The Porsche 911 RSR continues on the road to success in the IMSA SportsCar Championship. Two weeks after the car's first IMSA WeatherTech series victory at Lime Rock, Gianmaria Bruni and Laurens Vanthoor clinched second place at Road America.
At the end of the 2:40-hour race Vanthoor and Gianmaria Bruni were a mere six-tenths of a second off claiming victory. The pair also scored second at Porsche’s double victory at Lime Rock recently.
Teammates and the winners of the Lime Rock race, Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner, lost ground after a collision in the final phase and ultimately had to settle for eighth.
At the wheel of the No.912 Porsche 911 RSR, Gianmaria Bruni initially managed to advance from fourth to third place.
“That was a really tough race." said Bruni "I got away well at the start but the Ford managed to overtake me in corner three. The team had worked out a great strategy, which Laurens implemented almost perfectly after the pit stop. Right up until shortly before the finish I thought we might win. But second place is a great result and a good motivation for the remaining races of the season.”
In his slipstream, Patrick Pilet even overtook two competitors in the No.911 car. The two held on to these positions until the first round of pit stops.
“Our 911 RSR ran brilliantly again today, and the team provided great support." said Pilet "Unfortunately it just wasn’t our race. It’s a pity, because we were actually good enough to win at Road America, too, but we just couldn’t do it. Now we’ll try again in Virginia.”
For Porsche, the race remained rather unspectacular, until the last hour. Vanthoor made the most of the short pit stop to snatch the lead. However, when the race went green after a safety car phase, he veered too wide and had to let the No.66 Ford GT past. In a gripping finale, Vanthoor pulled out all stops and tried everything to reclaim the lead, but was ultimately pipped at the flag.
“What a roller-coaster race." said Vanthoor "We came into the pits earlier than scheduled prior to a caution phase, because we suspected we had a tire problem, and that cost us the lead. We definitely had some luck on our side because there was nothing wrong with the tires. After the restart, I wanted to overtake a slower GTD vehicle but he blocked me and that led to a mistake. It’s annoying to lose the lead and possibly even victory because of this, but such things happen. Nevertheless, finishing second on this tricky circuit is a good result.”
For Dirk Werner, who took over from Patrick Pilet, the restart was even more dramatic: After falling victim to an accident involving a Corvette, he ended up in the gravel and was robbed of a good result.
“In the closing phase of the race we still had every chance open to us." said Werner "After the final round of pit stops I was running in fifth and I wanted to overtake the Corvette in front of me after the safety car phase. But, while braking, he pulled to the left in the last moment and forced me into the gravel trap. He was given a penalty, but that didn’t do us any good. I’m pleased for our team colleagues in the #912 car and I hope that we can make more out of our good possibilities in Virginia.”
In the GTD class Porsche works driver Jörg Bergmeister finished in second place. Two weeks ago at Lime Rock he celebrated his first win of the season with Patrick Lindsey driving for Park Place Motorsports.
“We had the speed over the entire weekend." Bergmeister "The 911 GT3 R felt really good and Patrick drove a strong race. I had just overtaken an Acura and was running second when I had to pit with a puncture. Basically, that should have been the end of my race. But luckily the safety car came out again shortly afterwards, and our pit stop was super short compared to the competition because we’d only just refueled. This put me back in second place.”
Round nine of the IMSA SportsCar Championship will be contested on August 27, at the Virginia International Raceway in Danville, Virginia.
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