behind the GT leaders, the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche of Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law, which finished in the Mosport event. Bergmeister, who missed the Sebring event because of illness, also missed out on the 26 points Timo earned for winning that event, so he lost his chance to compete for the driver's title before the season even started.
In the two hour, 45-minute event, polesitter Lonnie Pechnik, from Pacific Grove, Calif., took the lead in his # 44 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, and had a nose-to-tail battle with the # 24 Marc Lieb/Romain Dumas Alex Job Porsche. Lieb got by Pechnick at the 17-minute mark, and led for 12 minutes when Lieb went into turn # 2 with too much speed and crashed into the tire wall. He was able to bring the car into the pits, but broken radiators, oil cooler, bumper and wheel skirts all meant a 35-minute pit stop - and a trip to the hospital for Lieb, who complained of upper-body soreness. All the tests were negative, and Marc was released from the hospital to fly home to Germany.
Pechnik regained the lead after the Lieb off, but Lonnie could not hold back the hard-charging David Murry in the Petersen/White Lightning Porsche and
Bergmeister in the Alex job Porsche, who took over first and second respectively until the mid-race pit stops.
"The car had a rear-end vibration which started effecting the handling of the car, and I asked to come in before it got worse, but the Alex Job crew told me to stay out and handle it the best I could until our regular pit stop," said Bergmeister. "It turned out to be the right decision."
Bergmeister got out and Bernhard got in at the half-way stop for tires and fuel, and Murry was replaced by Craig Stanton, but a loose undertray interfered with the tire change on the White Lightning car and turned a 14-second lead into a 16-second deficit for Stanton.
For a brief time after the leaders were in for their stops, the # 66 The Racer's Group Porsche, which had come through the field from last place after a Patrick Long crash causing the car to miss qualifying yesterday, led the GT field. When Long came in to hand the car over to Cort Wagner, however, the others regained their positions.
Bergmeister continued to lead until the two hour, 30-second mark - only 15 minutes to go, when he brought the Alex Job Porsche in for rear tires and a slash of fuel - and gave the lead back to Stanton. But the Petersen/White Lightning car needed a splash to finish he race, and had to stop with just five minutes left. Although the crew worked hard to execute a quick stop, the Alex Job car came by the pits before Stanton could exit, and went on to victory. Van Overbeek/Law finished third.
Jorg and Timo won the event at Mosport a year ago as well in an Alex Job Porsche - one of the few races that ALMS GT co-champions Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen did not win en route to their title in the other Alex Job Porsche.
Maassen, co-driving with Leo Hindery, finished ninth after Maassen had the BAM! YES Network Porsche as high as fourth early in the event. Pechnik and co-drive Seth Neiman ended up sixth in the pole-sitting Flying Lizard Porsche, while the J3 Racing Porsche of Tim Sugden/Justin Jackson was seventh. Tony Burgess and Piers Masarati drove the PK Sport Porsche to a tenth-place finish.
In the GT point standings after Mosport, Van Overbeek and Law have 97 points, Bernhard 93 points, Dumas/Lieb 72 points (they finished 11th after losing too much time in the pits and scored no points), Stanton/Murry 70 points, and Jorg Bergmeister 67 points.