DUMAS/BERNHARD TAKE FOURTH OVERALL VICTORY OVER FAVORED AUDIS IN PENSKE PORSCHE RS SYPDER; PORSCHE EDGES TOWARD LMP2 CHAMPIONSHIP OVER ACURA RIVALS AFTER EIGHT EVENTS --Sascha Maassen/Ryan Briscoe's second-place LMP2 position gives Penske...
DUMAS/BERNHARD TAKE FOURTH OVERALL VICTORY OVER FAVORED AUDIS IN PENSKE PORSCHE RS SYPDER; PORSCHE EDGES TOWARD LMP2 CHAMPIONSHIP OVER ACURA RIVALS AFTER EIGHT EVENTS
--Sascha Maassen/Ryan Briscoe's second-place LMP2 position gives Penske Porsches sixth one-two class finish and sixth overall win in a row, assuring at least half the overall wins for the 2007 season--
ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. -- August 11 -- Capping off an improbable week where the LMP1 Audis were more than one second a lap faster than the LMP2 Porsches, Romain Dumas (France) and Timo Bernhard (Germany) squeezed out a 1.7-second overall win in the American Le Mans Series' Generac 500 at Road America.
The race will be telecast on a tape-delayed basis on Sunday, August 12, at 2:30 EDT on CBS-TV.
Dumas, who started the car, was pleased with his green-flag jump, but then fell behind the Audis and his teammate Briscoe on the re-start after a first-lap yellow flag, and was resigned to competing for a class win.
"I was surprise 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 one hour, two minute yellow flag caused by a severe thunder and lightning storm.
"After the re-start, the Audis went by us again, and we were back to our class win focus, but the Penske team made some smart decision on fuel and tires, and Timo brought the car home for both the class and overall win," he said.
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 was only two laps to go.
"I came in for fuel with 30 minutes to go and the leading Audi also came into the pits. 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," said Bernhard.
"This was a great team effort; nobody gave us a chance to win overall. 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," said Penske Porsche team manager Jeff Swartwout.
With extra points being awarded for this four-hour event, Dumas and Bernhard now lead the LMP2 class with 150 points, with Maassen and Briscoe second with 133 points. Acura drivers Brabham and Johansson are third with 90 points.
The two Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyders both flirted with third place in LMP2 during the event, with the Bruce Leitzinger/Andy Wallace car yielding the position late in the race when they had to stop for fuel. In the final results, the Chris Dyson/Guy Smith Porsche was fourth in LMP2, following by Leitzinger/Wallace in fifth.
In GT2, class leaders Jorg Bergmeister and Johannes van Overbeek had a rough day in their Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, colliding with a Ferrari early in the race and receiving a penalty for avoidable contact. The accident also caused a bent rim, meaning an extra early pit stop. Meanwhile, the Rahal Letterman Racing Porsche driven by Tom Milner, Jr. and Ralf Kelleners had a great battle with the Ferraris, leading the class during several periods of the race. The Salo/Melo Ferrari was leading late in the race, and the team thought they would have to come in for fuel, which would have given Rahal Letterman their first win, but the Ferrari held on to win by 1.1 second, with Milner/Kelleners second. After the Mueller/Bruni Ferrari, the Tafel Racing Porsche of Wolf Henzler/Robin Liddell was fourth and the Bergmeister/van Overbeek entry fifth. Salo/Melo now lead Bergmeister/van Overbeek by four points in the driver championship.
-credit: porsche motorsports