Laguna Seca: Porsche race report

MONTEREY, Calif. -- In an exciting race similar to the event two weeks ago at Road Atlanta, Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) scored their eighth LMP2 win of the season in the Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder at the American Le Mans...

MONTEREY, Calif. -- In an exciting race similar to the event two weeks ago at Road Atlanta, Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) scored their eighth LMP2 win of the season in the Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder at the American Le Mans Series finale at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway.

Bernhard and Dumas, who clinched the drivers championship before they arrived for this race weekend, also finished second overall to the LMP1 Audi R-10. The Penske Racing Porsches also scored eight straight overall wins during the season, beating the more powerful 12-cylinder Audis on both street course and traditional road circuits. And for the last hour of the race, Dumas chased the leading Audi, passing it twice in tight corners, but not quite able to make his lead stick on the straights.

"I put more than maximum pressure on him -- I gave it all I had. With 200 horsepower less than the Audis, I think we gave everyone quite a show, and we are pleased with the outcome today as well as the whole season. We not only won our class championship, but we beat those guys overall eight times," said Dumas, who celebrated his first ALMS drivers title.

"I could not have dreamed of a season like this -- beating the overall Le Mans winners eight straight races. Penske Racing and Porsche Motorsport gave us the best of both worlds, and Romain and I are grateful for the opportunity," said co-driver and co-champion Timo Bernhard, who is a two-time ALMS champion, having won a GT2 title with Alex Job Racing in 2004.

Bernhard said the competition for both the overall and class lead was very close in the beginning, and he decided to play it safe and see how things played out. He ended up passing the pole-sitting Penske Porsche RS Spyder of Sascha Maassen (Germany), and then went after the overall Audi leader, but traffic forced him to concentrate on the LMP2 battle. Bernhard and Dumas finished on the class podium for all 12 ALMS races

Maassen and his co-driver Ryan Briscoe (Australia) fell to fourth place in class late in the race, but Briscoe passed the two Acuras ahead of him to finish second in class and fourth overall. Maassen and Briscoe won the LMP2 class three times this year, including two overall wins.

"It's been a wonderful season, and this one-two class finish -- the 11th win in 12 races -- brings back the glory days of the Porsche 917/30 for both Porsche and Penske Racing. It's been a huge honor to be a part of this program, and we believe this puts the exclamation point on a season which will put the Porsche RS Spyder right with the 917 in Porsche racing history," said Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing.

Porsche and Penske Racing swept all the championships in the LMP2 class, winning the chassis and engine manufacturers titles, the drivers crowns, and the team championship for the second year and a row. It was the Penske Porsche RS Spyder's third win at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway -- the first win at the car's debut in October, 2005.

In the GT2 contest, three Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs and a Ferrari swapped the class lead nine times during the four-hour event, but the Salo/Melo Ferrari won the race in the end, clinching the team, driver and manufacturer's title for Ferrari. The Flying Lizard Porsche of Johannes van Overbeek/Joerg Bergmeister had an outside chance to win the drivers title, but a flat tire after an off-track excursion caused an extra pit stop which resulted in a fourth-place finish. The Tafel Racing Porsche driven by Wolf Henzler/Dominik Farnbacher finished second for the second race in a row with a late-race pass of the Rahal Letterman Porsche of Ralf Kelleners/Tom Milner, which ended up third.

Credit: porsche motorsports

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Ralf Kelleners , Sascha Maassen , Timo Bernhard , Ryan Briscoe , Romain Dumas , Wolf Henzler , Dominik Farnbacher , Alex Job
Teams Team Penske , Alex Job Racing