It was an exciting, busy and frustrating few days for Porsche Motorsport fans this weekend here in the States. The ALMS North East Grand Prix at Lime Rock on Saturday and the Grand-Am Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsport Park on Sunday combined to provide more than five hours of live action racing.
The apparently unstoppable and dynamic duo of Patrick Long and Joerg Borgmeister won again, for the fourth time in a row, making it look easy as they continue to extend their lead in the race for the GT2 Championship.
If you just look at the final results from the last four races, it looks like we are running away with the GT2 championship, but the reality is that each race has been a struggle, and today was no exception. We ran as fast as we could during qualifying, yet the Ferrari grabbed the pole, and the BMWs were strong. We made a differential adjustment after qualifying, and it didn’t feel better during the final warm-up, but it was the right move as our Flying Lizard Porsche was perfect. The pass I made on Kaffer (62 Ferrari) was the result of hard, clean racing by both of us. I knew my car was faster, but, at this track, you have to pick your spots,” said Long, who, along with Bergmeister, lead the GT2 championship points with 100, while the Kaffer/Melo Ferrari combo has 75 points. great wins and disappointing losses.
Porsche’s results in Grand-Am, unfortunately, were not quite as positive. Despite capturing pole position on Saturday in the GT class, Leh Keen led for only the first 11 laps before falling back to a more conservative pace. In the end, Keen’s driving partner Dirk Werner brought the #87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche 911 GT3 Cup home in fifth. While the points-leading Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup had its three-race GT win streak snapped, they lost only four points off their Acxiom GT championship lead.
The Porsche racing Rileys of customer teams Penske and Brumos faired much worse in Sunday’s race. The #58 Brumos Porsche Riley team was the most disappointing. Overall race leader David Donohue fell to 10th position after contact on lap 37. A forced pit stop to repair tire and body damage from the unintended contact allowed teammate Darren Law his chance to takeover for a stint in the driver’s seat. Unfortunately, bad-luck continued to plague the pair (including more tire trouble) and 10th was the best finish they could muster.
“I went off at turn 11 and it blew a tire and I had to complete a whole ‘nother lap (before he could reach the pits). We had a top five car, and we were leading when David (Donohue) got hit from behind and punctured a tire.”
“We just can’t seem to get a break. We blew a tire four laps from the end. It’s freaky. We just can’t get a break.”
Porsche works drivers Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France), fared the worst of all the Porsche DP cars. After Romain Dumas had an accident during Friday’s practice, the mechanics at Penske Racing put in a night shift to repair the badly damaged Porsche Riley in time for the qualifying. Spare parts were even transported in from the Penske workshop in Mooresville/North Carolina. To no avail: their bad luck streak continued in the race. While trying to avoid a competitor in the first corner, Romain Dumas, who was determined to compete despite a badly swollen left ankle, had an off track excursion and damaged the front of his car. The extra pit stop relegated him to last position.
Buddy Rice (USA) and Antonio Garcia (Spain) narrowly missed out on a podium result with the Porsche Coyote fielded by Spirit of Daytona Racing. The overall winners of the 24 Hours at Daytona (with David Donohue and Darren Law in the Porsche Riley of Brumos Racing) secured fourth place. Joao Barbosa (Portugal) and JC France (USA) brought their Brumos Porsche home in ninth position.