ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 11, 2007) -- Capping off an improbable week where the LMP1 Audis were more than one second a lap faster than the LMP2 Porsches, France's Romain Dumas and Germany's Timo Bernhard squeezed out a 1.7-second overall victory ...
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 11, 2007) -- Capping off an improbable week where the LMP1 Audis were more than one second a lap faster than the LMP2 Porsches, France's Romain Dumas and Germany's Timo Bernhard squeezed out a 1.7-second overall victory in Saturday's American Le Mans Series Generac 500 at Road America.
The win was Penske Motorsports' sixth overall consecutive victory, assuring Porsche of at least half of the overall wins for the 2007 season. Sascha Maassen's and Ryan Briscoe's second place LMP2 position Saturday also provided the Penske Porsches with their sixth 1-2 Class finish.
"This was a great team effort. Nobody gave us a chance to win overall," Penske Porsche team manager Jeff Swartwout said. "We took a big step towards the LMP2 championship, and the Penske Racing crew takes great pride in the overall win, as well. Our strategy was to ignore the Audis and run our own race to the Class win, but everyone worked hard and the drivers did a great job today."
Dumas, who started the car, was pleased with his green-flag jump, but then fell behind the Audis and Briscoe on the restart after a first lap yellow flag. He was then resigned to competing for a Class win.
"I was surprised that I could keep up with the Audis, and, when Ryan [Briscoe] had some handling problems, I got past him into second place, and surprised the leading Audi to take the lead just before the rain came," said Dumas, who drove the car during the 1 hour 2 minute yellow flag caused by a severe thunderstorm.
"After the restart, the Audis went by us again, and we were back to our Class win focus, but the Penske team made some smart decisions on fuel and tires, and Timo [Bernhard] brought the car home for both the Class and overall win."
Bernhard, who won the LMP2 Class in the RS Spyder last year, and has two GT2 victories to his credit at Road America, said he was unaware that he was in first place until there were only two laps remaining.
"I came in for fuel with 30 minutes to go and the leading Audi also came into the pits," Bernhard said. "I left the pits and did not see the Audi, so I assumed they were ahead of me. The first clue that I was in the lead was when I saw the two cars battling for position behind me on the straight. And then, with two laps to go, the team told me on the radio I was in front, but I was losing time. I had to push, and traffic was hard, but the car was great and I was positioned to win."
With extra points awarded for the 4-hour event, Dumas and Bernhard now lead the LMP2 Class with 150 points. Maassen and Briscoe are second with 133 points. Acura drivers David Brabham and Stefan Johansson are third with 90 points.
The American Le Mans Series now takes a week off before heading to Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, for the Aug. 26 Grand Prix of Mosport.