Posted by: porschebahn | July 21, 2009

Race report for Grand-Am Series round 8 at Birmingham

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Porsche pilots continue on title course

After claiming four victories with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in the American Grand-Am Series, Dirk Werner (Germany) and Leh Keen (USA) still have the title firmly within sight. Although they had to settle for fifth position at the fiercely-contested eighth round of the season in the Barber Motorsports Park of Birmingham, Alabama, they retained their clear lead in the GT championship.

“Of course we had expected more after starting from pole position, but we simply weren’t fast enough over the distance,” said Dirk Werner, who has already notched up wins with the Farnbacher Loles Racing 911 GT3 Cup in Millville, Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio and Daytona. “We experienced some problems with the rear tyre which clearly deteriorated after five, six laps. With this in mind, we can be satisfied with our result. Nothing has changed much to our good standing in the title fight and that’s the most important thing.”

Best Porsche prototype fourth

In the prototype class 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.

David Donohue (USA) and Darren Law (USA) also put in a strong drive. At the wheel of the second Porsche Riley fielded by Brumos Racing, David Donohue moved into the lead about half an hour into the race. But after leading for only 13 laps he was robbed of his dream of a second win this season when an opponent ran into his rear forcing him to pit for repairs. Afterwards, Darren Law concentrated on bringing home as many points as possible. Tyre damage shortly before the finish cost the pair further positions.

“This was a race we could have won,” said David Donohue, lamenting his missed chance. “The Brumos crew put a great car on the track today. It felt great to be in the lead, but in the end we couldn’t finish where we belong.” Darren Law added after finishing tenth: “It’s like we’re jinxed. It’s about time we got through without problems.”

A weekend to forget

A sentiment also echoed by Porsche works drivers Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France), for whom Lady Luck was again elusive for their race debut on the demanding circuit. After Romain Dumas had an accident during Friday’s practice, the mechanics at Penske Racing put in a nightshift 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, left the track and damaged the front of his car. The extra pit stop relegated him to last position.

“That was a weekend to forget, but sometimes you have such weekends,” said Timo Bernhard, who eventually brought his #12 Porsche Riley home in 15th. “I’m mostly sorry for the Penske boys. They worked so hard and we would have loved to repay their hard work with a good result. Unfortunately this didn’t work but at least we earned some points.”

Round 9 of the Grand-Am Series takes place on 7 August in Watkins Glen in the US state of New York.

Statistics

Race result
1. Gurney/Fogarty (USA/USA), Pontiac Riley (DP), 109 laps
2. Pruett/Rojas (USA/MEX), Lexus Riley (DP), 109
3. Pew/Valiante (USA/CAN), Ford Riley (DP), 109
4. Garcia/Rice (E/USA), Porsche Coyote(DP), 109
5. Jonsson/Zonta (USA/BRA), Ford Lola (DP), 109
6. Negri/Patterson (USA/USA), Ford Riley (DP), 108
7. Friselle/Wilkins (USA/CAN), Ford Riley (DP), 108
8. Gidley/Jaeger (USA/USA) Pontiac Riley (DP), 108
9. Barbosa/France (P/USA), Porsche Riley (DP), 108
10. Donohue/Law (USA/USA), Porsche Riley (DP), 108

Result GT class
1. Davis/Liddell (USA/GB), Pontiac GXP.R, 103 laps
2. Ham/Tremblay (USA/USA), Mazda RX-8, 102
3. Collins/Edwards (USA/USA), Pontiac GXP.R, 102
4. Espenlaub/Foster (USA/USA), Mazda RX-8, 101
5. Werner/Keen (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 101
6. Assentato/Segal (USA/USA), Mazda RX-8, 101
7. Henzler/Lux (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 101

Points’ standings
Drivers DP class

1. Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Lexus, 231 points
Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty, Pontiac, 231
2. Brian Friselle, Max Angelelli, Ford, 215
3. Michael Valiante, Ford, 199
4. Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, Porsche, 196
5. Burt Friselle, Mark Wilkins, Ford, 185
6. Joao Barbosa, JC France, Porsche, 184
7. David Donohue, Darren Law, Porsche, 183

Manufacturer DP class
1. Ford, 254 points
2. Pontiac, 237
3. Lexus, 231
4. Porsche, 224

Drivers GT class
1. Dirk Werner, Leh Keen, Porsche, 247 points
2. Paul Edwards, Kelly Collins, Pontiac, 222
3. Sylvain Tremblay, Nick Ham, Mazda, 211
4. Eric Lux, Porsche, 208
Spencer Pumpelly, Porsche, 208
5. Robin Liddell, Andrew Davis, Pontiac, 198
6. Andy Lally, Justin Marks, Porsche, 187

Manufacturers GT class
1. Porsche, 259 points
2. Pontiac, 239
3. Mazda, 231

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