Penske Porsches Post 1-2 Finish at Miller Motorsports Park TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH (May 18, 2008) - Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard gave Porsche and Penske Racing their second straight victory at Miller Motorsports Park with a 1-2 finish. Dumas...
Penske Porsches Post 1-2 Finish at Miller Motorsports Park
TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH (May 18, 2008) - Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard gave Porsche and Penske Racing their second straight victory at Miller Motorsports Park with a 1-2 finish. Dumas took the checkered flag ahead of Patrick Long in the Larry H. Miller Utah Grand Prix presented by the Grand and Little America Hotels.
Dumas and Bernhard, driving the No. 7 Porsche RS Spyder, captured their first overall victory for Penske since a season-opening win at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Emmanuel Collard. The pairing also were winners in LMP2 after seeing their eight-race class winning streak end in the previous round at Long Beach.
Dumas inherited the lead when Audi Sport North America's Emanuele Pirro pitted from first place near the two-hour mark, but still had to withstand challenges from the two Audi R10 TDIs. Lucas Luhr suffered a slow puncture with 30 minutes to go in the No. 1 Audi while running within 3 seconds of Dumas, and Pirro's No. 2 was knocked off course by David Robertson's GT2-class No. 40 Ford GT just two minutes later.
Long and Sascha Maassen recorded their best result of the season with the runner-up finish in the No. 6 Porsche RS Spyder, 22.656 seconds adrift of the sister car. They were 4.183 seconds ahead of Simon Pagenaud and Gil de Ferran in the No. 66 de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-01b, making its first start in the Series.
The first six cars were from the lighter, more nimble LMP2 cars that took advantage of its cornering abilities around the 3.048-mile, 15-turn Outer Course.
"I am so happy," said Bernhard. "Yesterday we captured overall pole, and now we have won overall with a great race and a great strategy. There were a lot of cautions at the beginning, and it wasn't easy to get into a rhythm. But it was a perfect run."
"It was, for sure, a nice race for our car," added Dumas. "We had a different strategy from the rest of the field. When I got in there was little more than one hour to go, so I knew I had to be careful in my stint. For sure our team made a very good strategy and did not make any mistakes, and we pushed at the right times. It was an important win for us."
Luhr and Marco Werner were seventh overall but finished first in LMP1 for the third consecutive race. After entering with a two-race overall winning streak, the No. 2 Audi lost time with the spin and puncture and also a late-race penalty.
"I think we showed a good race," said Luhr. "It was fun fighting for the overall lead. When we came to the top of the chicane, the No. 1 made the pass for me in front of the slower No. 28 car so I followed him. Then this guy had only one place to look and cut down into me and cut all the air, and I spun and had to come in and get new tires. Then we got a stop-and-go for that bit; I think it was unfair, but we really showed a great race. It's a great track to drive on."
Intersport Racing's No. 37 Lola B06/10-AER finished second in class, its best finish of the season. Jon Field led early before a couple of spins and briefly losing power steering. Pirro and Frank Biela were third in class.
Corvette Racing's Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnussen won their third GT1 race in four starts this season in the No. 3 Corvette C6.R. Magnussen finished 10th overall, more than a minute up on Oliver Gavin in the sister car.
"This was a great race for us," said Magnussen. "We had to really work at keeping the other car at bay. We turned it into a test for both cars to get ready for Le Mans, and I really think we're going to be in good shape going to France."
Olivier Beretta began from the pole in the No. 4 Corvette but O'Connell and Magnussen won the race in pit lane. In each of the previous three rounds, the pole-sitting car ended up as the race winner.
Flying Lizard Motorsports' Wolf Henzler and Jorg Bergmeister drove their No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to 13th overall and their first GT2 victory since Sebring with a one-lap victory over the sister No. 46 Porsche of Johannes van Overbeek and Patrick Pilet.
Henzler jumped out to a 20-second lead early and gained nearly a lap on the field during the race's first caution. Werner, in the overall leading Audi, was between the two Porsches, allowing Henzler a free pass around the circuit to catch the rear of the field.
"It was an easy drive on a Sunday afternoon," said Bergmeister. "We knew after warm-up we had a great car. I was pretty optimistic, and it was a nice way to do it. Wolf did a great job putting the gap between us and the sister car, and it was great to get the wave-by. Without the gap, we might not have been so lucky."
The 1-2 finish was the second of the season for the Lizards and allowed Bergmeister and Henzler to move back into the class championship lead by one point over Tafel Racing's Dirk Mueller and Dominik Farnbacher. They were third in GT2 on Sunday in the No. 71 Ferrari F430 GT.
Tommy Archer may have changed teams from 2007 to 2008, but his result at Miller Motorsports Park was the same--a win in the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT race. Archer started his No. 13 Foametix/Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper from the pole and led all the way. Second-starting Ritch Marziale applied early pressure in his No. 56 All-Cut Concrete Dodge Viper, but succumbed to power steering problems just past the halfway point of the 22-lap event.
From there, Archer avoided lapped cars spinning in front of him to keep Brandon Davis' No. 10 ACS/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang at bay and score the win with a 1.148-second margin of victory, averaging 93.284 mph. It was the first win for the Woodhouse Performance team.
"It's a small team, and it's nice for Bob [Woodhouse] and his team that have worked so hard for so many years to get a win for them," Archer said.
Davis started fifth, but moved to third by turn one. When Marziale's troubles began, he moved to second on lap six and closed on Archer at least twice, but was unable to make a bid for the lead. The Long Beach winner took over the championship lead with his runner-up finish.
Andy Pilgrim started his No. 8 Remington Shaving Cadillac CTS-V just behind Davis and advanced to third after Cindi Lux spun her No. 2 Mopar/Corsa/Forgeline/Momo Dodge Viper back to fifth on lap 11. Archer's car continually improved, but he was unable to make a bid for second despite being just behind Davis' Mustang for the second half of the race.
Randy Pobst came from 11th on the grid to finish fourth in his No. 1 K-PAX Racing Porsche 911 GT3. Despite his strong run, he lost the points lead, falling five behind Davis (310 to 305).
Lux, who is an instructor at Miller Motorsports Park's Ford Racing High Performance Driving School, held on to finish fifth--the best finish ever for a woman in SPEED GT competition. It was the best finish by a woman overall in SPEED World Challenge competition since Shauna Marinus' third-place result in SPEED Touring Car at Infineon Raceway in 2003.
Polesitter Jason Saini led every lap en route to his maiden SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship win. Starting from his first career pole position in the No. 74 MAZDASPEED/Stoptech/Racinghart MAZDA6, Saini made a clean getaway on the standing start and immediately pulled out a gap on Kleinubing. The gap between the two remained fairly consistent between 1.5 and 2.5 seconds throughout the course of the 20-lap race.
Saini beat Kleinubing to the checkered flag by 1.402 seconds, averaging 86.366 mph.
"It wasn't easy," Saini said. "It was 50 minutes (of) straight qualifying, every lap. There was no tire management, there was no waiting on it, I just went. The car was fantastic; the team did a great job. It was as good on the last lap as it was on the first. We nailed the setup."
Saini became the first series rookie winner since John Angelone won the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2005.
Multi-time series champion Pierre Kleinubing finished second in the No. 43 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Acura TSX, but felt he just didn't have enough to make a serious challenge for the lead.
"Every time I tried to go a little faster, [Saini would] return the favor on the next lap," Kleinubing said. "Every time I closed the gap a little bit, he stretched it out again. He had a better car today; he beat us straight up. Congratulations to him and the team."
Point leader Kuno Wittmer started sixth in his No. 44 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Acura TSX but was third by Turn One. He fended off Charles Espenlaub's No. 73 MAZDASPEED/Stoptech/Racinghart MAZDA6 for much of the race before the two made light contact in Turn Five, allowing Wittmer to escape from the battle.
The Wittmer/Espenlaub battle allowed Peter Cunningham's No. 42 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Acura TSX to slot into fourth for the finish. Espenlaub held off teammate Jim Daniels in the closing laps to finish fifth.
Dino Steiner improved on his second-place finish in Saturday's race for the IMSA Challenge by Michelin by winning in Sunday's race. He posted a 1.945-second margin of victory over Tom Pank, who led early in the race, with Gold class winner Tony Rivera finishing third overall. Martin Snow of Lehi, who won Saturday's race, got spun on the opening lap and did not finish. Martin's wife, Melanie, finished second in the Gold Class with a fifth-overall finish.
Similarly, Jonathan Goring improved on his Saturday second-place finish in the IMSA Lites presented by Hankook Tires, taking the win in Sunday's race in dominant fashion. Tom Drewer finished 11.663 seconds back in second, with Matt Downs completing the podium.
Up next for Miller Motorsports Park is the HANNspree Superbike World Championship® StriVectin-SD® USA Round presented by HANNspree and the Honda Summit of Speed AMA Superbike Championship, scheduled for May 29-June 1. This event combines the return of the HANNspree Superbike World Championship to North America for the first time in four years with the third Utah appearance of the AMA Superbike Championship for four days of the best two-wheeled action in America. It will be the biggest international sporting event in the State of Utah since the 2002 Winter Olympics.
The event will include a myriad of off-track entertainment for fans including stunt bikes, freestyle motocross exhibitions, live bands, helicopter rides and sky diving. Fans are also invited to the Zantrex-3 Insta-Shot Bike Bash at Gallivan Center in downtown Salt Lake City at 6:00 pm on May 29, featuring live music from the band "Chevelle," BMX and freestyle motocross exhibitions, plus an autograph session with many of the top World Superbike and AMA Superbike riders.
A variety of single-day, two-day and four-day ticket packages are available from the Miller Motorsports Park ticket office.
For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 435-277-RACE (7223) or visit www.MillerMotorsportsPark.com.