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ALMS: Porsche pilots clinch victory and points’ lead

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Gallery after the jump!

American Le Mans Series, round 3 in Laguna Seca, USA

That was not for the faint-hearted: In a cliff-hanger finale, Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) won the GT class with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at the six hour race in Laguna Seca, California – round three of the American Le Mans Series. With a gap of a mere 0.365 seconds, the title defenders emerged victorious over strong competition from BMW and Ferrari to claim their second win of the season and become the sole points’ leader. The Porsche RS Spyder piloted by Klaus Graf (Germany), Sascha Maassen (Germany) and Memo Gidley (Mexico) crossed the finish line in second overall.

“That was totally crazy. A fantastic fight. The final laps were indescribable. I’ve been racing now for 20 years and I’ve never experienced a race like this,” said Patrick Long. The decisive scene: At the restart after the last caution shortly before the finish, the American reacted the fastest and seized the lead from a BMW. “This was our only chance,” he said, “and we used it.”

The furious finale on the 3.601 kilometre circuit in the dunes of Monterey and the Porsche pilots’ success were the crowning of a thrilling charge through the field. Joerg Bergmeister took up the race at the wheel of the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR from the eighth grid position. But with the help of his team’s perfect strategy, he managed to catch the front-runners and put his teammate in a good position to fight for victory. “We had a lot of bad luck in qualifying. So it’s even more gratifying to finally win against the strongest field I’ve ever seen,” he said. “With each pit stop our team brought us closer to the front. The strategy was super. And when it went down to the wire at the end, Patrick grabbed his chance and used it.”

Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Bryan Sellers (USA) secured seventh place with their Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. “Right from the first practice we had problems finding the best set-up for this difficult track,” said Wolf Henzler. “And it didn’t get better during the race. As a result we had no real chance to match the pace of the front-runners in this strong class.

The Porsche RS Spyder fielded by the Muscle Milk Team Cytosport, class winners of the season-opening round in Sebring, also put in an excellent performance in Laguna Seca. Klaus Graf, Sascha Maassen and Memo Gidley substituting for team owner Greg Pickett, brought the successful sports prototype from Weissach home at its farewell tour in an excellent second place overall.

In the GTC class, double Supercup champion Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) celebrated his first win of the season in the American Le Mans Series. He shared the cockpit with his brother Sebastiaan and Timothy Pappas (USA).

Round 4 of the American Le Mans Series takes place on 11 July in Salt Lake City in the US state of Utah.

Statistics: 3rd of 9 rounds of the American Le Mans Series in Laguna Seca, CA

Race result
1. Brabham/Pagenaud/Franchitti (AUS/ F/GB), Honda ARX-01c (LMP), 237 laps
2. Graf/Maassen/Gidley (D/D/MEX), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP), 230
3. Dyson/Smith/Meyrick (USA/GB/GB), Lola B09 (LMP), 220

Result GT class
1. Bergmeister/Long (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 227 laps
2. Müller/Hand (D/USA), BMW M3 GT, 227
3. Beretta/Gavin (MC/GB), Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, 227
4. Melo/Bruni (BRA/I), Ferrari 430 GT, 225
5. Sharp/van Overbeek (USA/USA), Ferrari 430 GT, 225
6. Magnussen/O’Connell (DK/USA), Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, 224
7. Henzler/Sellers (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 224

Points’ standings GT class
1. Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Porsche, 65 points
2. Jaime Melo, Gianmaria Bruni, Ferrari, 55
3. Dirk Müller, Joey Hand, BMW, 52
4. Tommy Millner, Bill Auberlen, BMW, 42
5. Greg Pickett, Porsche, 40
Jan Magnussen, Johnny O’Connell, Chevrolet, 40
6. Olivier Beretta, Oliver Gavin, Chevrolet, 32

1. Porsche, 65 points
2. BMW, 60
3. Ferrari, 55

1. Flying Lizard Motorsports, Porsche, 65 points
2. Rahal Letterman Racing, BMW, 60
3. Risi Competizione, Ferrari, 55

Points’ standings LMP class
1. David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 71 points
2. Klaus Graf, Porsche, 67
3. Chris Dyson, Guy Smith, Lola, 54

1. Honda, 71 points
2. Porsche, 67
3. Lola, 61

1. Highcroft Racing, Honda, 71 points
2. Muscle Milk Team Cytosport, Porsche, 67
3. Dyson Racing Team, Lola, 54

– Porsche Motorsport

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