Varied pit strategies - all aimed at finishing first - yielded five different GT leaders during the ALMS Grand Prix of Portland, but polesitter Romain Dumas and co-driver Marc Lieb, driving ...
Varied pit strategies - all aimed at finishing first - yielded five different GT leaders during the ALMS Grand Prix of Portland, but polesitter Romain Dumas and co-driver Marc Lieb, driving #24 Alex Job Racing McKenna mail2web.com Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, ended up with the speed, the tires and the fuel necessary to score their first win of the season, and tighten up the GT championship point standings-
Portland, Ore. - July 25 - Romain Dumas, from Ales, France, who told the media yesterday that three straight pole positions meant nothing if he didn't win a race, was not disappointed today as he and German co-driver Marc Lieb captured their first American Le Mans Series GT win of the season in the #24 Alex Job Racing McKenna mail2web.com Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
The race started in a slam-bang fashion as David Murry in the Petersen/White Lightning Porsche and the Jorg Bergmeister in the Alex Job Porsche came together, causing rear-end damage to the Bergmeister/Bernhard car, including an horsepower- robbing bent exhaust. The team contemplated a pit stop, but decided there was nothing they could do and waited until the first yellow flag.
That came for oil on the track at the 36-minute mark, and led to a flurry of pit stops, including the Alex Job Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister/Timo Bernhard, the Dumas/Lieb Porsche, and the class leading Lucas Luhr BAM! YES Network Porsche, which has passed Dumas earlier to take first position. It looked like a good move to come in for tires and fuel - or at least for fuel - but the Murry/Stanton Porsche and the Flying Lizards Motorsports Porsche of Johannes van Overbeek/Darren Law stayed out, hoping for a better opportunity to pit at a later time. For van Overbeek/Law, who had started last because of a late-morning engine change that made them late for the grid, this last- to-second place dash was a good story all by itself.
The Racer's Group Porsche piloted by Patrick Long and Cort Wagner also came in, but did not shut their car off before they started to refuel, causing a stop-and-go penalty that might have cost them a podium finish.
Murry then led the race until the one hour, 20 minute mark, when the car pitted under the green flag, and Craig Stanton climbed in the car. Van Overbeek took over the lead at that point, and let the race until his pit stop a one hour, 30 minutes, when Darren Law took the wheel - also under green. These stops opened the door for the Patrick Long/Cort Wagner Porsche, which took the lead, but another scheduled pit stop, plus the time they lost from the previous pit stop and penalty, meant they could not hold the lead for long.
Meanwhile, Dumas, who got back in the car at the 1:45 mark after the team's last pit stop, was moving back up through the field, first passing Law, who was in second place, and then Stanton who was in first. Stanton, with his tires losing grip, tried to hold on to second place late in the race, but Law, with the fresher tires because of a later pit stop, passed him with 20 minutes remaining for second place. Dumas, whose only other ALMS win came in an Alex Job Porsche last year at Road Atlanta, went on to a 21-second win, with Stanton finishing third. For co-driver Lieb, it was his first ALMS victory.
Bernhard/Bergmeister finished fourth despite their body damage, and Long/Wagner were fifth. The second Flying Lizard Porsche of Lonnie Pechnik/Seth Neiman was sixth, while the Justin Jackson/Tim Sugden J3 Racing Porsche was seventh.
Van Overbeek/Law now have 84 points towards the GT championship, with Tim Bernhard earning 73 points, Dumas/Lieb 72, Stanton/Murry 55, and Jorg Bermeister 47.