Flying Lizard Porsche Finishes First at Alms Grand Prix of Sonoma, But Rules Infraction Gives Victory to Alex Job Racing Porsche --Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law took advantage of a gutsy pit call and a timely yellow flag to score their ...
Flying Lizard Porsche Finishes First at Alms Grand Prix of Sonoma, But Rules Infraction Gives Victory to Alex Job Racing Porsche
--Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law took advantage of a gutsy pit call and a timely yellow flag to score their second GT win of the season in their Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, but the execution of that strategy resulted in a 42- second penalty and handed the win to the Timo Bernhard/Jorg Bergmeister Alex Job Porsche--
Sonoma, Calif. - July 18 - Darren Law, from Phoenix, and Johannes van Overbeek, from San Francisco, driving the Sonoma-based Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, put nearly a lap on the GT field when they took a gamble during the first yellow flag to score an apparent American Le Mans Series victory at the Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway.
Law, who started in the Lizard Porsche, was running fifth when Craig Stanton, driving the Petersen/White Lightning Porsche, made contact with the second place Alex Job Racing Porsche, driven by Timo Bernhard. Both cars were damaged - with the Petersen car spending 20 minutes in the pits to repair a smashed radiator - and the yellow flag came out. Most of the teams dove into the pits for fuel and tires, but the Flying Lizard car stayed out on the course, putting almost a lap on the GT field.
The problem was that the Flying Lizard car had come into the pit lane and left without stopping, a violation of the rules, which state that a car entering pit lane must come to a stop and turn its engine off before proceeding. The ALMS officials did not catch the violation at the time, but assessed the penalty after the race was over, moving the Lizard car from first to second place, and giving the Alex Job car the win.
"Thomas Blam, our strategist, decided that we could last for another hour on fuel and tires, and we could take a chance that we could come in under yellow later in the race when we had enough of a lead to retain our place," said Law, who still leads the ALMS GT points with van Overbeek by five points. Law pointed out that the team was unaware of the rule.
"The team is very disappointed that our victory was taken away from us," said Law, "but we have to focus on next week's race at Portland. We still lead the championship, and we know our team effort pays dividends in the winner's circle."
The Alex Job Racing McKenna mail2web.com Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Bernhard/Bergmeister, which won the 12 Hours of Sebring earlier this year, had closed the gap to 27 seconds by the end of the event, so the 42-second penalty was enough to move them into the top spot. The pole-sitting Alex Job Porsche of Romain Dumas/Marc Lieb Porsche was third.
The Lime Rock-winning Ferrari of Lazarro/Kelleners was fourth, followed by The Racer's Group Porsche of Patrick Long/Cort Wagner in fifth. Long, who was running third early in the event, had a flat tire at the one-hour mark, and lost a lap to the leader. The Justin Jackson/Tim Sugden J3 Racing Porsche, which was running fourth, also suffered a flat and finished in sixth place. Seventh was the Peter Boss/Hugh Plumb P,K, Sport Porsche, with the other Flying Lizard Porsche of Lonnie Pechnik/Seth Neiman eighth. Ninth was the Saelens/Jeanette Panoz, and the Dave Murry/Craig Stanton Petersen/White Lightning Porsche finished tenth.
The Racer's Group Porsche of Jim Matthews/Peter Ehret broke a suspension piece and did not finish, and the BAM! YES Network Porsche of Leo Hindery/Lucas Luhr lost its electronic control unit 15 laps into the race and could not continue.
The next ALMS race will be Sunday, July 25, at Portand International Raceway in Oregon. The Portland race will be telecast live by The Speed Channel.