PORSCHE RS SPYDER SCORES FOURTH LMP2 WIN WITH ONE-TWO FINISH AS SASCHA MAASSEN TAKES CLASS DRIVER'S POINTS LEAD --Jorg Bergmeister/Patrick Long score second class win in the Petersen/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RSR as Jorg is now within ...
PORSCHE RS SPYDER SCORES FOURTH LMP2 WIN WITH ONE-TWO FINISH AS SASCHA MAASSEN TAKES CLASS DRIVER'S POINTS LEAD
--Jorg Bergmeister/Patrick Long score second class win in the Petersen/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RSR as Jorg is now within nine points of Johannes van Overbeek for the GT2 Drivers Championship points lead--
ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. - August 20 - In front of more than 45,000 spectaors, the Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 prototypes, prepared by Penske Motorsports, ran flawless races at the Generac 500 at Road America to score a one-two class win and take over the class driver's championship points lead in the American Le Mans Series.
Sascha Maassen and Timo Bernhard - a new driver combination as a result of recent team strategy changes - driving the #6 Porsche RS Spyder, scored a narrow 15-hundreths of a second win over the team #7 RS Spyder driven by Lucas Luhr and Romain Dumas. The Porsches were fourth and fifth overall behind the top three LMP1 prototype finishers.
The Intersport Lola, whose drivers had held the points lead until today, finished third in class, but on the same lap as the Porsches, so the RS Spyders had to run their best race to take the one-two finish.
The Luhr/Dumas Porsche had taken the overall race lead at the one hour, 30-minute mark during yellow flag pits stops, but Dumas was penalized on the re-start for passing the pace car as the green flag came out, and Bernhard took the class lead. Dumas was able to re-take the lead during a pit stop exchange later in the event, but his final stop - which included a tire change - at the two hour mark gave the lead to Maassen/Bernhard for good.
"We had some problems, including a broken air jack which influenced our decision not to change tires on the last pit stop, but the car ran great on the track, "said Maassen, who scored his 25th career American Le Mans Series class win, and took the LMP2 lead in Drivers Championship by two points over Clint Field and Liz Halliday, the Lola drivers. It was Bernhard's 15th ALMS class win.
Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing, was pleased with the team's fourth class victory of the season, and praised both the drivers and the crew for the team effort.
"Our goal coming into this race was to do everything possible to win the LMP2 championship for Porsche and our drivers. A one-two finish today was the perfect result toward achieving this goal. We didn't want to jeopardize this finish by having our two cars race each other at the end, so they didn't. In addition to the drivers, the rest of the team did a great job. Our pit stops allowed us gain track position and race positions, and contributed a great deal to our one-two finish," said Cindric.
In addition to leading the LMP2 Drivers Championship for the first, Porsche extended its lead in the LMP2 chassis and engine manufacturers points standings, and Penske Motorsports had widened its lead in the team title chase.
Both cars were able to maintain good track positions as they avoided the accidents and off-track excursions that plagued many of the competitors - incidents which resulted in five yellow flags during the two hour, 45-minute event.
GT2 - Porsche, BMW, Ferrari battle to the end
In the most competitive class race of the weekend, Jorg Bergmeister/Patrick Long scored their second GT2 class win of the season with an exciting victory in their Petersen/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
Long, who started the car from the class pole position, led the class until the team pitted during the first yellow flag, and both the Ferrari 430 and the BMW M3 got by them into the lead. The three cars, along with the Mike Rockenfeller/Marcel Tiemann Alex Job Racing Porsche, swapped positions until the end, when Bergmeister, while leading with 12 minutes to go, spun off the track and damaged his radiator, giving up the lead to the BMW. He quickly regained control of the car, and with fluid slowly leaking from the radiator, re-passed the BMW with only seven minutes left in the race.
The Hand/Auberlin BMW was second, and Rockenfeller/Tiemann were third.
Johannes van Overbeek/Wolf Henzler were fifth in class, with Johannes now holding a nine-point lead over Bergmeister in the points chase.
The next American Le Mans Series event will be at Mosport Park, north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Sunday, September 3, 2006. The event will be televised live on The SPEED Network.
-credit: porsche motorsport