Flying Lizard No. 45 Wins GT at Mosport, No. 44 9th; Lizards Lead in GT Drivers, Team and Manufacturer Championships August 29, 2010 -- Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada -- Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long took their fourth win of the season today...
Flying Lizard No. 45 Wins GT at Mosport, No. 44 9th; Lizards Lead in GT Drivers, Team and Manufacturer Championships
August 29, 2010 -- Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada -- Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long took their fourth win of the season today at the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport, extending their lead in the GT drivers' championship to 22 points. This is the team's first win ever at Mosport. In the No. 44, Darren Law and Seth Neiman finished ninth. This win puts the Lizards back in the lead in the GT team championship and Porsche in the lead in the GT manufacturers' title.
The eventful race came to a dramatic end with a major on-track incident involving a GTC Porsche, which destroyed the racecar and severely damaged a safety barrier. (The driver walked away from the accident with reportedly minor injuries.) Officials red-flagged the race to evaluate the damage to the barrier, ordering the cars into the pits and stopping the clock. 30 minutes later, the officials declared race end, displaying the checkered after a final parade lap. The No. 45, which had led much of the race, was in the lead at the time of the red flag and took the win. The No. 62 Risi Ferrari was second and the No. 92 Rahal Letterman Racing BMW third.
It was a clean start to the planned 2 hour and 45 minute race. In the No. 45, Patrick Long started from the pole, with the No. 92 Rahal Letterman Racing BMW in second, the No. 4 Corvette in third and the No. 01 Extreme Ferrari in fourth. The No. 44 started eleventh. The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari started twelfth. Patrick held the GT lead over his entire stint, and as the GT field sorted itself out, the No. 4 Corvette, which got by the No. 92 BMW on the start, stayed close behind, putting pressure on him but unable to get by. Over the first hour, the No. 62, with Toni Vilander behind the wheel (filling in for Jaime Melo) made his way through the pack to third. The three GT leaders (the No. 45, No. 62 and No. 92) stayed close together until the No. 92 made an early pit stop under green.
Just past the one-hour mark, Long, in the lead, pitted for driver change to Joerg Bergmeister, tires, and fuel. The No. 62 also pitted at the same time, but Joerg was able to maintain his position, edging the No. 62 out as they both exited the pits together. The No. 92, which had pitted earlier, did not pit and now took the GT lead.
Ten minutes into Joerg's stint, the first of a cascade of incidents began, one of which took the No. 90 BMW of Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller out of the race. After one more round of pit stops, the top three GT cars were all still on the lead lap - No. 92 in the lead, the No. 45 second and the No. 62 third -with the rest of the field now one lap down.
Over the next 45 minutes, with the No. 62 right on his heels, Joerg fought to reel in the No. 92 BMW. Joerg described the end of his stint: "It took quite a while to get by the BMW even though they were on older tires, every time I got close, I picked up a lot of understeer. I was finally able to get by him, getting better traction on the last turn and getting an advantage to the inside. The No. 62 followed me through and I was just settling down to defend the lead for last part of my stint when the last yellow fell."
The officials red-flagged the race with 30 minutes to go. Joerg was in the lead, the No. 62 second, and the No. 92 third. Bergmeister continued, "The crew did another great job on pit stops today. On our final stop, we took four tires and fuel, but I was able to get out again ahead of [Gianmaria] Bruni. There were several times that he had a good run on me in the long straights and got next to me on the outside, but I was able to stay ahead and once I had clean air, I was able to pull away a bit and stay ahead."
Long described his stint: "The start was wild: there was oil dry all down the front straight to Turn 1 and it made visibility tough. Starting just behind the LMPC cars was challenging: you have to decide if you'll race with them and pass them while they are getting up to speed, or stay behind them until their tires come up. It was a coordinated back and forth through intense traffic. The traffic definitely added a very strategic element to the race that we don't see on some of the longer circuits. It's now down to one final race for the championship - we have the lead but we have to finish that final race and keep pushing to take every point we can."
In the No. 44, Seth Neiman and Darren Law finished ninth. Neiman turned the wheel over to Law in tenth after an uneventful 1 hour and 15 minute stint. Law commented, "It ended up being a shorter run that I had expected with the red flag. We had a good car and we were in a position on the final yellow with sticker tires and enough fuel to finish the race. It was unfortunate that the race ended when it did - I had hoped that I would be able to make up a few more positions and see what we could have done with the racecar."
Up next for the Lizards is the final race of the 2010 ALMS season - Petit Le Mans, at Road Atlanta, Oct 2. There are 30 points possible remaining in the championship for first place at Petit Le Mans.