Penske Porsches Finish Second, Third In Lime Rock LIME ROCK, Conn. (July 12, 2008) -- Saturday afternoon's American Le Mans Series (ALMS) event saw the No. 7 LMP2 Penske Porsche RS Spyder of Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas finish second overall...
Penske Porsches Finish Second, Third In Lime Rock
LIME ROCK, Conn. (July 12, 2008) -- Saturday afternoon's American Le Mans Series (ALMS) event saw the No. 7 LMP2 Penske Porsche RS Spyder of Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas finish second overall (and in the LMP2 class) and the No. 6 LMP2 Penske Porsche RS Spyder of Patrick Long and Sascha Maassen finish third overall/in class.
The No. 7 machine of Bernhard/Dumas, who now lead the LMP2 drivers championship by 24 points, took the lead at the one-hour mark, just before a 25-minute caution period, and led for an hour and 43 minutes before being overhauled by the Brabham/Sharp Acura, forcing them to settle for second place. Both the Porsche and the Acura spent the last 30 minutes trying to stay out of trouble created by slower traffic, a marginal fuel supply, and a track littered with dirt and rocks from previous mishaps during the race.
Bernhard, who held the lead for most of that time, would build a 10 to 15-second lead, only to get stuck behind a group of slower GT cars and have the margin shrink to one to three seconds. Both cars had made only one fuel stop, but both teams thought they could make it to the end with all the yellow flags that had ensued, and by utilizing the leanest fuel mode they could.
Two laps from the end -- merely 90 seconds from the finish - after Bernard lost a bout with traffic, Brabham attempted to pass Bernhard on the outside. Bernhard stuck the nose of the car on the inside line, but the Acura cut him off, and Bernhard had to slam on the brakes, which locked up the rear end and caused him to spin onto the grass.
"I thought I could go faster than him, but I had bad luck in traffic, and he caught up to me," said Bernhard. "When he cut in front of me, I ran out of room on the inside line, and would have crashed into the barrier if I held that line. I decided it was better to spin and avoid contact, thus making sure I finished second, than it was to crash and put our season points in danger."
The No. 6 Penske Porsche RS Spyder of Maassen/Long got off to a strong start, with Long taking the overall lead on the first lap -- a lead he held until lap seven - and holding the LMP2 class lead for the first hour of the race. However, towards the end of the race, Maassen made contact with the No. 20 Dyson entrant, which resulted in a one-minute penalty. A strong driving performance allowed Maassen and Long to finish in third place overall/in class.
Porsche leads Acura in the LMP2 manufacturer's title chase by 13 points after five races.