DUMAS/BERNHARD RETURN FAVOR AS PORSCHE EDGES ACURA FOR FOURTH ALMS LMP2 VICTORY; PACE CAR POSITION SINKS PORSCHE GT2 TEAMS AS THEY LOSE LAP TO THE WINNING FERRARI --Number seven Penske Porsche RS Spyder wins with new direct-injection 3.4-liter...
DUMAS/BERNHARD RETURN FAVOR AS PORSCHE EDGES ACURA FOR FOURTH ALMS LMP2 VICTORY; PACE CAR POSITION SINKS PORSCHE GT2 TEAMS AS THEY LOSE LAP TO THE WINNING FERRARI
--Number seven Penske Porsche RS Spyder wins with new direct-injection 3.4-liter V-8 engine--
LEXINGTON, Ohio - July 19 - Last week, it was the Brabham/Sharp Acura that ran down the #7 Penske Porsche RS Spyder with 90 seconds left to score a victory at Lime Rock Park, but the roles were reversed today in the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course as Romain Dumas (France) held off Brabham to score the Porsche tandem's fourth win in six American Le Mans Series races and extend their LMP2 driver points lead to 28.
Dumas, who felt constant pressure from Brabham for the last 30 minutes of the race, could pull away from the Acura when he had an open track, but was slowed traffic around the course, cutting his lead to less than a second several times before the end. The final margin of the LMP2 victory for the Porsche was six-tenths of a second. The two Audi R-10 TDI diesels finished first and second overall and won the LMP1 class.
"These races with the Acura have been very tight since the beginning of the year," said Dumas, who, with Timo Bernhard (Germany), has won the LMP2 class for the third year in a row. The pair also won the LMP2 championship with their Penske Porsche RS Spyders in 2007, including eight overall wins in 11 races and class podium finishes in every event.
"We started the race several positions back from the leaders, but never gave, and worked our way to the front. The Penske crew pulled off a great pit stop near the end to give us the lead, and we ran well to the end," said Dumas.
The exciting event will be telecast on a delayed basis on NBC-TV at noon EDT on Sunday, July 20. This is a recent change announced earlier in the week by NBC, which will also extend its usual two-hour broadcast to two hours, 30 minutes.
This was also the first event that both the Dumas/Bernhard RS Spyder, along with the Sascha Maassen (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) number six Penske Porsche RS Spyder, used the newly-developed direct-injection 3.4 liter, V-8 race motor. The main feature of direct injection is that the power has gone up, and the fuel consumption has gone down - an important element of endurance racing. This technology, already introduced on Porsche street vehicles including the Porsche 911 and the Porsche Cayenne, is the first direct injection motor ever developed that can rev to more than 10,000 rpms. Horsepower goes from 476 to 503 (370 kw) at more than 10,000 rpm. Torque improves from 370 nm (273 ft. lbs) @ 7500 rpm to 385 (284 ft. lbs) nm @8500 rpm. The engine was developed in conjunction with the Porsche 911 and Porsche Cayenne direct injection technology
The other three Porsche RS Spyders finished fourth, fifth, and sixth in class, with the #6 Penske Porsche of Maassen/Long running as high as second in class late in the race, but traffic entanglements allowed two Acuras to get by them and they had to settle for fourth place. The #16 Dyson Racing Porsche of Guy Smith (England) and Chris Dyson (USA) was fifth in LMP2, while #20 Dyson Porsche of Marino Franchitti (Scotland) and Butch Leitzinger (USA), which had lost a lap to the field earlier in the event, stormed back to regain its lap and finish sixth. The six top LMP2 finishers were on the overall lead lap.
Porsche leads Acura by 17 points in the LMP2 manufacturer's contest.
In the GT2 class for production-based sports cars, Dirk Werner (Germany), sharing the #87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR with Richard Westbrook (England), held the early lead after passing the Melo/Salo Ferrari, but a long pit stop caused them to lose a lap to the GT2 field, and they ended up fourth.
The Flying Lizard Porsches also lost a lap to the winning Mueller/Farnbacher Ferrari when the pace car passed them while they were in the pits during a yellow flag. The #46 Lizard Porsche, driven by Patrick Pilet (France) and Johannes van Overbeek (USA), finished second - their third time they have scored a second-place finish, while the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche, driven by Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) was third. Henzler and Bergmeister still lead the GT2 class driver points, but their lead was cut to four.
The #18 VICI Racing Porsche driven by Nicky and Francesco Pastorelli (both The Netherlands) finished ninth in class, while the Flying Lizard Porsche of Seth Neiman and Lonnie Pechnik (both USA) did not finish due to transmission woes.
Porsche leads Ferrari by nine points in the GT2manufacturers chase.