Bergmeister and Long win GT at Mosport; No. 45 Disqualified
ALMS - Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long fought a long battle with Corvette, Ferrari and BMW today to bring home the second win in a row at today's Grand Prix of Mosport. The No. 44 of Seth Neiman and Andy Lally was seventh in class. Unfortunately, at the standard post-race inspection, the No. 45 did not pass the engine stall test. As a result, the car will not be scored in the race or receive any championship points for this race. The Lizards appealed the decision with a formal protest, but the appeal was denied by the race stewards.
It was a seamless race for the Lizards today at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Patrick Long started fifth on the GT grid in the No. 45 and Seth Neiman 11th in the No. 44. The No. 3 and 4 Corvettes started P1 and P2 respectively, the No. 55 BMW P3 and the No. 01 ESM Ferrari P4. At the start, Long overtook the No. 01 Ferrari to move into P4. Fifteen minutes into the race, Long moved to P3 when the No. 4 Corvette stopped on course, resulting in the first full-course caution of the day.
Long described his stint: "The start is always tricky at Mosport because the GT field is still in Turn 9 and 10 when the prototypes get the green, but I was able to time it just right and slip by the No. 01. I knew that we had a fast car, especially on colder tires; early in the race I decided to work together with the car in front of me [the No. 55] to close the gap to the Corvettes. We were starting to make some headway when the No. 4 Corvette dropped out and we had the first full course caution."
Several GT cars pitted in the first caution, including the No. 55 BMW, but the No. 3 Corvette, the No. 45 Porsche, the No. 02 ESM Ferrari, and No. 56 BMW all stayed out. At the first restart, Long was now P2, with the No. 3 Corvette P1, the No. 56 P3 and the No. 02 P4. A little more than 10 minutes after the restart, a second full course caution sent both Lizard Porsches into the pits, along with the No. 3 Corvette. The GT field was now split in their pit stops: half the field had pitted in the first caution, half in the second. During the second caution, near the 1 hour mark, Long handed the wheel over to Joerg Bergmeister, who headed back out in P6. Meanwhile, in the No. 44, Andy Lally had taken over the wheel; once the field settled down after the second restart he was now P7.
Over the next ten minutes, Bergmeister moved up to P3, with the No. 02 ESM Ferrari in the lead and the No. 55 BMW in P2. Nearing the 90-minute mark, Bergmeister overtook the No. 55 BMW to take P2, then took the lead when the No. 02 finally pitted.
Just before the 2-hour point, the No. 45 was in the lead, the No. 01 ESM Ferrari was P2, and the No. 3 Corvette P3. The No. 3 Corvette and the No. 01 pitted for their final fuel stops, then both Lizard Porsches pitted. Bergmeister was able to get back out quickly and retain the lead, with the No. 3 now P2 and the No. 01 P3. In the No. 44, after his final pit stop, Andy Lally was now P9.
Over the final 30 minutes it came down to a three-way battle between the No. 45, still in the lead, the No. 3 Corvette in P2 (with Jan Magnussen) and the No 01 ESM Ferrari (with Johannes van Overbeek). The three cars ran nose-to tail through heavy traffic for 30 minutes as Joerg fought to hold off the No. 3 Corvette who in turn was battling the No. 01. On the final race lap, van Overbeek overtook the No. 3 Corvette on the inside in Turn 5, but Bergmeister was still able to secure the GT win.
Long continued, "From the time I turned the wheel over to Joerg it became a strategy race. Thomas Blam's strategy plus seamless pit stops helped us leapfrog to position to lead once the GT field cycled through their stops. Joerg did a phenomenal job in the heat and humidity and hung in there to take the win."
In the No. 44, Lally moved up two positions in the last 30 minutes to finish P7. He added, "It's always an honor to be a part of the Lizard program. We had a great car today and with the help of some fast stops we were able to gain several positions to finish seventh. All in all it was a great day for the No. 44."
Up next for the Lizards is Mid-Ohio, August 4.
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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