BERNHARD/DUMAS PORSCHE CLAW BACK FROM FIFTH WITH 30 MINUTES REMAINING TO FINISH SECOND IN LMP2 AND MAINTAIN A 24-POINT LEAD WITH FOUR RACES REMAINING
--Dirk Werner/Bryce Miller/Richard Westbrook combine to give Farnbacher Loles Racing its first American Le Mans Series GT2 win with their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR--
ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin - August 9 - Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France), driving the #7 Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder, maintained their LMP2 drivers points lead by climbing up to second place on the last part of the Generac 500 at Road America Saturday.
Bernhard/Dumas, who won the LMP2 championship a year ago with podium finishes in all 12 races, have now extended that streak to 27 straight races dating back to Mid-Ohio 2006. and given Porsche a 13-point lead over Acura. The Brabham/Sharp Acura won the LMP2 class, but the Porsche RS Spyders finished second third and fourth. Butch Leitzinger (USA) and Marino Franchitti (Scotland), driving the #20 Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder, finished third in class, with the #6 Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder of Patrick Long (USA) and Sascha Maassen (Germany) finishing fourth.
"Because of the good points situation, the results today were okay, but after all the hard work the team put into this weekend, we have to be a bit disappointed. We had a pit strategy that would have put us in a position to win, but all the late yellow flags gave the others a chance to catch up. Still, we achieved our overall strategy - progress towards another championship," said Bernhard.
"Our drivers did a great job. They were smart when they needed to be smart; fast when they needed to be fast; and sacrificed personal glory for the team results when that was called for. We stayed a good distance ahead of Acura in the championship, and it was great racing for the fans," said Penske Racing team manager Jeff Swartwout.
Rob Dyson, owner of Dyson Racing, was pleased with the team's podium finish, as well as the sixth place in LMP2 for the second RS Spyder driven by Chris Dyson (USA) and Guy Smith (England).
"We feel we are in the final stages of understanding this great piece of engineering that Porsche has provided us, and the hard work of our drivers and crew has paid off. We are thrilled with the technical support we receive from Porsche, and look forward to finishing the season with some more strong finishes," said the elder Dyson , who recently celebrated his 25th anniversary in professional racing.
In GT2, Dirk Werner (Germany)/Bryce Miller (USA)/Richard Westbrook (England) overcame an early penalty for speeding it the pit lane with to score a class win in their Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Werner, who drove the last stint, was behind the #62 Melo/Salo Ferrari on the last lap when Dirk slipped by the Ferrari for the win - easily the most exciting moment in the race.
"After the last caution, the tires were right there. I thought, 'Okay on the last lap, you have to try something.' I got a little bit lucky because Mika tried to overtake his teammate, and he [the teammate] couldn't see him, so he brake-checked him and I could dive to the inside. The next three corners were really amazing because Mika was right on my bumper. I think he just wanted to try everything. When he saw an advantage in turn five, he braked even later than I did and he couldn't make it and spun out," said Werner, who scored his first ALMS win.
Bryce Miller, who co-drove a Farnbacher Loles Porsche GT3 Cup with Werner last year and helped Dirk win the Grand-Am GT championship, was only in his second ALMS race, and was thrilled to contribute to the win.
"The Marquis Jet car ran super today, and Farnbacher Loles did a great job to set it up. It was my second race in the RSR, so I haven't paid my dues so much for a result like this. But these two guys have been knocking on the door and it's good to be here and share it with them. They're both world-class drivers and they deserve it and I'm just glad to be a part of it. The last couple of laps were just amazing driving by Dirk," said Miller.
The third Farnbacher Loles driver, 2007 Porsche Supercup champion Richard Westbrook, running his first race with the team, had an interesting debut.
"I had a lot of issues! I got in the car and the pit-speed limiter wasn't working, so as soon as I left the pits, I got the call from the pit lane saying that I had a penalty. So I had to come in and serve the penalty. Then the guys on the pit wall made a great decision - because I was last in the queue, they said to come in for fuel - so two pit stops on my very first lap. But then I had a really, really good stint. The car was just so good. I think that was the key to our result today - we had a car that was really, really stable," said Westbrook, who is a first-year Porsche factory driver.
Second in the GT2 class were Joerg Bergmeister and Wolf Henzler (both Germany), who drive the #45 GT2 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR and currently lead the GT2 championship by seven points. Ferraris finished third and fifth, while the Patrick Pilet (France) and Johannes van Overbeek (USA) Flying Lizard Porsche was fourth. The Flying Lizard Porsche of Seth Neiman and Darren Law (both USA) was seventh, while the VICI Racing Porsche of Nicky Pastorelli/Francesco Pastorelli (both the Netherlands/Marc Basseng (Germany) was eighth.