Flying Lizard No. 45 4th and No. 44 7th at Mid-Ohio; No. 45 Takes Michelin GreenX Challenge August 7, 2010 -- Lexington, Ohio -- At Mid-Ohio today, the Lizards pushed through to a fourth and seventh place finish in the toughest GT field to date.
Flying Lizard No. 45 4th and No. 44 7th at Mid-Ohio; No. 45 Takes Michelin GreenX Challenge
August 7, 2010 -- Lexington, Ohio -- At Mid-Ohio today, the Lizards pushed through to a fourth and seventh place finish in the toughest GT field to date. In addition, the No. 45 won the Michelin GreenX Challenge in GT today as the racecar performing with the lowest environmental impact. A podium finish was not in the cards for the team, but both the No. 45 and the No. 44 had a completely problem-free race, starting from 8th and 13th on the grid, respectively. The No. 62 Risi Ferrari took the win, with the No. 4 Corvette in P2 and No. 92 BMW P3.
Patrick Long, who started the race in the No. 45, commented, "After a tough qualifying session, we set out to stay within our plan. We knew that just maintaining track position here was going to be tough. We methodically worked our way through as others made mistakes on track. We were able to capitalize on our pitwork again this race- these guys set the bar in the GT class - to finish 4th, and in the end, Joerg and I retained the drivers' championship lead. We know we'll have to fight for it every remaining race, down to the wire."
For the 2 hour and 45 minute race, the sixth of the nine-race ALMS season, Long started in the No. 45 and Seth Neiman started in the No. 44. After a clean race start, Long moved quickly to P7 as the GT leaders split into two groups - with the No. 62 and No. 61 Risi Ferraris in P1 and P2, the No. 4 and No. 3 Corvettes in P3 and P4 and the No. 90 and No. 92 BMW in P5 and P6.
Nearing the one hour mark, with Patrick still P7, the GT leaders had spread out - but with the top nine cars all still on the same lead lap. The first yellow of the race sent most of the GT field into the pits for their first pit stops. The No. 45 and No. 44 both pitted under yellow; Joerg Bergmeister took the wheel of the No 45 (back out in P6) and Patrick Pilet the No. 44 (back out in P10)
Over the next two hours--several yellows and one final pit stop for tires and fuel- - both Bergmeister and Pilet moved steadily up the field as the GT lead pack continuously shuffled positions. With 15 minutes to go, at the restart of the final yellow of the race, Bergmeister had climbed to P4 and Pilet to P7. With the No. 62 Risi Ferrari in the lead, the No. 4 Corvette in P2 and the No. 92 BMW in P3, Bergmeister could not find an opportunity to pass and had to settle for fourth. Pilet finished seventh.
No. 44 Car Chief Sam White added, "It was a great team effort to move from thirteenth to seventh in such a tough field. At the end of the race, the No. 44 crew pulled off a perfect pit stop that put us back on the lead lap, and Patrick was running the fastest car in GT."
Patrick Pilet, who joined the Lizards for Mid-Ohio commented, "Seth did an excellent job in the first part of the race and we had a perfect racecar today. I pushed during my whole stint, the tires were excellent and I just drove as fast as possible to catch the GT pack. We got a waveby on the second to last yellow, which put us back on the lead lap, but unfortunately, 20 minutes before the end, the leader overtook and 30 seconds later we had another yellow, so that eliminated my chance to catch any more GT cars. It's always a pleasure to drive with Seth and the Lizards - thanks to the crew for making this weekend such a great experience."
With the fourth-place finish today, Bergmeister and Long still retain an eight- point lead in the ALMS GT drivers' championship and the team is now third in team standings.