Porsche Clinches ALMS GT Manufactures Title Bernhard/Bergmeister Score Fourth 2004 ALMA GT Win in Alex Job Porsche; Bernhard Takes Over Points Lead as Lizards Finish Third --Timo Bernhard/Jorg Bergmeister drove their ...
Porsche Clinches ALMS GT Manufactures Title
Bernhard/Bergmeister Score Fourth 2004 ALMA GT Win in Alex Job Porsche; Bernhard Takes Over Points Lead as Lizards Finish Third
--Timo Bernhard/Jorg Bergmeister drove their # 23 Alex Job Racing McKenna mail2web.com Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to their fourth ALMS GT win of the season, with Bernhard taking the points lead from The Flying Lizard Porsche drivers Law/van Overbeek, who finished third. Porsches captured nine of the ten GT finishing positions, and Porsche has clinched the 2004 manufacturer's title.
ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin - August 22, 2004 - Jorg Bergmeister, from Langenfeld, Germany, and Timo Bernhard, from Miesau, Germany, driving the # 23 Alex Job Racing McKenna mail2web.com Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, drove from the GT class pole position to win the Road America 500 presented by the Chicago Tribune.
Porsche has clinched the 2004 American Le Mans Series manufacturer's championship for the fifth time in six years, besting Ferrari and Panoz.
Bernhard, who takes the points lead after seven events (he is ahead of Bergmeister as well because Jorg was sick and missed the Sebring event), thought he would cruise to an easy win when a yellow flag appeared with less than 45 minutes left to go in the race (due to a Viper incident).
"The Lizard Porsche, White Lightning Porsche and our car came into the pits under yellow, and we just barely beat the Lizards out to keep our position. On the re-start, we were side-by-side for nearly four turns until I slipped by two slower cars and van Overbeek couldn't get by them. I got some clear track, and built my lead back up," said Bernhard, who, with Bergmeister, have now won two of the three races he has entered at Road America.
The # 23 Alex Job Porsche has now won ALMS races at Sebring, Infineon Raceway (Sears Point), Mosport (two weeks ago) and Road America. The # 24 Alex Job Porsche, driven by Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas, was plagued by mechanical problems even though Dumas ended up with the fastest race lap in GT. First, the car broke a left rear control arm with Lieb at the helm, causing a lengthy pit stop, and then, with Dumas driving, the car lost its clutch, causing its final retirement and a tenth-place finish.
Second, for the second race in a row, was the # 31 Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Porsche with David Murry/Craig Stanton, which actually took the lead at turn one, but then lost eight positions with Murry was hit by the Viper. David worked his way back to fifth place after the first set of stops, but then that same Viper had the incident mentioned above at the two-hour mark, and Stanton made up the lap with a pace car wave-by, and was in the mix for the re-start. When Bernhard got by the slower cars, Stanton followed him past the Lizard Porsche, and earned the second position.
The # 45 Flying Lizard Porsche was third, and Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law have now finished on the podium in each of the seven ALMS events, but now trail Timo Bernhard by three points in the standings. Law/vasn Overbeek won the race at Mid-Ohio, but were moved from first to second place at Infineon Raceway due to a pit lane violation.
It seemed that the yellow flag at the two hour mark affected the entire GT field, and the # 66 The Racer's Group Porsche of Patrick Long/Cort Wagner was no exception. The car had come into the pits just five minutes before the yellow for its regular pit stop, thus losing a lap to field when the yellow flag appeared. Long/Wagner finished fourth in GT, one lap down to the leaders.
The Justin Jackson/Tim Sugden J3 Racing Porsche was fifth, with the second Lizard Porsche of Seth Neiman/Lonnie Pechnik sixth. Sascha Maassen, the two- time defending ALMS GT champion, co-drove with Leo Hindery in the BAM! YES Network Porsche, and had the car as high as second place during his stint, but the car ended up seventh in the final results.
The second The Racer's Group Porsche of Pierre Ehret/Philip Collin was eighth, while the Panoz Esperante of Jeannette/Saelens was ninth. As mentioned above, the Alex Job Porsche of Lieb/Dumas was tenth.
The next race for the American Le Mans Series is Petit Le Mans, a ten-hour event at Road Atlanta on Saturday, September 25. The season concludes with a four- hour event on Saturday, October 16, at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California.