Sunday 7 August 2011

American Le Mans Series, round 5 in Lexington, USA Wolf Henzler claims first season win for Porsche after superb chase

American Le Mans Series, round 5 in Lexington, USA

Wolf Henzler claims first season win for Porsche after superb chase

Stuttgart. On the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Porsche factory pilot Wolf Henzler (Germany) celebrated a brilliant victory in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR: With a sensational charge through the field in torrential rain, he clinched the first win of the season for Porsche with his teammate Bryan Sellers on the traditional circuit in America’s Midwest in the fiercely-contested GT class of the American Le Mans Series. For his Falken Tire team, this marks the first ever win in the popular race series with the world’s fastest sports cars.

“What an unbelievable race. The rain came just at the right moment,” said Wolf Henzler after his second Mid-Ohio win against strong opposition from BMW, Ferrari and Chevrolet. “When they called me in to the pits to switch to wet tyres I didn’t really want to at first. I would have preferred to stay on slicks as I had enough grip. But the team made the right decision. Thanks to Falken for the super tyres. The boys work so hard. Now they are finally rewarded for their untiring efforts.”

When it comes to drama, the final phase of the race that started under sunny skies was unsurpassed. First a few raindrops fell causing a flurry in the pits. Then came a sudden heavy shower. That was the Wolf Henzler’s chance – and he used it: When the race restarted after a yellow flag and most of his rivals had their hands full keeping their cars on the flooded circuit, he charged from fifth to the lead in just one lap – even passing Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA) who had led the field until that point after a strong drive with the Flying Lizard Motorsports-run 911 GT3 RSR.

“In the final lap many cars driving on the inside line of the track spun. I found grip on the outside and could overtake them all,” said Wolf Henzler. “Falken has tested in rain in Mid-Ohio. We trusted these tyres and they yielded us victory.”

Whilst Wolf Henzler brought home his first win of the season in heavy rain, Patrick Long struggled with the amount of water on the circuit. The teammate of Porsche factory pilot Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) took up the race from the second grid row, slid into the gravel trap and fell back to ninth place. Shortly afterwards, with ten minutes left to the finish, the race was red-flagged and not restarted due to the persistent rain. “Our car was good, the set-up and strategy worked well – that was our race,” said Patrick Long. “But when the rain arrived, we lost grip and everyone started sliding around, even those on wets.”

In front of the title defenders Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long, Sascha Maassen (Germany) and Bryce Miller (USA) finished in eighth place at the wheel of their Paul Miller Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Americans Seth Neiman and Darren Law planted the second Flying Lizard Porsche on tenth. Victory in the GTC class went to Americans Spencer Pumpelly and Duncan Ende in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.

Round six of the American Le Mans Series takes place on 20th August on the Road America race track in Elkhart Lake in the US state of Wisconsin.

Statistics: Race 5 in Lexington, Ohio

Result GT class
1. Henzler/Sellers (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 92 laps
2. Magnussen/Gavin (DK/GB), Chevrolet Corvette, 92
3. Werner/Auberlen (D/USA), BMW M3 GT, 92
4. Müller/Hand (D/USA), BMW M3 GT, 92
5. Sharp/van Overbeek (USA/USA), Ferrari F458 Italia, 92
6. Beretta/Milner (MC/USA), Chevrolet Corvette, 92
8. Maassen/Miller (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 91
9. Bergmeister/Long (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 91
10. Law/Neiman (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 89

Result GTC class
1. Pumpelly/Ende (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 87 laps
2. Bleekemolen/Pappas (NL/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 87
3. Potter/Stanton (USA/USA), Portsche 911 GT3 Cup, 87

Points’ standings GT class
1. Dirk Müller, Joey Hand, BMW, 80 points
2. Oliver Gavin, Jan Magnussen, Chevrolet, 73
3. Dirk Werner, Bill Auberlen, BMW, 59
4. Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers, Porsche, 46
5. Olivier Beretta, Tommy Milner, Chevrolet, 45
6. Jaime Melo, Toni Vilander, Ferrari, 41
7. Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Porsche, 36

1. BMW, 96 points
2. Chevrolet, 77
3. Porsche, 72
4. Ferrari, 60

1. BMW Team RLL, BMW, 96 points
2. Corvette Racing, Chevrolet, 77
3. Flying Lizard Motorsports, Porsche, 60

Facts and figures

This is the American Le Mans Series

The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) was created in 1999 for sports prototypes and GT vehicles. The regulations correspond to those of the Le Mans 24 hour race.

GT class: This most popular class amongst car manufacturers is traditionally extremely well supported: Slightly modified standard sports cars with 440 to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,125 – 1,325 kilograms (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR).
GTC class: This class is reserved for vehicles from one-make race series (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 Cup).
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 550 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms.
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with ca. 440 hp and an 825 kg minimum weight.
LMPC class: Prototype brand trophy series for the ORECA FLM 09.

All race cars start together but are classified separately according to their respective classes. This ensures exciting and diverse racing with many overtaking manoeuvres. Points are only awarded for placings in each class.

Public Relations and Media
Oliver Hilger

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