Lizard Porsche Takes Fifth in ALMS GT in Utah, Loses Driver Points Lead to Ferrari and Porsche Now Third in Manufacturers Chase; RS Spyder Scores Podium Finish Tooele, UT - July 11 - In the rough and tumble chase for the American Le Mans ...
Lizard Porsche Takes Fifth in ALMS GT in Utah, Loses Driver Points Lead to Ferrari and Porsche Now Third in Manufacturers Chase; RS Spyder Scores Podium Finish
Tooele, UT - July 11 - In the rough and tumble chase for the American Le Mans Series drivers and manufacturers GT class championship, the apple cart was turned upside down today by subtle, but results-altering incidents at the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park Sunday.
The Patrick Long (USA)/Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, which started fourth on the grid, looked like they were destined for a podium finish to retain their class points lead when the car suffered a puncture in its left rear tire and had to come in for a green flag pit stop with only 45 minutes remaining in the race. Long, who had moved into third place, and was challenging the Auberlen/Milner BMW for second, had to dive into the pits, and fell back to fifth place, where they finished to earn eight points.
The winning Melo/Bruni Ferrari won the class, however, and now leads the Lizard pair by two points, and BMW, with its second-place finish, has a one-point lead over Ferrari in the manufacturers standings with Porsche three points out of first.
"Our car was quick today, and we didn't have the fastest car in class all weekend, but we were still in line for a podium finish if it hadn't been for our two tire punctures -one during my stint and one during Patrick's session. Our crew did a great job keeping us in contention, and the points are so close that a position or two improvement at the next race will bring us back into the lead - and there are five races to go," said Bergmeister, who has won the GT driver's title the last two years with Flying Lizard Motorsports.
Patrick Long agreed, and emphasized the Lizard pit work to get them their eight points.
"Lightning struck twice and it was a rough day. But the Lizard strategy and pit stops were phenomenal. We had twice as many pit stops as some of our competitors and still finished in the top five," said Long.
The second Flying Lizard Porsche, with Darren Law and Seth Neiman (both USA) at the helm, finished 11th in GT.
Wolf Henzler (Germany), who co-drove the Team Falken Tire Porsche with Bryan Sellers (USA), finished ninth in GT after the team spent more than 12 hours rebuilding the back two- thirds of the car, including the engine, suspension, brake lines, electronics - everything you could think of - after a fire during the first practice session yesterday ruined their chance to set up the car and qualify.
"We started at the back of the pack, and had to use the race itself for the set-up work we would usually do on practice and qualifying days. We made two adjustments to the car during Bryan's stint, and then another one during my stint, and that took us from two seconds slower than our competition to less than one second behind, but in this class, that ruins your chances for a podium finish. The Falken Tires crew, with help from Porsche Motorsport North America engineers, really came together to make this finish possible," said Henzler.
In the overall LMP prototype class, the Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder continued its string of podium finishes - now up to nine since the car's debut at Mid-Ohio last year, as Klaus Graf (Germany) and car owner Greg Pickett (USA) finished third to maintain second place in the class points.
"It was a great day with another podium but it was a tough race because this is a hard place in an LMP car, it's very physical. I spent the last two hours in the car and the track was green - no yellow flags - nearly all the way," said Graf.
"We didn't change the tires on our last pit stop which was the right decision. The Michelin tires once again performed extremely well. We have such great partners with Porsche and Michelin - we couldn't ask for more," he said.
The GT Challenge class provided the closest competition of the weekend, with four different teams taking the class lead before the Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup scored its second straight win with Tim Pappas (USA) and Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) at the helm. Although the Juan Gonzales (Mexico)/Butch Leitzinger (USA) Mission Foods Porsche maintained its points lead, and came across the finish line second, the car was excluded from the results as it violated the minimum ride height rules. This, the TRG Porsche of Henri Richard/Andy Lally moved up to second, and the Robert Rodriquez/Galen Bieker Porsche was third.
Fastest race lap in GTC belonged to the Miller Racing Porsche of Luke Hines and Bryce Miller, who both set the fastest race lap during their stints, with Bryce's lap holding up as the fastest of the day in GTC. The team scored its third-straight fifth place finish, losing time due to a pit violation penalty and a fuel pick-up problem.
-source: porsche motorsport