Patrick Long 4th in GT at Sebring Patrick Long, driving the ...
Patrick Long 4th in GT at Sebring
Patrick Long, driving the #45 Flying Lizard Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR with Jorg Bergmeister and Marc Lieb, finished 4th in the GT class at the 58th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring. A bizarre incident involving the errant wheel of the sister Porsche of Team Falken ruined the Lizards' chances at a podium finish when the team lost several laps in the pits.
Explaining the incident, Patrick said, "The Falken guys replaced their wheel once after it came off on track, and then the wheel came off a second time, and right at the split second that it happened, Jorg was passing. The wheel came off the Falken car at a sharp angle and while it looked like it was just a glancing blow, at that speed it just wiped our our wheel, tire and fender. It was a pretty routine flat tire for us, but when we came in, race control went yellow to clar up the tire on track, and by the rules, it meant that we couldn't work on the car until the pits were declared open. To rub salt in the wound, the pace car missed the leader the first time by, so we sat in the pits an extra lap."
The race proved to be as competitive as billed, with two Porsches, two Corvettes, two BMWs and two Ferraris battling nose-to-tail for the opening stints of the race. Corvette Racing made an uncharacteristic communications mistake which led to their two cars colliding in pit lane and causing substantial - though repairable - damage to both cars. Scott Sharp's new Extreme Speed Ferrari 430GTE had a spectacular nighttime fire down the long back straight, but prior to that, the new team showed potential.
Summarizing the race, Patrick added, "This year it was fourth for us. After making an entire lap up on the field together with the Risi car, it looked like it could be another battle to the end for the top step of the podium! A stray tire was the main factor in sending us to the pits, putting us out of contention. We finished fourth here last year and the season didn't end up too badly for us. For now I am taking comfort with that after having such a great car. It's about putting points on the board early in the season and getting into the swing. The bottom line is as hoped, expected and slightly feared: this is going to be a monster of a season in GT2. I predict some three-wide final laps for the win and plenty of highlight footage for the American Le Mans Series to capture and use to promote this wild series we call home."
-source: patrick long