Fourth-Place Finish for Verizon Wireless Porsche at Mid-Ohio

June 20, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 20, 2009) – Penske Racing co-drivers Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard drove the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Porsche Riley to a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s Emco Gears Classic Presented by KeyBank at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Dumas turned a fast lap of 1:19.076 seconds, posting a speed of 102.797 miles per hour on Friday to secure the sixth starting position in Round 6 of the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.

As Dumas rolled off at the start of the two-hour and 45-minute timed event, crew chief Bill Vincent relayed a message to the pit crew from race strategist, Tim Cindric.

“Be on your toes,” said Vincent. “We are going to make a lot of changes and we don’t know what they are yet. Be ready with tires, be ready with fuel. Be ready for a change to strategy just before going over the wall. Just be ready.”

Dumas drove the car to third place in the first 25 laps of the event before turning driving duties over to Bernhard. 

“The [No. 12 Verizon Wireless Porsche Riley] was for sure better during the race,” said Dumas. “The crew made several changes after qualifying yesterday and then a few more after practice this morning; all positive changes and they paid off.”

On lap 51 of the 111-lap event, Bernhard went off track while passing a GT sports car and fell to ninth after making a pass down pit road to receive fuel and have the grill of the red and black Porsche wiped clean.

“I was trying to pass the GT car and he moved over but I was already up next to him,” said Bernhard. “I went off track but was able to return without any damage.”

Bernhard battled high temperatures in the cockpit during his stint but fought through the heat and moved back up through the field to earn a top-five finish for Penske Racing at the 2.26-mile, 13-turn road course.

“It was very hot in the Verizon Porsche,” said Bernhard, who took the checkered flag in fourth position. “I knew when I got passed [on lap 76] I needed to focus a little more. We were close to the finish and I felt like we were in contention if something happened ahead of me.”

Bernhard and Dumas are now fourth in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series driver point standings, 13 points out of first place. The duo will next compete in round seven of the Grand-Am Series at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, July 4.