Road Atlanta: Porsche race report

DUMAS/BERNHARD CLINCH 2007 AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES LMP2 CHAMPIONSHIP WITH TENTH CLASSWIN IN ELEVEN TRIES; PENSKE PORSCHE RS SPYDER SECOND OVERALL BRASELTON, Georgia -- October 6, 2007 -- Romain Dumas (France) and Timo Bernhard (Germany), with...

DUMAS/BERNHARD CLINCH 2007 AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES LMP2 CHAMPIONSHIP WITH TENTH CLASSWIN IN ELEVEN TRIES; PENSKE PORSCHE RS SPYDER SECOND OVERALL

BRASELTON, Georgia -- October 6, 2007 -- Romain Dumas (France) and Timo Bernhard (Germany), with help from Patrick Long (USA), completed their season-long quest for the 2007 American Le Mans Series LMP2 drivers championship by winning their fifth class victory in a row and coming within one second of the overall win at the tenth running of the 1000-mile Petit Le Mans classic at Road Atlanta in their #7 Penske Porsche RS Spyder.

Despite a 200-horsepower deficit to the Audi prototypes, the Penske Porsche RS Spyders had won eight races in a row overall in addition to their 11 class wins, and Dumas/Bernhard/Long came within a second of making it nine this evening. With 30 minutes remaining in the race, Dumas was leading overall by 37 seconds when a late-race yellow flag closed up the field and gave the more powerful Audi a chance to catch and pass the Porsche umas kept the LMP1 prototype in sight, but could not get by for the overall win.

"Timo and I are very pleased to win the LMP2 championship together -- our first title as a driving pair. Penske racing prepared a perfect car, and they gave me the go-ahead to chase for the overall win once we determined the LMP2 title was secure. I tried my best, but we are very satisfied with the season we had -- especially those six overall wins," said Dumas, who earned his first ALMS drivers title. Bernhard has won two ALMS titles -- one in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs in GT2.

Bernhard, who has an overall victory at the Daytona 24 Hours, an ALMS championship, and a class win at Le Mans to his credit, was happy to share this moment with his co-driver.

"I knew from the first time we co-drove together in 2005 that we could win a championship, but this year was beyond my dreams. We had a great team effort today, and the whole Porsche and Penske organization deserves this championship," said Bernhard.

Patrick Long, who has also won an ALMS title and has two Le Mans class wins to his credit, just wanted to help the effort.

"It was a fantastic opportunity for me, but because Timo and Romain were so close to locking up the championship, my first goal was to bring the car home in one piece. I wasn't about to screw up," said Long.

"It was a perfect day for Penske Racing as we achieved many of the goals we set out to accomplish for 2007. We had already won the LMP2 team championship, and helped Porsche clinch the engine and chassis titles, and now we have won the drivers championship. The eight overall wins we have scored have far exceeded our expectations," said Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing, Inc.

"We also showed that our cars are both fast and reliable in this tough 1000-mile event," said Cindric.

Making it a one-two LMP2 finish for the Porsche was the Chris Dyson (USA)/Guy Smith (England) Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder, which finished third overall and second in class. Dyson/Smith, who ran in the top five in class all day, earned their high finish despite the fact they were fighting the setup on the car all race.

"It feels great to be on the podium after a near-miss four weeks ago in Detroit. We were not the fastest car as we were a little to conservative in our set-up, but the Dyson racing team persevered," said Smith.

The second Dyson Porsche and the second Penske Porsche also finished in the top ten overall and the top six in class, with Andy Wallace/Butch Leitzinger/Andy Lally fourth in class and sixth overall for the #16 Dyson Porsche RS Spyder, and Sascha Maassen/Ryan Briscoe/Emmanuel Collard seventh overall and fifth in class for the #6 Penske Porsche RS Spyder. The Penske car suffered a broken steering rack and suspension damage due to an accident -- resulting in a long pit stop, while the Dyson car had ignition and electrical problems -- slowing the car on several occasions.

In the GT2 class, the #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR scored a stunning victory over a strong field of Ferraris and other Porsches as regulars Johannes van Overbeek (USA) and Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) were joined by Marc Lieb (Germany) to finish first and stay in contention for the drivers championship.

The Lizards scored a two-lap win over the Tafel Racing Porsche of Wolf Henzler and Dominick Farbacher (both Germany) as Farnbacher passed the Rahal Letterman Racing Porsche of Tom Milner, Jr. on the last lap of the race. Milner, with co-driver Ralf Kelleners, finished third.

-credit: porsche motorsports

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