Lizards Win Mid-Ohio: Second Win in a Row for the No. 45 Porsche Lexington, OH -- The Flying Lizard No. 45 Porsche of Johannes van Overbeek and Joerg Bergmeister took the checkered flag today at Mid-Ohio to win their second consecutive race. The...
Lizards Win Mid-Ohio: Second Win in a Row for the No. 45 Porsche
Lexington, OH -- The Flying Lizard No. 45 Porsche of Johannes van Overbeek and Joerg Bergmeister took the checkered flag today at Mid-Ohio to win their second consecutive race. The No. 44 Flying Lizard Porsche of Seth Neiman and Lonnie Pechnik came in fourth out of the 11-car GT2 field.
After an incident-filled race two weeks ago at Lime Rock and many red flags during the three pre-race practice sessions this week, today's 2 hour and 45 minute race was surprisingly clean with no cautions. Joerg Bergmeister started from third on the GT2 grid, setting a strong pace for the Porsche contingent. The No. 62 Risi Ferrari, which was on the pole, and the No. 31 Petersen White Lightning Ferrari quickly established a strong lead over the rest of the field, running nose to tail for the first quarter of the race. Chief Strategist Thomas Blam said "It was clear from the start of the race that the Ferraris would be very strong here. Our strategy was to run our own race, stay consistent, and try and gain as much time as we could in the pits."
At the 40-minute mark, Joerg was in a solid third behind the No. 31 Ferrari. After colliding twice consecutively on course in a hundred yard stretch, the No. 62 and the No. 31 Ferraris went through a series of pit stops and penalties, which pushed both cars far back into the GT2 field. "For the second race in a row, contact between the two Ferraris in the lead played a role in the outcome, allowing us to move into the lead early in the race," added Blam.
At the one-hour mark, Joerg turned the wheel over to Johannes, who went out again in P1. Over his hour-long stint, Johannes held off the No. 61 Ferrari which was in P2. At hour two, Johannes turned the car back to Joerg to finish the race. A fast second pit stop kept Joerg out front.
"It looked like it was going to come down to a finish between the No. 45 Porsche and the No. 61 Ferrari battling for the win, but at the end of the race, the No. 61 Ferrari had a fuel issue, losing minutes in the pits, and pushing them 2 laps down on the No. 45," added Blam. The No. 62 Ferrari, which had mowed its way back through the GT2 field, finished an impressive second, just ahead of their teammates in the No. 61 Ferrari.
Bergmeister said, "By my second stint, our Porsche was pretty good -- I think I could have done mid-21s (1 minute 21 second pace) but there was no need to push at that point. The team did great pit stops and everything functioned smoothly in this race -- we kept our nose clean and it worked."
The sister Lizard No. 44 Porsche had another strong race and finished fourth from a seventh place start on the grid. Seth Neiman started the race, holding a good pace for 80 minute stint. "The No. 44 crew was on alert early in the race after Seth got bumped in the front by a prototype," added team manager and No. 44 strategist Eric Ingraham. "But luckily, the damage was superficial: Seth was able to continue for a long stint, turning the wheel over to Lonnie in P6."
Pechnik finished out the race on pace with the lead Porsches, moving to fourth position as the problems mounted for the other cars in the front of the GT2 pack.
"It was an excellent race for the No. 44 team," added Ingraham. "The pit stops were clean and the car was fast -- after some struggles earlier in the week to get to a solid setup, we are very happy with the outcome today. Thank you to the crew for seamless pit work once again."
With this win, the Lizards have extended their lead in the ALMS GT2 drivers' championship. The race will be broadcast on CBS Sports on Sunday, July 22 at 2 pm ET.
Up next for the team will be round eight of the 12-race ALMS season at Road America, August 11.