MIXED RESULTS IN DETROIT KEEP PORSCHE CHASSIS, ENGINE IN FRONT IN ALMS POINTS; FLYING LIZARD GT2 PORSCHES ONE-TWO; RS SPYDERS OFF THE PODIUM FOR FIRST TIME ATLANTA - August 30 - In what has turned out to be the hardest-fought two ...
MIXED RESULTS IN DETROIT KEEP PORSCHE CHASSIS, ENGINE IN FRONT IN ALMS POINTS; FLYING LIZARD GT2 PORSCHES ONE-TWO; RS SPYDERS OFF THE PODIUM FOR FIRST TIME
ATLANTA - August 30 - In what has turned out to be the hardest-fought two class championship points battles in the history of the American Le Mans Series, Porsche cars and drivers edged closer to the GT2 championship with the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs finishing first and second in class, while an Acura win in LMP2 gives them a four point lead in the manufacturers championship while Porsche drivers maintain a slight lead in drivers points after today's Detroit Sports Car Challenge Presented by Bosch.
In the LMP2 class for prototypes, points leaders and defending champions Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) positioned themselves well for a class victory with good pit strategy and fast lap times when a controversial, late race penalty for avoidable contact cost the #7 Penske Porsche RS Spyder car not only a victory, but a spot on the podium.
"We were running second with a good chance to pass the leading Acura when a GT2 car moved into the path of Timo's car as he was trying to position himself for a pass," said Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing.
"Unfortunately, the final results of the race were decided by the officials, not on the track. The fans, the other competitors, and manufacturers would have preferred to see the finishing order decided by the racers, not the officials," said Cindric.
With 55 points left to be earned at the last two races, Bernhard/Dumas, who ended up fourth in LMP2, lead the Brabham/Sharp Acura drivers by four points, 159-155. With the top three position in the class in today's race, Acura now leads Porsche 170 - 166. In team points, the Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder team leads the Patron Highcroft Acura team 166-155.
The Patrick Long/Ryan Briscoe #6 Penske Porsche RS Spyder finished fifth in LMP2, while the Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder of Chris Dyson/Guy Smith was sixth and the Dyson team Porsche of Marino Franchitti/Butch Leitzinger eighth.
For the thousands of Porsche owners, including a sold-out special Porsche parking area (the Porscheplatz), the results for the Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs in the GT2 class provided a much happier outcome.
The class points leaders Wolf Henzler and Joerg Bergmeister (both from Germany) scored their fourth win of the season in their #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Henzler, who started the race from the pole, led the first part of the race before turning the car over to Bergmeister, and only felt competition from the Flying Lizard teammates as the the Sonoma, California-based team finished the race first, second and fourth in class.
The Johannes van Overbeek/Patrick Pilet #46 Flying Lizard Porsche was second in class, and the #44 Lonnie Pechnik/Martin Ragginger Flying Lizard Porsche was fourth. For Ragginger, the UPS Porsche Junior driver from Austria, it was his first American Le Mans Series race.
"It was a very tight race at the beginning, with two of our cars and the two leading Ferraris nose-to-tail around the track. But then our main rival, the Tafel Farnbacher/Mueller Ferrari, broke a starter motor in the pits, and the Melo/Salo Ferrari had trouble with a door that wouldn't latch, and all of a sudden, the three Lizard Porsches were in the lead. Also, with an early fuel stop strategy, we were able to maintain our lead late in the race because we didn't need a full tank of fuel on the second stop," said Henzler.
With the Tafel car finishing ninth, Henzler/Bergmeister now lead the Ferrari drivers in the GT2 class by 27 points, 155 - 128. Porsche leads Ferrari in the manufacturers chase 176 - 160, while the Flying Lizard Motorsports team leads Tafel Racing 172 - 137.
When asked what his favorite part of the Detroit street circuit was, Henzler replied that he liked the start-finish line the best, especially when the checkered flag flew.