Lizards Finish 2nd and 8th in GT2 at Lime Rock; Team Extends Lead in ALMS GT2 Team and Drivers' Championships July 01, 2006--Lime Rock Park, Connecticut--The Flying Lizard Motorsports No. 45 and No. 44 Porsches finished second and eighth...
Lizards Finish 2nd and 8th in GT2 at Lime Rock; Team Extends Lead in ALMS GT2 Team and Drivers' Championships
July 01, 2006--Lime Rock Park, Connecticut--The Flying Lizard Motorsports No. 45 and No. 44 Porsches finished second and eighth today at the New England Grand Prix in Lime Rock, the fourth race of the 2006 ALMS season. Starting from the back of the pack, the No. 45 fought a hard battle in the 10-car GT2 field to finish second. The No. 44 was dogged for most of the race by shifter problems -- necessitating three pit stops and 15 minutes in the pits -- but was able to finish in eighth place. With this result, the team extends its lead in the ALMS GT2 team championship. Johannes van Overbeek is first in the GT2 drivers' championship, Wolf Henzler is second, and Seth Neiman is fifth.
"Lime Rock 2006: it reminded me of a short-track stock car race. There was so much action on track and so many things happening in every class, especially in the first 45 minutes," said Thomas Blam, Lizard Chief Strategist. "It was a chaotic start for the field on the tight, narrow course. In the first 45 minutes alone, there were two full course yellows, and the No. 61 Risi Ferrari and the No. 23 Alex Job Porsche--both contenders for the podium-- were effectively out of the running. Given all that happened, and the fact that this was a two-stop race for us, we are very happy with our second place finish. In the No. 45, Wolf and Johannes did an incredible job in pushing through the field cleanly and keeping a great pace. Wolf even set a new race lap record of 54.301 on the 1.54 mile track "
Johannes started the race in the No. 45: "Starting at the back was tough. There was so much traffic: it was three cars abreast at the start and it was hard to figure out which line of cars to bet on. I was able to move through the field quickly and stay out of trouble, but the No. 23 Alex Job Porsche got ahead of me early on after the No. 62 had a tire problem. I really pushed hard my entire stint to gain as much ground as I could before I turned it over to Wolf."
Wolf, who drove for nearly 2 hours, added "It was a long stint. Starting from sixth in class, I was able to keep moving up the field, finally overtaking the No. 21 BMW for second position after 30 minutes. We were two abreast for three turns before I was able to get by! With one hour to go, I was just ten seconds down on Jorg Bergmeister in the No. 31 Petersen Porsche and wanted to catch him. After some bad luck during the last yellow, when the leader stayed out an extra lap, we were 40 seconds down and it was clear I wasn't going to be able to catch him which was frustrating. But the No. 31 Porsche ran a great race and definitely deserved the victory."
In the No. 44 car, Lonnie Pechnik started third on the grid. Things were going well until he had sudden shifting problems, which continued for most of the race. After three pit stops (and a driver change to Seth Neiman) and 15 minutes in the pits, the team was able to replace the shifter mechanism, and return the transmission function to normal. Seth was able to finish his nearly 2 hour stint on a solid pace to finish eighth.
Seth added, "It was a struggle to drive with the shifter problem and communicate what was going on to the crew in my stint so that they could get the right solution together. They did a great job in finally resolving it and I was able to get back on pace. Overall, even with the problems we had, we're happy with the results for both cars. It leaves us in a good position in the championship points chase. Thanks to the crew for getting the No. 44 back to ALMS spec after our trip to Le Mans and for another very solid race."