TEAM NEWS: 2007 PORSCHE RS SPYDERS COMPLETE 12 HOURS OF SEBRING WITH ONE LMP2 PODIUM FINISH; NEW 911 GT3 RSR (TYPE 997) FINISHES SECOND AND THIRD IN GT2 CLASS
Photo By John Thawley SEBRING, Fla. - March 17 - Porsche Motorsport customers debuted two new race cars - the 2007 Porsche RS Spyder and the 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (type 997) - at the 55th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, and competitors responded by finishing on the podium in both classes.
Finishing third in the LMP2 class despite encountering a series of electrical problems, the #7 Porsche RS Spyder prepared by Penske Motorsports, was driven by Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas/Helio Castroneves. Fifth in class was the #16 Dyson Racing Porsche of Andy Wallace/Butch Leitzinger/Andy Lally. It was second overall during the early part of the race before an accident with an LMP1 entrant, and subsequent transmission issues and electrical problems dropped them back. The #20 Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder, with Chris Dyson and Guy Smith aboard, lost 24 laps early in the race due to contact with a GT2 car, and later dealt with a leaky power steering rack, resulting in a seventh-place class finish.
Finally, #6 Porsche RS Spyder prepared by Penske Motorsports, with Sascha Maassen/Ryan Briscoe/Emmanuel Collard, spent 13 laps in the pits with a broken brake line in the first hour, and then encountered various electrical problems including a failed alternator which cost the team more than 90 minutes in the garage for repairs. The final results showed an eighth place finish in LMP2 for the #6 entrant.
In GT2, the battle for first place was between the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Jorg Bergmeister/Johannes van Overbeek/Marc Lieb and the #62 Ferrari 430 of Melo/Salo/Mowlem - with the two-car tussle going for more than seven hours. In the last hour, however, in an effort to re- pass the Ferrari, the Lizards pitted to get fresh tires, but the gap created by the pit stop looked like it would be too much to overcome. It was Jorg Bergmeister versus Jamie Melo for the last 30 minutes, with Bergmeister closing the gap to less than one second on the last lap. The cars swapped positions on the last lap, but Melo managed to edge Bergmeister by two-tenths of a second to win the class.
The #71 Wolf Henzler/Robin Liddell/Patrick Long Tafel Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR finished third in class, a podium finish for Tafel in their first-ever American Le Mans Series event. Fourth was the Farnbacher-Loles Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Pierre Ehret/Dirk Werner/Lars Erik Nielsen.