BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (Aug. 26, 2007) -- After the team's last pit stop in Sunday's Mobil 1 presents the Mosport Grand Prix, France's Romain Dumas, who started the No. 7 Penske RS Spyder, was packing his helmet to get ready for the next...
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (Aug. 26, 2007) -- After the team's last pit stop in Sunday's Mobil 1 presents the Mosport Grand Prix, France's Romain Dumas, who started the No. 7 Penske RS Spyder, was packing his helmet to get ready for the next race, confident that co-driver Timo Bernhard of Germany would bring the car in second overall and first in LMP2 for an important Class win.
And Australia's Ryan Briscoe was finishing the race that Germany's Sascha Maassen started in the No. 6 Penske RS Spyder, settling into a second place in LMP2 and third overall.
But, with 5 minutes remaining, the overall race leader – the factory Audi R10 TDI - lost its ability to shift gears and Bernhard saw the margin for first place overall shrink from 29 seconds to 2.2 seconds in less than two laps. And he was very surprised when he passed the Audi to take the overall victory. Briscoe also passed the Audi, but had to back off on the last lap to conserve fuel, finishing second in Class and third overall for a one-two Porsche Class finish.
But it was the second-place finish that clinched the 2007 LMP2 team championship for Penske Racing – the second year in a row Penske has won the honor. Team manager Jeff Swartwout said he was proud of the team's overall efforts.
“For the guys who practice pit stops five days a week in the shop, the technicians, the drivers, the Porsche factory engineers, and all our employees and suppliers, Penske Racing places great importance in winning this championship against some of the best racing teams in the country,” Swartwout said.
The Penske Racing team and its Porsche drivers are also assured that the LMP2 driver champion will come from its ranks – either Bernhard and Dumas, or Maassen and Briscoe. Right now, Bernhard/Dumas lead Maassen/Briscoe, 170-149. The Acura drivers David Brabham and Stefan Johansson are third with 90 points, with only 69 points left to be earned for the season.
“I was so busy trying to pass slower traffic and maintain my position ahead of the Acuras and my Penske Porsche teammates for the LMP2 victory that I did not realize the Audi was having mechanical problems," said Bernhard, who scored his fifth overall win this season with Dumas. "I thought he had made a pit stop, and was having trouble getting back up to speed. It was only after I passed him and could not see him again in my mirrors that I heard on the radio that his car had trouble."
Briscoe, who drove the last part of the race, had to come in for an unscheduled pit stop with 30 minutes remaining to change a broken wheel rim, and thought he had lost all hope for a second place finish overall.
“I was concentrating on cementing the second place in LMP2 when I also came upon the Audi, and passed it," Briscoe said. "But the Audi still had power on the straightaways, and we were worried about fuel at the end of the race, so the team told me to back off to conserve the fuel and our one-two finish in Class."
Three races now remain in the season with the Labor Day weekend Detroit Grand Prix next on the agenda.