PENSKE PORSCHE RS SPYDERS WIN MOSPORT LMP2 AND OVERALL; PENSKE RACING CLINCHES 2007 LMP2 TEAM CHAMPIONSHP After their last pit stop, team driver Romain Dumas (France), who started in the ...
PENSKE PORSCHE RS SPYDERS WIN MOSPORT LMP2 AND OVERALL; PENSKE RACING CLINCHES 2007 LMP2 TEAM CHAMPIONSHP
After their last pit stop, team driver Romain Dumas (France), who started in the #7 Penske RS Spyder, was packing his helmet to get ready for the next race, confident that co-driver Timo Bernhard (Germany) would bring the car in second overall and first in LMP2 for an important class win. And Ryan Briscoe (Australia) was finishing the race that Sascha Maassen (Germany) started in the #6 Penske RS Spyder, settling into a second place in LMP2 and third overall.
But, with five minutes to go, 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 was pass 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 that second-place finish that clinched the 2007 LMP2 team championship for Penske Racing -- the second year in a row they have won that honor. Team manager Jeff Swartwout is proud of the efforts of all aspects of the team operation.
"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 Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas, or Sascha Maassen and Ryan 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. 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," said Bernhard, who scored his fifth overall win this season with Dumas.
Briscoe, who drove the last part of the race, had to come in for an unscheduled pit stop with 30 minutes to go 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. But the Audi still had power on the straight-aways, 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," said Briscoe.
The Dyson Racing team moved into second place in the LMP2 team standings with fifth and seventh place finishes in LMP2. The Chris Dyson/Guy Smith Porsche RS Spyder, which ran as high as third, finished fifth, while the Butch Leitzinger/Andy Wallace RS Spyder finished seventh.
In GT2, the Jorg Bergmeister/Johannes van Overbeek Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, who were only four points behind the leading Ferrari drivers coming into the event, had a rough day, losing a lap to the pace car, and then incurring a disputed penalty from passing under the yellow flag. A fifth place finish left them 16 points behind in the championship with three events to go.
The top finishing Porsche in GT 2 car for the second week in a row was the Rahal Letterman Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, with Tom Milner, Jr./Ralf Kelleners finishing third.