Penske Porsches Finish Second, Third In Lime Rock

July 12, 2008

LIME ROCK, Conn. (July 12, 2008) – Saturday afternoon’s American Le Mans Series (ALMS) event saw the No. 7  LMP2 Penske Porsche RS Spyder of Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas finish second overall (and in the LMP2 class) and the No. 6 LMP2 Penske Porsche RS Spyder of Patrick Long and Sascha Maassen finish third overall/in class.

The No. 7 machine of Bernhard/Dumas, who now lead the LMP2 drivers championship by 24 points, took the lead at the one-hour mark, just before a 25-minute caution period, and led for an hour and 43 minutes before being overhauled by the Brabham/Sharp Acura, forcing them to settle for second place. Both the Porsche and the Acura spent the last 30 minutes trying to stay out of trouble created by slower traffic, a marginal fuel supply, and a track littered with dirt and rocks from previous mishaps during the race. 

Bernhard, who held the lead for most of that time, would build a 10 to 15-second lead, only to get stuck behind a group of slower GT cars and have the margin shrink to one to three seconds.  Both cars had made only one fuel stop, but both teams thought they could make it to the end with all the yellow flags that had ensued, and by utilizing the leanest fuel mode they could.

Two laps from the end – merely 90 seconds from the finish - after Bernard lost a bout with traffic, Brabham attempted to pass Bernhard on the outside.  Bernhard stuck the nose of the car on the inside line, but the Acura cut him off, and Bernhard had to slam on the brakes, which locked up the rear end and caused him to spin onto the grass.

“I thought I could go faster than him, but I had bad luck in traffic, and he caught up to me,” said Bernhard. “When he cut in front of me, I ran out of room on the inside line, and would have crashed into the barrier if I held that line.  I decided it was better to spin and avoid contact, thus making sure I finished second, than it was to crash and put our season points in danger.”

The No. 6 Penske Porsche RS Spyder of Maassen/Long got off to a strong start, with Long taking the overall lead on the first lap – a lead he held until lap seven - and holding the LMP2 class lead for the first hour of the race.  However, towards the end of the race, Maassen made contact with the No. 20 Dyson entrant, which resulted in a one-minute penalty.  A strong driving performance allowed Maassen and Long to finish in third place overall/in class.

Porsche leads Acura in the LMP2 manufacturer’s title chase by 13 points after five races.

The race will be telecast in its entirety on a delayed basis on SPEED TV on Sunday, July 13, at Noon EDT.

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American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix
Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn.
Saturday's results

1. (1) Scott Sharp, Jupiter, FL; David Brabham, Australia; Acura ARX-01B (1, P2), 168.
2. (5) Romain Dumas, France; Timo Bernhard, Germany; Porsche RS Spyder (2, P2), 168.
3. (3) Patrick Long, Oak Park, CA; Sascha Maassen, Germany; Porsche RS Spyder (3, P2), 168.

4. (8) Lucas Luhr, Germany; Marco Werner, Germany; Audi AG R10/TDI (1, P1), 167.
5. (5) Luis Diaz, Mexico; Adrian Fernandez, Mexico; Acura ARX-01B (4, P2), 166.
6. (24) Marco Andretti, Nazareth, PA; Franck Montagny, Brignoles France; Acura ARX-01B (5, P2), 165.
7. (6) Marino Franchitti, Scotland; Butch Leitzinger, State College, PA; Porsche RS Spyder (6, P2), 164.
8. (12) Jan Magnussen, Denmark; Johnny O'Connell, Flowery Branch, GA; Corvette C6.R (1, GT1), 157.
9. (16) Jörg Bergmeister, Germany; Wolf Henzler, Germany; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (1, GT2), 154.
10. (25) Jon Field, Dublin, OH; Clint Field, Dublin, OH; Richard Berry, Evergreen, CO; Lola B06/10 AER (2, P1), 154.
11. (13) Richard Westbrook, England; Dirk Werner, Germany; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (2, GT2), 153.
12. (14) Mika Salo, Finland; Jaime Melo, Brazil; Ferrari F430 GT (3, GT2), 153.
13. (15) Dominik Farnbacher, Germany; Dirk Mueller, Germany; Ferrari F430 GT (4, GT2), 152.
14. (2) Simon Pagenaud, France; Gil de Ferran, Brazil; Acura ARX-01B (7, P2), 151.
15. (18) Tom Sutherland, Los Gatos, CA; Tom Milner, Leesburg, VA; Panoz Esperante Ford (5, GT2), 150.
16. (11) Oliver Gavin, England; Olivier Beretta, Monaco; Corvette C6.R (2, GT1), 146.
17. (19) Patrick Friesacher, Austria; Harrison Brix, San Jose, CA; Ferrari F430 GT (6, GT2), 145.
18. (17) Patrick Pilet, France; Johannes van Overbeek, San Francisco, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (7, GT2), 144.
19. (22) Tim Pappas, Boston, MA; Anthony Lazzaro, Acworth, GA; Doran Ford GT-R (8, GT2), 142.
20. (27) Jim Tafel, Alpharetta, GA; Alex Figge, Hollywood, CA; Ferrari F430 GT (9, GT2), 142.
21. (7) Emanuele Pirro, Italy; Rinaldo Capello, Italy; Audi AG R10/TDI (3, P1), 137.
22. (23) Joel Feinberg, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Chris Hall, Daytona, FL; Dodge Viper Comp Coupe (10, GT2), 107.
23. (9) Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Guy Smith, England; Porsche RS Spyder (8, P2), 94, Accident.
24. (20) Seth Neiman, Burlingame, CA; Darren Law, Phoenix, AZ; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (11, GT2), 81, Accident.
25. (10) Gerardo Bonilla, Orlando, FL; Ben Devlin, England; Lola B07 46 Mazda (9, P2), 74.
26. (26) Terry Borcheller, Vero Beach, FL; Chapman Ducote, Miami, FL; Aston Martin DBR9 (3, GT1), 61, Accident.
27. (21) Paul Drayson, London, UK; Jonny Cocker, UK; Aston Martin Vantage (12, GT2), 24, Throttle Linkage.