Second Win in a Row; No. 44 Finishes Fifth
The Flying Lizard No. 45 Porsche had their second consecutive win of the season today at Long Beach, running nearly 30 seconds ahead of the second place GT2 finisher, the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari, before the race-ending caution came out. The No. 44 Flying Lizard Porsche finished fifth, having battled through the field from a tenth-place starting position.
The race started under yellow and ended under yellow, but there were no cautions in between: an unexpected outcome given the narrow, bumpy course that left no margin for error. In the No. 45, Patrick Long started second on the grid in GT2, with the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche on the pole. The No. 44 Porsche, with Seth Neiman behind the wheel, started in tenth. For most of his stint, Patrick ran in second, nose to tail with the No. 87, putting the pressure on as the two cars negotiated the narrow, 1.968-mile course, building a significant gap to the next closest GT2 car, the No. 92 Rahal Letterman Racing BMW. At the 40 minute mark, Patrick was able to safely pass when the No. 87 slowed on course and then pitted early to repair a mechanical issue.
Taking the lead, Patrick continued to build a gap between the No. 45 and the other GT2 cars. By the one-hour mark, he had a nearly 30 second lead over the second place car, now the No. 62 Risi Ferrari, which had worked its way up after starting from the back of the pack. Patrick pitted before the No. 62 for driver change to Joerg Bergmeister, tires and fuel. The No. 62 took the lead during the No. 45′s pit stop, but pitted shortly after and the No. 45 regained the lead; now 37 seconds ahead of the No. 62 thanks to the No. 45 crew’s fast pit stop.
Patrick Long said, “It was a pretty eventful stint for me. The No. 87 didn’t make it easy, they ran hard and fair. I tried to be careful in attempting to pass them earlier, I didn’t want to make a dangerous move. A patient strategy paid off in the end. And the lightning fast pit stop for the No. 45 was unbelievable – a huge testament to the team’s hard work. As they say, luck is where preparation meets opportunity and I think we had both of those today.”
Meanwhile, the No. 44 Porsche pitted 30 minutes into the race for driver change from Seth Neiman to Darren Law, tires and fuel. Over the remaining hour of the race, Darren moved up from the back of the pack to fifth place. With five minutes left in the race, Darren was closing in on the fourth place GT2 car when a car fire in the No. 28 LG Motorsports Corvette brought out the second caution of the race, which ended under yellow.
Darren added, “I had a great car today. It was a lot of fun to focus on reeling in the field in such a strong car. I had the fourth place car in my sights at the end, unfortunately the yellow stopped my progress, with a little more time we could have had them. The GT2 field for this race was really impressive – it’s shaping up to be an incredible season.”