Flying Lizard No. 45 Fifteenth in GT in the Rolex 24 At Daytona
January 29, 2012 - Daytona Beach, Florida - The Flying Lizard No. 45 finished fifteenth in GT at today's Rolex 24 At Daytona. Patrick Long started fourth on the 44-car GT grid in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which was run in conjunction with Wright Motorsports. It was a clean start for both classes; Long drove an uneventful 90-minute double stint, turning the wheel over to Mike Rockenfeller in P3. For the next 90 minutes, Rockenfeller fought some setup issues and a strong understeer, but kept the No. 45 free of several incidents that resulted in lengthy full course cautions.
At the three-hour mark, Joerg Bergmeister headed out in P9. Over his two-hour plus stint, Bergmeister moved to P2. After a pit stop and driver change to Seth Neiman, the No. 45 was on track again eighth in class. Neiman was nearing the end of his stint when the crew lost radio contact and called him into the pits. The No. 45 then made contact with another car, causing only minor damage to the left side but pushing the No. 45 back in the field.
After a driver change to Long, the No. 45 was back out on track, but was now in P16 and two laps down. For the rest of the evening, the Lizards continued to cycle through their driver lineup with few issues. Over the next 90 minutes, and several more full course cautions, Long was able to progress to P13, then turned the wheel over to Neiman, then Rockenfeller.
Over the long night, Mike Rockenfeller did a quadruple stint: he climbed from P19 to P15. Bergmeister took over at 3:40 am and continued to hold position over the next 2.5 hours, even with an unscheduled pit stop to replace the left rear wheel which had a strong vibration. At 6:00 am, Long took over, moving up to P10 over the next 2.5 hours. Seth Neiman was up next for an uneventful double stint, passing the No. 45 back to Mike Rockenfeller at 10 am in P11.
Rockenfeller and Bergmeister both slogged through multiple full course cautions in their stints, with the entire field becoming increasingly confused about track order during the wavebys, passes, and restarts. By 1 pm, and a driver change to Long, the No. 45 had progressed to P 10. With more cautions to come, Long was still able to avoid any major incidents and moved up to P8 as the attrition continued.
With less than 90 minutes left in the race, Patrick lost power steering and pitted immediately for the crew to diagnose the problem. The No. 45 went behind the wall to the garage, where the crew replaced the power steering pump. The No. 45 returned quickly to the track with Seth Neiman behind the wheel, but the repair cost the team precious time. With only one hour left, the No. 45 had to settle for a fifteenth place finish. The No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche won in GT.
Up Next -- The American Le Mans Series
The Lizards head to Sebring, Florida next week with their new 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs for the ALMS Winter Test, Feb 9-10. The season kicks off with the ALMS flagship race, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 17, 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 2011, finishing third in 2005, fourth in 2006, sixth in 2008, and sixth in 2011.
The privateer team is based in Sonoma, California.
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