Another Podium for the Lizards: No. 45 2nd; No. 44 7th
ALMS - Lexington, OH
The Lizards celebrated their second podium of the year today as Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long brought the Porsche 911 GT3 in to second place at Mid-Ohio, just over two-tenths behind the No. 4 Corvette. The No. 44 of Seth Neiman and Marco Holzer finished 7th.
Patrick Long started the No. 45 third on the GT grid in sweltering Ohio heat; Seth Neiman started the No. 44 12th. The No. 55 BMW was on the pole, with the No. 4 Corvette in P3. The field safely navigated a very crowded start, with Long moving to P2 at the start, swapping positions with the Corvette. 20 minutes into the race, the No. 55 went wide, giving Long an opportunity to take the lead, which he held through most of his 100-minute stint.
At the 30-minute mark, the first and only full course caution sent most of the GT cars into the pits. The No. 45, both Corvettes, the No. 56 BMW and several other GT cars had pitted under green just before the pits were closed, then the rest of the field pitted under yellow after the pits opened. When the track again when green, Long was again P1. The No. 4 Corvette was P2, the No. 3 Corvette P3 and the No. 56 BMW P4.
Over the next hour, Long held the lead, fending off both Corvettes and the BMW as the four ran nose to tail, threading through heavy traffic. Of the lead group, the No. 4 Corvette pitted first for its scheduled driver change, then the No. 45 pitted one lap later. Joerg Bergmeister made it out of the pits ahead of the No. 4, which was just completing its first outlap so he retained the lead. Shortly after, the No. 4 Corvette, on warmer tires, was able to overtake Bergmeister to take the lead. In the No. 44, Holzer had climbed back up to P7.
For the next 25 minutes, Joerg fought to defend against the No. 3 Corvette in P3, while still working to close the gap to the No. 4 Corvette ahead of him. An on-track incident between the No. 3 Corvette and a GTC car sent them into the pits with significant damage, giving Bergmeister some breathing room to attempt to pass Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 Corvette. The two cars continued to run nose to tail, alternating between passing slower GT and GTC cars and being passed by the faster P1/P2 and PC prototypes. With so much traffic, it was difficult for Bergmeister to find an opportunity to overtake and he had to settle for second place: the No. 45's second official podium of the year. In the No. 44, Holzer finished seventh.
Driver Perspectives on Mid-Ohio
"That was a close and exciting race. In my stint, once we all settled in the car was really good and I was able to run the same pace from beginning to end. Patrick had done a phenomenal job, as did the crew, turning the car over to me in the lead. At the end, the timing of the pit stop made the difference, and the No. 4, which pitted earlier than we did was able to be quick on their second lap, which was my outlap. He got by me in the brake zone in Turn 4 where I couldn't defend: my temps and tire pressures just weren't there. But it was a great race - and over the last three races we've shown that we can again be competitive."
"Second's never easy but today we executed at 100 percent and crossing the line two-tenths from the lead is something to be proud of. My stint was tough: there was so much traffic and I was defending against both Corvettes and the BMW. Thomas Blam was on his game again today in strategy and the pit stops were solid as always; it came down to traffic and timing. In the end, Joerg was able to battle back and close the gap to Oli (Gavin) by five seconds. It's our third solid race in a row: the momentum is definitely building."
"We had a tough start in the No. 44 and lost some time, but were able to come back. I had a really good run and the car felt really good. I went from P12 to P7 over my stint. This was my first time driving at Mid-Ohio - I really liked the track - and definitely got to see a lot of it in my long stint. Thanks to the Lizard crew for their fantastic pit stops and putting together a fast car. I'm looking forward to Road America - it's one of my favorite tracks in the U.S."
Up next for the Lizards is Road America, August 18, 2012.
About Flying Lizard Motorsports
Flying Lizard returns to the American Le Mans Series for their ninth season and the fourth consecutive season for Bergmeister and Long together in the No. 45. The Lizards have won two ALMS GT team championships (2008 and 2009) and have finished in the top three each year since 2004. The team has secured three ALMS GT drivers' championships: Bergmeister and Long took the title together in 2009 and 2010 and Bergmeister with Wolf Henzler in 2008. Bergmeister is five-time ALMS GT drivers' champion (2005-2006 and 2008-2010) and Long has won the title three times (2005, and 2009-2010), all with Bergmeister. Bergmeister is the only driver in Grand-Am and ALMS history to win the championship in both series in the same year (2006).
Flying Lizard has also competed in the 24 Heures du Mans from 2005 through 2012, finishing third in 2005, fourth in 2006, sixth in 2008, sixth in 2011, and fourth in 2012.
Visit the team website at www.lizardms.com.
The privateer team is based in Sonoma, California.
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