BERNHARD, DUMAS HOPE TO EXTEND WINNING STREAK AT INFINEON Braselton, Ga. - After a rough start to the season, Alex Job Racing teammates Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas have gotten back on track in a big way. The duo has driven their No. 23 AJR...
BERNHARD, DUMAS HOPE TO EXTEND WINNING STREAK AT INFINEON
Braselton, Ga. - After a rough start to the season, Alex Job Racing teammates Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas have gotten back on track in a big way. The duo has driven their No. 23 AJR Porsche to victory in the last two American Le Mans Series rounds, plus a second-place class finish at Road Atlanta in April.
That has somewhat removed the sting of a DNF at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the season opener for the ALMS. Bernhard and Dumas are looking to continue their winning ways at the Infineon Technologies Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Ravenswood Winery, Round 5 of the ALMS, this weekend at Infineon Raceway.
"We just had some very bad luck at Sebring," Bernhard said. "The Porsche 911 format is so proven that engine problems are very rare. We just hit a bad one in Florida. With that said, it was probably the worst race in which to have a DNF. At Sebring, because of the length of the race, it pays additional points."
At the end of the season, that could prove to be the difference. Bernhard and Dumas are tied for third in the ALMS' GT2 drivers championship standings, 15 points behind co-leaders Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister of Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing. Long and Bergmeister, along with Lucas Luhr, won at Sebring and have finished on the podium in each of the ALMS' three other rounds this year. That has put Bernhard and Dumas in the position of trying to play catch-up.
"We have to have Petersen have a DNF to be able pass them in the point standings," Bernhard said. "If they keep going the way they are finishing second and third we may not be able to get by them. They have a very competitive car, and Patrick and Jorg are top drivers."
"Romain and I go into every race expecting to win," Bernhard added. "Alex Job and the crew give us all of the tools and attention we need to do that. The rest is up to us. We are coming into the part of the schedule filled with races either Romain or I won at last year. We plan on making it as tough as possible on Jorg and Patrick."
WELCOME BACK: The Infineon round of the ALMS marks the return of the No. 12 Autocon Motorsports Riley & Scott to the ALMS. Bryan Willman and Michael Lewis are entered in this weekend's race, as well as the Portland Grand Prix at the end of the month.
Willman and Lewis, along with Tomy Drissi, finished fifth in LMP1 at Sebring after mechanical problems forced the car's retirement after 202 laps. The ALMS' two summer West Coast races are good fits for Willman (from Washington State) and Lewis (from San Diego).
TOGETHER AGAIN: Clint Field and Liz Halliday will join forces for the second time this season as they split time in the No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola B05/40. The two young American drivers teamed with Gareth Ridpath at Sebring in Intersport's No. 30 Lola.
Field already has won in the No. 37 entry, partnering with father Jon for an LMP2 victory at the Grand Prix of Atlanta. Halliday drove the car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
"I had a great time with the Intersport team in Le Mans and I really enjoyed driving the new Lola," Halliday said. "The car is fantastic, and it has a lot of potential. Had we not had an engine problem in the middle of the night, we could definitely have finished in the top 10 overall and won the LMP2 class by miles. After the race, I felt that I had unfinished business in prototypes this year, and I wanted to do more races as soon as I had time in my busy schedule. I have never raced at the Infineon Raceway and I look forward to driving an LMP2 car there."
AROUND THE PADDOCK: Champion Racing's JJ Lehto and Frank Biela successfully completed their cross-country motorcycle ride from Lime Rock to Infineon. They pulled into San Francisco on Tuesday evening. "It was a good trip," Lehto said. "We had to ride a lot of miles a day and didn't get a chance to stop at many places. But we took a lot of pictures." . Four different manufacturers have won overall races at Infineon: Audi (2000-01, 2004), BMW (1999) Panoz (2002) and Lola (2004). . Rinaldo Capello is the only driver to win two overall Infineon titles in row (2000-01) with Audi. . In the six-year history of the Grand Prix of Sonoma, 19 different drivers have won class poles: Marco Werner, Clint Field, Oliver Gavin (2), Dumas, Frank Biela, Butch Leitzinger, Jorg Bergmeister, Tom Kristensen, Jon Field, Ron Fellows, Kevin Buckler, Capello, John Graham, Terry Borcheller, Dirk Muller (3), Allan McNish, Karl Wendlinger, JJ Lehto and Oliver Beretta. . No GT2 driver has won from the class pole at Infineon since Muller in 2000. In each of the seven years, with the exception of 2002, prototype pole-sitters went on to record class victories.
The Infineon Technologies Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Ravenswood Winery, is set for 11 a.m. PDT Sunday at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. CBS Sports will have television coverage from 3 to 5 p.m. EDT. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing and Scoring can be found at www.americanlemans.com. Testing is scheduled from 12:15 to 2:15 p.m. PDT on Friday, with practice sessions from 10 to 11 a.m. and 2:05 to 3:05 p.m. Saturday. Qualifying is scheduled from 3:15 to 4 p.m. Saturday.