Petersen/ White Lightning Continues Podium Streak with Second at Lime Rock LAKEVILLE, Conn., July 4, 2005 -- With the conclusion of today's New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park (Lakeville, Conn.), Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing...
Petersen/ White Lightning Continues Podium Streak with Second at Lime Rock
LAKEVILLE, Conn., July 4, 2005 -- With the conclusion of today's New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park (Lakeville, Conn.), Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing continues its streak of finishing on the GT2 class podium in every American Le Mans Series (ALMS) event held in 2005. Earning its second ALMS second place of the season- tenth overall- the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR continues to hold the team and driver point championship lead after four events. Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) started from the pole position- his first in the ALMS- before handing the wheel of the production-based Porsche 911 race car over to Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) at the one hour, ten-minute mark. Long would eventually finish the race behind the wheel of the Westward Ho Casino entry covering 153 laps of the 1.54-mile facility.
Long, starting the two hour and 45-minute race, was struck by another car at the green flag and fell to fifth by the end of lap-one. The young Porsche "works" driver fought back moving up to the third spot by the sixth lap. Two amazingly quick pit stops by the ten man team helped move the Michael Petersen-owned effort into second place. Long's two stints were spilt by Bergmeister's driving duties in the middle of a race that saw ambient temperatures nearing 90 degrees (Fahrenheit), track temperatures exceeding 115 and cockpit levels reaching over 150. A yellow flag with 40-minutes of racing remaining split the field as the overall race leader had just passed Bergmeister. Now, officially one lap down to the GT2 class leading Porsche, the team fought back and passed the eventual winner on track. However, not enough time remained for Long to circle the track one more time to fight for the lead. He would eventually allow the leader back around with five minutes remaining in the race.
The Las Vegas-based Petersen/ White Lightning operation continues to be strong against both the Porsche factory effort and other privateer entrants. The two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning team has added every IMSA Cup- an award given to the highest finishing privately owned team in each class- of the season to its trophy case and holds a commanding lead in that category for the season-long IMSA Cup awarded at year's end.
Petersen/ White Lightning won the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring took third in the second race of the year at Road Atlanta and has earned second twice, first at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and now here at Lime Rock Park. In addition, the operation just returned from Europe where it ran to second-place in GT2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. All included the combination of Petersen/ White Lightning with Bergmeister/ Long has provided six podium finishes in six races together including a victory at Le Mans, 2004.
Dale White, team manager:
"This was a great finish for the team. We got bumped out at the start and Patrick and Jorg fought back hard to regain those positions. We were just two-tenths off the fastest [GT2] race lap. That shows how hard the guys were trying behind the wheel. We had two awesome pit stops by the crew that really made a huge difference to our results. The combination of the drivers and the team put us just where we wanted to be but, unfortunately, the yellow flag at the end hurt us. The pace car got between us and the overall leader when the final yellow came out and that put us a lap down to the GT2 class leader. This one is for all the guys because they earned it. We even got to have Mike on the podium as he celebrated with us on the phone. Just wish he had been able to be here."
Jorg Bergmeister, driver:
"It was really, really hot. We didn't really have the fastest car today. The AJR [Alex Job Racing] car was much faster in the race today compared to qualifying. The guys did a really good job with the pit stops. I am happy with the result today. I think it shows that we are serious about winning this championship. The other teams are going to have to come and get us; we aren't going to give it to them."
Patrick Long, driver:
"The podium streak stays alive with Patrick Long and Petersen/ White Lightning. Got to give so much credit to these guys for all the hard work through the month. Today's race was just wild between oil going down and safety trucks running on the track on green flag conditions. We had a couple of unlucky breaks so to salvage a second place is no disappointment. I am extremely elated to have my first pole position and to bring the car home on the podium. That is the name of this game in the championship. If Alex Job is ahead of us, we need to be one [position] behind him. It's fun. It's a great position to be in. I think we're going to be right there at Infineon Raceway."