Penske Porsches Second and Third in Class at Long Beach

April 20, 2008

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 19) – The Penske Racing duo of Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) maintained their LMP2 championship points lead over the American Le Mans Series with a second-place finish in their Porsche RS Spyder at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach’s Tequila Patron ALMS street race, while teammates Patrick Long (USA) and Sascha Maassen (Germany) finished third in class, equaling their best finish of the season.

With the David Brabham/Scott Sharp Acura winning the LMP2 class by 1.04 seconds over the Bernhard/Dumas Porsche, the Acura breaks a 13-race LMP2 winning streak for the Penske Porsches which began more than a year ago at the 2007 St. Petersburg’s event.  Even after the disappointing second-place finish today, Dumas/Bernhard maintain their LMP2 points lead (66 to 56) over the Acura drivers, and continued their streak of 14 races in a row of LMP2 podium finishes.

“The yellow flags and race traffic – our friends at many of the races last year when we won the championship – worked against us today,” said Bernhard, who put the RS Spyder on the pole, and ran second overall and second in class most of the race.

“We had bad luck in traffic, especially overtaking the slower GT1 and GT2 cars – and did not want to risk the important points we earned to gain a position when the conditions were not safe,” he added.

Hartmut Kristen, head of Porsche Motorsport world-wide, agreed, and praised the efforts of the drivers.

“The Penske Porsche drivers gave maximum effort, and we still had a chance for victory right up to the checkered flag,” said Kristen.

Patrick Long surged from his fourth starting position in the No. 6 Porsche RS Spyder to take the lead on the first corner after the green flag.  Despite pressure from the more powerful LMP1 Audi of Lucas Luhr, Long held the overall race lead for all 55 minutes of his stint, turning the car over to Sascha Maassen with 45 minutes left to go in the 100-minute event. 

But in the shuffle of pit stops for all the top competitors, the No. 7 Bernhard/Dumas Porsche, now being driven by Romain Dumas, took the lead, but was passed by the LMP1 Audi driven by Marco Werner only one lap after the restart, and then the Brabham Acura passed Romain with only four laps to go in the event. Maassen was able to hold off the other Acuras to finish third in class, preserving Porsche’s lead in the manufacturer’s championship.

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach’s Tequila Patron ALMS street race will telecast on a delayed-basis on ABC-TV at 12:30 PM Eastern time on Sunday, April 20. 

The next race for the American Le Mans Series is the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix Presented by the Grand & Little America Hotels on Sunday, May 19, at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.