LONG/ROCKENFELLER LEAD ONE-TWO PORSCHE-POWERED DAYTONA PROTOTYPE FINISH AT GRAND PRIX OF MIAMI MIAMI - March 25, 2006 - Patrick Long, of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Mike Rockenfeller, the German-born driver now living in Monaco, lost the lead several...
LONG/ROCKENFELLER LEAD ONE-TWO PORSCHE-POWERED DAYTONA PROTOTYPE FINISH AT GRAND PRIX OF MIAMI
MIAMI - March 25, 2006 - Patrick Long, of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Mike Rockenfeller, the German-born driver now living in Monaco, lost the lead several times after starting the Grand Prix of Miami from the pole, but piloted their Alex Job Racing/Emory Motorsports Porsche Crawford to 4.89-second victory here Saturday night.
Second was the Porsche Crawford of Christian Fittipaldi of Brazil and Lucas Luhr, another German-born driver living in Monaco. Luhr, a late substitute for team owner Eddie Cheever, Jr., who was too busy with Sunday's IRL race to drive this weekend, passed defending Rolex Grand-Am champion Scott Pruett on the white flag lap to finish second. It was the first one-two finish for Porsche in Daytona Prototypes since the inception of the series, and Porsche's first win since 2003.
Rockenfeller, who put the car on the pole, was waiting for the green flag at the start of the race when Fittipaldi raced by him into the lead. When there was no penalty forthcoming, Rockenfeller started working on catching the Cheever entry, and passed Christian on lap #16, quickly opening up a four-second lead.
"This makes up for the disappointment of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, where we were also the fastest car, but could not bring it home to victory. The 10th and M Seafoods Alaska crew, led by Alex Job, prepared this car well, and gave us a good race strategy, and Patrick and I were able to do our job to bring the car home in the lead," said Rockenfeller.
During the race's first full-course yellow, Rockenfeller brought the Porsche Crawford into the pits, and Patrick Long got in the car, but they lost the lead as several cars did not pit. Patrick took the lead back on lap #46 of the #107-lap event, and drove it in front until lap #70, when Rockenfeller got back in the car. Because of the pit stop, however, the car had fallen back to 10th place, and Rockenfeller, in a remarkable stint, pass the entire field - one at a time - under green flag to regain the lead in 19 laps, and held that lead until the end.
Luhr, who took over from Fittipaldi, found himself in third place - right behind Scott Pruett - 20 laps to go, and got by Pruett on lap #96, but Scott re-passed Lucas on the re- start after a yellow flag on lap #99, setting up the dramatic white flag lap pass for the final second place finish.
Other Porsche-powered Prototype finishers included the new Porsche Riley of Charles and Robert Mogan (9th), the Red Bull/Brumos Porsche Fabcar of Darren Law and David Donohue (10th), and their team Brumos Porsche Fabcar driven by Hurley Haywood and Roberto Moreno (12th). The GlycoMax Synergy Racing Porsche Doran of Brian and Burt Frisselle, which ran in the top five early, finished 41st after retiring with an overheating problem.
In the GT class, Porsches started in the top three positions, but the leading Tafel Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry of Wolf Henzler/Robin Liddell, which led most of the event, was held up by a lapped Pontiac GT entry, allowing both the Collins/Edwards Pontiac and the Trembley/Haskell Mazda to get by them. Henzler/Liddell ended up third, five seconds behind the leaders.