AJR Wins GT at Infineon Sonoma, Calif.-- Alex Job Racing was awarded the victory at Infineon following a pit road violation by the thought to be victorious Flying Lizard team. Upon review by the IMSA officials, the first round of pit stops saw...
AJR Wins GT at Infineon
Sonoma, Calif.-- Alex Job Racing was awarded the victory at Infineon following a pit road violation by the thought to be victorious Flying Lizard team. Upon review by the IMSA officials, the first round of pit stops saw the Lizard Porsche drive through the pits without stopping, which is a violation of the ACO code 18.10. A post race penalty was given of 42-seconds which put the Lizard car in second, just four seconds ahead of the third place AJR car.
Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard started the AJR cars from the front row in the GT field. Bernhard passed his teammate to take over the lead on lap 18 and then three laps later Dumas was hit in turn 11 by the third place Porsche and spun. This resulted in the 24 car falling off to fourth in the GT category.
On lap 22 the race witnessed its first caution period. The decision was made to pit the cars and complete a full service stop with driver changes. This is when the confusion ensued regarding the pit stop. When teammates Jorg Bergmeister and Marc Lieb returned to the race 45-seconds later, they thought they were scored as third and fifth one lap down to the recorded leader in GT which pretty much sealed the running order for the race.
The AJR cars ran untroubled and were turning the fastest lap times with Timo Bernhard having the fast lap of the race.
Timo Bernhard, #23 McKenna/mail2web.com/Alex Job Racing/Porsche 911 GT3 RSR: "It is great to get the win. Our car was the fastest on the track all day and they never passed us. I had a lot of confidence in the car, it ran and handled well. Jorg and I never really put a wheel wrong in the race and there isn't a scratch on the car. This really helps me get back up in the points since our poor result at Lime Rock."
Jorg Bergmeister, #23 McKenna/mail2web.com/Alex Job Racing/Porsche 911 GT3 RSR: "I had a lot of traffic during my stint as the field was mixed up after the yellow. I had big oversteer at the beginning and then the car came back to me. I was racing hard with the 67 car and had some interesting moments. I am happy to be awarded the win, but it would have been nice to have it happen on the track. It is good for Timo as I am supporting him for the championship."
Romain Dumas, #24 McKenna/mail2web.com/Alex Job Racing/Porsche 911 GT3 RSR: "I was leading for the first 18 laps and then got wide in seven and Timo got by. Then I was on my line going into eleven and got hit and spun around, I guess the guy just missed his braking point. It really didn't affect the hard parts on the car, but it did break the front splitter which made us lose some of the frontal grip in traffic making it tough to get a run on someone and pass. I don't understand the logic. I was never passed by that car on the track, I think Marc and I deserved second. "
Marc Lieb, #24 McKenna/mail2web.com/Alex Job Racing/Porsche 911 GT3 RSR: "I exited the pits behind Jorg and was faster in some sections, but he was fast in others so we were pretty much matching each others pace. It is tough to pass slower cars and with the spillter broken we had to pay a lot of attention to what we were doing. I am disappointed; we had the fastest cars today and did not win. As far as the penalty for the Lizard car, I never saw them pass us, it would have been nice to try and resolve this under green instead of after the chequred."
Alex Job, team owner: "Thanks to the IMSA officials who had the wisdom to right a wrong. We were winning the race in first and second. We thought we made a mistake at the yellow, when in fact the Lizard car just did a drive-thru which is a violation of the ACO rules. This is a further example of just how competitive the GT class is, strategy in the pits can put you down and it is almost impossible to come back, the competition is that good. We are still looking to the championship, but we have our work cut out for us in the remaining races."
The team leaves tonight for round five of the American Le Mans Series that will be run at Portland Raceway on July 25th.