Best Porsche in fourth narrowly misses podium
Stuttgart. Just one second separated the Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) from their second podium result of the season at the four hour race in Elkhart Lake. In the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Flying Lizard Motorsports, the title defenders claimed fourth place in the GT class at round six of the American Le Mans Series on the legendary Road America race track. Porsche factory pilot Wolf Henzler (Germany), who recently won the race in Mid-Ohio with his American teammate Bryan Sellers, finished sixth in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR run by the Falken Tire squad.
Whenever the world’s fastest sports cars compete on this challenging circuit in the US state of Wisconsin, excitement is guaranteed. And this year was no exception. Especially in the fiercely-contested GT class, fans were treated to spirited fights for positions and spectacular overtaking manoeuvres. With just 13 minutes left to the flag, Joerg Bergmeister, five-time winner at Road America, was running in third after a strong performance and held hopes for his second podium result of the year after finishing second in Lime Rock. But he was unable to defend his position to the finish line.
“We had a good day and achieved the best possible result. We couldn’t manage better than fourth today. When an opponent is able to pass us on the outside in a place that is not a braking zone, well, that says a lot about the rule-makers grading of the Porsche,” said Joerg Bergmeister. Patrick Long added, “Our strategy put us in a position for a top placing, and our pit stops ran perfectly. We had hoped for a better result, but have to settle for what we achieved. The difference between the first and the fourth today came down to a reason that we have no influence over.”
Right at the start, Wolf Henzler made up four places and was at times on course for a podium spot. “That was our team’s best performance on a dry circuit,” he said. “Over much of the distance, our Porsche could match the pace of the best BMW, Ferrari and Corvettes – and we can be happy about this. The tyres are becoming increasingly better and our pit crew worked hard over the entire race distance to keep us in the top six.”
At his debut on the Road America circuit, Porsche works driver Marco Holzer (Germany) saw the flag in Flying Lizard’s second Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in ninth – two places behind Sascha Maassen (Germany) and Bryce Miller (USA), who brought the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR run by Paul Miller Racing home in seventh.
Victory in the GTC class went to the two-time Supercup champion Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) with his American teammate Tim Pappas in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Britain’s Sean Edwards, the current points’ leader in the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup, led to the final lap until tyre damage robbed him of his win. He finished third.
Round 7 of the American Le Mans Series takes place on 3 September on the new street circuit in Baltimore in the US state of Maryland.
Statistics: 6th race in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Result GT class
1. Melo/Vilander (BRA/SF), Ferrari F458 Italia, 101 laps
2. Werner/Auberlen (D/USA), BMW M3 GT, 101
3. Müller/Hand (D/USA), BMW M3 GT, 101
4. Bergmeister/Long (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 101
5. Magnussen/Gavin (DK/GB), Chevrolet Corvette, 101
6. Henzler/Sellers (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 101
7. Maassen/Miller (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 101
9. Holzer/Neiman (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 100
Result GTC class
1. Bleekemolen/Pappas (NL/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 96
2. Pumpelly/Ende (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 96
3. Edwards/Kauffmann (GB/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 96
Points’ standings GT class
1. Dirk Müller, Joey Hand, BMW, 108 points
2. Oliver Gavin, Jan Magnussen, Chevrolet, 86
3. Dirk Werner, Bill Auberlen, BMW, 80
4. Jaime Melo, Toni Vilander, Ferrari, 66
5. Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers, Porsche, 57
6. Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Porsche, 51
1. BMW, 117 points
2. Chevrolet, 90
3. Porsche, 87
4. Ferrari, 85
1. BMW Team RLL, BMW, 117 points
2. Corvette Racing, Chevrolet, 90
3. Risi Competizione, 66
4. Flying Lizard Motorsports, Porsche, 57
Team Falken Tire, Porsche, 57
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.
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