BERNHARD/DUMAS MOVE CLOSER TO ALMS GT2 POINTS LEAD WITH THIRD CONSECUTIVE WIN; PETERSEN/WHITE LIGHTNING PORSCHE IS SECOND AND BAM! PORSCHE THIRD IN SONOMA HEAT Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas moved to within 11 points of the American Le Mans Series...
BERNHARD/DUMAS MOVE CLOSER TO ALMS GT2 POINTS LEAD WITH THIRD CONSECUTIVE WIN; PETERSEN/WHITE LIGHTNING PORSCHE IS SECOND AND BAM! PORSCHE THIRD IN SONOMA HEAT
Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas moved to within 11 points of the American Le Mans Series GT2 class lead with their third straight win - a flag-to-flag victory in the #23 Alex Job Racing Hyatt Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Jorg Bergmeister/Patrick Long finished second in the #31Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Porsche while the Wolf Henzler/Mike Rockenfeller BAM! Porsche was third--
SONOMA, Calif. - July 17 - Timo Bernhard took the GT2 class lead from the pole position right at the green flag, and then took advantage of an early problem suffered by Jorg Bergmeister in the rival Porsche to score a one lap victory at today's Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway.
Bernhard and co-driver Romain Dumas completed the two hour, 45-minute event with only one pit stop/driver change in their #23 Alex Job Racing Hyatt Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, and the early problem for the Jorg Bergmeister/Patrick Long #31 Petersen Motorsport/White Lightning Porsche turned a close contest into an easier run for the Alex Job drivers.
"Jorg was right on my tail at the start, and tried several times to get past me when the field was bunched together, but I shut the door on him," said Bernhard, who won this event last year as Jorg's co-driver in the same AJR Porsche.
"Then I looked back during the first yellow and he was gone, but I didn't know if he was still on the same lap, so I continued to push, building our lead. I thought that, between the tire wear and the expected yellow flags, we would have several pit stops, but it turned out to be a perfect race and we only had to stop once," said Bernhard, who said the mid-90's F temperatures were warm, but not unbearable.
The problem that Bergmeister suffered was a broken wheel and subsequent cut tire as a result of contact with a prototype. Although Jorg brought the car in under a lap three yellow flag, inspection to make sure there was no other damage, and the fact that no one else had to pit, put Bergmeister at the back of the pack. Although Bergmeister tore through the field and brought the car back into the top three, and Patrick Long passed Wolf Henzler in the BAM! Porsche for second with 20 minutes remaining, they just couldn't catch the Alex Job racer.
Another early battle between the BAM! Porsche and the #44 Flying Lizard Porsche, started by Lonnie Pecknik, had a good 20-lap battle for second place, but Mike Rockenfeller, driving the BAM! car, began to lose rear-end grip, and Pechnik got by him before the mid-race pit stops. Pechnik and co-driver Seth Neiman's luck ran out right after the pit stop when Seth noticed a wheel wobble during his first lap in the car, the result of a loose lug nut from the pit stop. He had to re-visit the pits, putting their car out of podium contention. The BAM! car came back to finish third; the Pechnik/Neiman's Lizard Porsche was seventh. The #45 Flying Lizard Porsche, driven by Johannes van Overbeek and Jon Fogarty, was fourth.
Bergmeister/Bernhard now have 87 points, while Bernhard/Dumas have 76 points and van Overbeek/Fogarty are third with 56 points (20 points are awarded for first place, 16 for second, and 13 for third).
The next event is scheduled for Saturday, July 30, at Portland International Raceway, at 8:00 PM EDT (telecast live on The Speed Channel).