Accident Eliminates Two-Time GT2 Class Winners LE MANS, France, June 17, 2006 -- Shortly into the 11th hour of the 74th Annual 24 Hours of Le Mans, the No. 90 Krohn/ Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR is finished...
Accident Eliminates Two-Time GT2 Class Winners
LE MANS, France, June 17, 2006 -- Shortly into the 11th hour of the 74th Annual 24 Hours of Le Mans, the No. 90 Krohn/ Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR is finished for the event after a single car incident on the track. The car of the two-time Le Mans winning team owned by Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev., USA) and managed by Dale White (Bozeman, MT, USA) made hard contact in the first chicane on the Mulsanne Straight. Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) was behind the wheel of the car when, for reasons not yet known, the car left the racing line on the it's 148th lap of the Circuit de la Sarthe. Bergmeister was uninjured but reported the car "destroyed". Bergmeister, the regular American Le Mans Series driver for Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing, was sharing the car with Jonsson (a native of Sweden currently living in Buford, Georgia, USA) and Tracy Krohn (Houston, Texas, USA). He was running fifth in class at the time of the incident. The No. 90 is currently listed ninth in class, 35th overall.
Bergmeister, the most experienced of the three drivers of the No. 90, had been turning his fastest laps of the event (in the low four minute, six second range) and was nearing the end of his stint when the accident occurred. He had regained one position to move into the top-five and onto the same lap as the fourth-place car. A planned driver change to install Jonsson for a double stint was scheduled to follow soon. Bergmeister had started the race fourth in class.
Automobile Club De L'Ouest (ACO) rules dictate that a car stopped on course must be repaired by the driver. With such substantial damage and just a small tool kit, this would have been unlikely for the German driver to make repairs in the best of conditions, let alone the dark with oncoming cars. Therefore, the car did not return to pit lane.
This marks the first time that the Petersen/ White Lightning Porsche has failed to finish a 24 Heures du Mans in the top two positions of its class. It won its inaugural event in conjunction with Alex Job Racing in 2003. It returned in 2004 and dominated the division on its way to a second win. Last season, the team finished second, on the lead lap, closing on the winner. In the 20 endurance sports car events around the world that the Las Vegas-based team has entered prior to this weekend, it has won seven, taken podiums in ten and been running at the finish 90% of the time. The team now returns to the United States and the American Le Mans Series where they are defending GT2 class Champions. The next round is at Lime Rock (Connecticut, USA) Park on Saturday, July 1st. Bergmeister will be paired with 2005 Championship co-driver, Patrick Long in that event.
Dale White, Entrant/ Team Manager: "Jorg had a pretty hard impact. He said the car was destroyed. He was running some really good laps but I don't think that he was over pushing it. We'll have to look at the data but Jorg never makes mistakes like that. That's it for us. It's tough to say. The race was going pretty well. We had some issues with a shock but we were working our way back and had a lot of race to go. We'll have a car ready in less than two weeks in Lime Rock."