Flying Lizard No. 45 Porsche Second at Road America, No. 44 Ninth; Bergmeister and Long Extend Championship Lead August 22, 2010 -- Elkhart Lake, Wisc. -- Fans at Road America experienced GT racing at its finest in a today's close race which ...
Flying Lizard No. 45 Porsche Second at Road America, No. 44 Ninth; Bergmeister and Long Extend Championship Lead
August 22, 2010 -- Elkhart Lake, Wisc. -- Fans at Road America experienced GT racing at its finest in a today's close race which saw three manufacturers to the podium: the No. 90 Rahal Letterman BMW took the win, the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche was second and the No. 4 Corvette finished third. The No. 44 Lizard Porsche of Seth Neiman and Darren Law finished ninth. It was a testament to the strength of the GT field that with less than 20 minutes left to go in the 2- hour and 45-minute race, ten GT cars were still on the lead lap, and the top five GT cars were still running within four seconds of one another.
The pressure on the Lizards started at the green flag and didn't let up until the checkered. In the No. 45, Joerg Bergmeister started fifth on the GT grid and Seth Neiman in the No. 44 started 13th. Thomas Blam, Flying Lizard chief strategist, described the exciting race, "In the No. 45, we were happy with our starting position: Road America is a challenging track for us. At the beginning of the race, we had some trouble keeping competitors behind us, but once the field had strung out, Joerg was able to work back up the field through the heavy traffic. Nearing the 90 minute mark, the No. 45, now in third, pitted under yellow. An unbelievably fast stop by the crew sent Patrick out in the provisional lead."
Blam continued, "Shortly after the driver change to Patrick, we got the final yellow of the race and all of the GT leaders came in for a final splash of fuel. Another lightning fast pit stop kept Patrick in the lead. Unfortunately, the No. 90 BMW was able to get a run on Patrick on the restart, but Patrick was able to keep him in sight for the rest of the race while fending off first the No. 62 and then both Corvettes, to finish second."
Long added, "This was absolutely one of the hardest hours of racing I've ever experienced. On the final restart, we were in the lead, and it was tough watching the BMW pass me on the outside as we got to start/finish. But I knew I had to keep my head down because I had [Jan] Magnussen, [Gianmaria] Bruni and [Oliver] Gavin behind me - three of the best road racers there are. From there, it was about holding them back while I tried to gain on the BMW. It was an hour of the craziest lines and raw, flat-out driving; we were running at such high speeds and we were all searching for inches of racetrack to try and advance. I've never been thrilled with second before but I guess there's always a first time for everything: we are all delighted with the result today."
In the No. 44, Seth Neiman started 13th on the grid, turning the wheel over to Darren Law 90 minutes later, now in fifth position. Law described his stint: "I had a competitive car until about halfway through my stint when I started to lose the balance. The front grip got worse and I had to be super conservative; in the end, we lost several positions, and had to settle for ninth. Seth did a great job in his first stint and Eric [Ingraham's] strategy helped keep us on the lead lap when I took over for my stint. With the crew's awesome pit stops, I thought we were in the hunt for a top five finish but we just didn't have the consistency to keep the pace we needed for the entire stint. "
With the second place finish today, Bergmeister and Long extend their driver's championship lead to 18 points (provisional results) over both Jaime Melo and Gianmaria Bruni of the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari and Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand of the No. 90 Rahal Letterman Racing BMW. The team is now in second place in the team championship points. There are 50 points possible remaining in the championship: 20 points for first place at Mosport (August 29) and 30 points possible at Petit Le Mans in October.