Watkins Glen: Porsche race report

Porsche Propels Donohue, Law to Second Place Brumos Teammates Run Strong To Post First Podium of 2008 Season WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - June 7 - The end result might not have been quite what Porsche, David Donohue, Darren Law or the Brumos Racing team...

Porsche Propels Donohue, Law to Second Place Brumos Teammates Run Strong To Post First Podium of 2008 Season

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - June 7 - The end result might not have been quite what Porsche, David Donohue, Darren Law or the Brumos Racing team had hoped for, but in finishing second in Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International, the talented American duo scored their first podium finish and best result of the season.

Donohue and Law piloted the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche-Riley to second behind Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in the seventh stop of the 2008 Rolex Grand Am Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16. Donohue, of Malvern, Pa., and Law, of Phoenix, Ariz., crossed the finish line 3.033 seconds behind the winners. The teammates also did their fair share of pacing the field, leading 59 of the race's 179 laps, in contrast to the 39 total laps led by the winning Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas Lexus-Riley.

"The car ran well all day—it was very balanced over the six hours," Donohue said afterward. "For us, this is a great result. We wanted to win for a lot of reasons. We have been deserving and knocking on the door for a win. For the way this season has been going, second place is a good result for us."

"Traffic was a little tough," added Law. "We seemed to always lose a little on the restarts, but it's still a good result. I was surprised I got loose even going up the hill. On the last restart Scott (Pruett) got a good jump and I just couldn't catch up to him. But the Brumos team did a great job and Porsche provided us an excellent engine." After two full-course yellows slowed the pace in the first 15 minutes, the race finally got going in earnest with Donohue leading the Porsche delegation in sixth position. The No. 58 Brumos car had moved into third at the start, but dropped a few spots while taking advantage of the caution period to pit for a splash of fuel and also to satisfy the 45-minute pit rule.

On Lap 18 and Donohue pushed the Porsche in front for the first time of the day, quickly putting distance between himself and Max Angelelli to build a 10-second lead. Alex Gurney passed for second place on Lap 26 and would reel in Donohue, making a pass the lead on Lap 37, early in the second hour.

The No. 59 Brumos team car of Daytona Beach's J.C. France continued to circulate at or near the top 10 during the first hour, but a broken throttle cable put the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Alex Job entry driven by Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Cal., down a lap at the very start of the race.

Team owner Alex Job had predicted the race would be a six-hour test for his team's new Porsche-Crawford that featured a new body and aero package. He nearly got his wish, but Auberlen was forced to retire the car with only a few minutes remaining in the race. On Lap 52, race leader Alex Gurney surrendered the lead to Law, who had taken over for Donohue on Lap 38. In the meantime, Portugal's Joao Barbosa, who was on the move, jumping from eighth to sixth in the No. 59 Brumos Porsche-Riley.

The leaders used a full-course caution late in the third hour to pit, and Donohue was now driving, but his stop was lengthy enough to drop him to 13th place. By the end of the hour, Donohue had moved up to ninth. Hurley Haywood, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., took over the No. 59 Brumos entry from Barbosa. Haywood, who is running a limited schedule this year, was making his first Grand Am start since the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

Slowly, Donohue began to climb up in the standings—reaching fifth by Lap 98 and back in the lead 10 laps later. Donohue increased a six-second lead over Mark Patterson to 13 seconds before the latter made a pit stop, which then gave him a whopping 33-second margin over Pruett.

However, that lead would be short-lived as Donohue came into the pits on Lap 115 and turned over the car to Law, who rejoined in sixth. At the end of the fourth hour, Law was up to fifth with Haywood in ninth and Sacramento's Joey Hand back in 15th position in the No. 23 Alex Job entry.

Early in the fifth hour, a full-course caution again allowed the leaders to pit. Law was fifth when everyone entered the pit lane, but thanks to sharp pit work by the Brumos crew, he rejoined the race in the lead.

Traffic would play a role in allowing Pruett the close to Law, whose 2.3-second lead shrank to three-10ths of a second. However, on a clear track, it would be a different story as Law slowly built the margin back up to nearly four seconds in six laps. Most of the lead pack pitted on Lap 149, but Law stayed out for one more lap, surrendering the lead to Ricardo Zonta. Taking on enough fuel to last the remainder of the race Law rejoined in second only to be passed for second by Pruett at the entrance to the Bus Stop. In the final hour, full-course cautions allow the field to pack up behind the leader and allowed Law to keep Pruett in sight.

On Lap 164, the yellow flag came out for the final time for the retrieval of a stalled car. The caution period allowed Barbosa to make up a lap, and moved Law closer to Pruett. The stage was set for an 18-minute dash to the checker. The restart came on Lap 168 with Law on Pruett's tail, but Pruett slightly pulled away as the leaders exited the first turn. Pruett would continue to build his advantage, increasing the margin all the way to the checker. Barbosa came home ninth to give the Brumos team a pair of top-10 finishes.

Wilder Start For GT Class Runners

While the first hour was uneventful for most of the DP Class participants, a series of incidents set the tone for the race in the GT Class.

England's Peter Westbrook seemed to be the only Porsche 911 GT 3 Cup customer in GT Class to get through the first hour unscathed. The driver of the No. 66 TRG Porsche ran in the top five for most of the hour.

Early-race incidents sidelined the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Racing entry driven by Germany's Wolf Henzler and the No. 67 TRG entry driven by Tim George Jr. of New York, N.Y. Damage was severe enough to Henzler's car for it to be withdrawn. In the meantime, the TRG crew continued to repair the damage with the intention of letting the co-drivers earn points.

Mechanical problems also eliminated the GT Porsches of the No. 74 Mitchum Motorsports entry driven by Andy Brumbaugh of Columbia, S.C. and the No. 26 Gotham Competition of Joe Jacalone of St. Augustine, Fla.

After the wild first hour, the GT class action settled down and the second hour ended with Kevin O'Connell of Newport Beach, Calif., leading the Porsche 911 GT 3 Cup customers in fourth place in the No. 27 O'Connell Racing entry.

One GT class Porsche moving up in the third hour was the No. 66 TRG entry, driven at the time by Ted Ballou of Corona Del Mar, Cal., who ran as high as third. However, by the end of the fourth hour, the No. 66 car, now piloted by Westbrook, was in fifth, the top Porsche in GT Class.

As the race progressed, Porsches continued to hover around the top five. Germany's Marc Besseng (No. 22 Allegra Motorsports 911 GT 3 Cup) would be the lead Porsche at the end of the fifth hour in sixth place in the GT Class. But in the end, Kevin Roush of Upland, Cal., would win the honors for best Porsche in GT Class, winding up fifth in the No. 27 O'Connell entry.

-credit: porsche

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ricardo Zonta , Alex Gurney , Scott Pruett , Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Hurley Haywood , Darren Law , David Donohue , Max Angelelli , Joao Barbosa , Memo Rojas , Andy Brumbaugh , Mark Patterson , J.C. Fra , Wolf Henzler , Kevin Roush , Alex Job , Ted Ballou , Kevin O'Connell , Tim George Jr. , Joe Jacalone