The #45 Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR were not able to score their six straight American Le Mans Series GT2 victory at the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase, but the team achieved its overall goal for the weekend by extending their championship points by finishing ahead of the Ferrari 430.
The Lizard Porsche started third on the grid behind the winning BMWs, and turned competitive lap times during the entire event, but lost a lap to the leaders in the first part of the race when the pace car picked up the BMWs ahead of the overall race leaders, and were given a lap advantage via the controversial pace car regulations. After that, the team had to refocus on their overall goal – winning the championship.
“The crew did phenomenal work in the pits. In a race with so many cautions, strategy and pit work can make a critical difference and we saw that today. When there were situations to take a chance or play it safe, we were able to keep our championship goal in mind,” said Bergmeister.
Patrick Long, who passed the Ferrari on the next-to-last lap to achieve his fourth-place finish (the Ferrari finished fifth), credited the crew for his achievement.
“We achieved our objectives today and extended our championship lead. Our chief strategist Thomas Blam made a great call for new tires on the last yellow that helped me get by the Ferrari for position and extend our championship point lead,” said Long.
On the last lap, Patrick got by the O’Connell/Magnussen Corvette to move into third place, but could not hold off the V8 Corvette, finishing four-hundreths of a second from a podium position.
The #87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, which qualified sixth, but within a second of the pole, ran as high as fourth place during the race, with Wolf Henzler turning the second-fastest GT2 lap of the race after Bryce Miller had run a strong opening stint. But a problem with the right rear suspension with only eight laps to go put an end to their efforts.
In the LMP2 class, Greg Pickett and Klaus Graf again showed everyone why the Porsche RS Spyder has been the American Le Mans Series class champion since 2006 by finishing a strong third place – and fifth overall – only 1.3-seconds out of second. And in the ALMS Challenge class, Martin and Melanie Snow survived that dreaded pace car wave-by for their nearest competitor – Nick Parker and Don Pickering – to score another win, their third in four events, to close in on that championship in their Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
Martin Snow had a comfortable lead when Pickering got the wave-by, gaining a full lap on the leaders without making up the time on the track. Still, Martin and Melanie won by a full lap over their rivals.
The next race for the American Le Mans Series will be at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada on Sunday, August 30.