Dumas Posts Top-Five Finish in Utah 250 TOOELE, Utah (September 19, 2009) -- Romain Dumas drove the Penske Racing No. 12 Verizon Wireless Porsche Riley to a fourth place finish in the Utah 250 at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday after a...
Dumas Posts Top-Five Finish in Utah 250
TOOELE, Utah (September 19, 2009) -- Romain Dumas drove the Penske Racing No. 12 Verizon Wireless Porsche Riley to a fourth place finish in the Utah 250 at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday after a mishap in the pits cost the team the lead and ultimately its first victory of the season.
Dumas' co-driver, Timo Bernhard, started the two-hour, 45 minute timed event from the second position. Thirty minutes into the event, Bernhard pitted for fuel only setting the pace for race strategy.
After the remaining Daytona Prototype entries pitted under green flag racing conditions, Bernhard moved into the lead and held onto the point for more than 35 minutes before a full course caution slowed the field.
When Bernhard drove down pit road on lap 31 the Verizon Wireless pit crew made ready for a driver change, fuel and four fresh tires. The driver change ended up being the pivotal moment of the race as Bernhard's radio cord became tangled in the car on his exit and despite efforts to rip it free, the cord held and delayed Dumas' stint.
"We were competitive and we lead for a long time," said Bernhard. "Team Penske showed a great performance. I had a problem disconnecting the radio cable to my helmet in the driver change, and we lost a few seconds there that we needed. A little thing that doesn't happen and it happened to us. We never were able to get those seconds back."
Adding to the anxiety, Dumas stalled the car on his exit and required a push from his Verizon team. He was posted in the fifth position for the restart on lap 33 but moved into the fourth position just one lap later after capitalizing on another competitor's mistake. Dumas held on to that position until the checkered flag was displayed one-hour later.
Dumas was disheartened by the mistakes which cost the team a podium finish but he was uplifted by overall performance of the Verizon Wireless team.
"We had the speed to compete, but the mistake in the pits cost us time we needed at the end," said Dumas. "That is how competitive Grand-Am racing is. A little mistake and it was enough to cost us a podium. We have a great car now, now that we have all the power back, we know we can win. We just need everything to be perfect. We will try again at Miami."
The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal 16 will conclude its 2009 season on Saturday, October 10 on Homestead-Miami Speedway's 2.3-mile road course. The 2.5-hour timed event will air live on SPEED at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday.