No. 45 Sixth and No. 44 Ninth at Laguna Seca: Late-race Penalty Ends No. 45 Podium Hopes
May 12, 2012 – Salinas, California – It was a disappointing end to today's six- hour ALMS race at Laguna Seca when a late-race stop and go penalty for a pit stop infraction pushed the No. 45 from second in GT to seventh, with just an hour to go in the race. The No. 45 of Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long finished sixth and the No. 44 of Seth Neiman and Marco Holzer finished ninth in class.
Patrick Long started the race fourth in GT in the No. 45 and Marco Holzer started 11th in the No. 44. It was a clean start for the entire field, and the Lizards quickly settled into their racing rhythm. By the first pit stop, less than an hour into the race, Long had moved up to P3 and Marco to P9. Pitting nearly simultaneously, both Lizard Porsches gained positions through fast pit stops with the No. 45 (with Bergmeister now behind the wheel) moving to P2 and Marco Holzer to P5.
At the two-hour mark, the No. 45 was P3 and the No. 44 P4 at the next scheduled pit stop for driver changes to Long and Neiman. By the halfway point, Long was up to P2 and another set of driver changes put Bergmeister back in the No. 45 (now in P3) and Holzer back behind the wheel of the No. 44, now in P9. An hour later, now in P2, Bergmeister pitted again for driver change to Long, who returned to the circuit in P5.
With just over an hour to go, Patrick, now in P2, pitted for final driver change to Bergmeister. During the pit stop, the air jack wand hose caught on the wing of the car, which resulted in a stop and go penalty and pushed Bergmeister to P7.
As Corvette and BMW continued to battle it out for the GT lead over the final hour, Bergmeister moved to P6. With 15 minutes left to go, he pitted for new tires, but there just wasn't enough time to make any progress. The No. 45 had to settle for sixth and the No. 44 finished ninth. The No. 4 Corvette won in GT.
Bergmeister added, "We definitely made a big step forward with the car this week. Unfortunately the pit stop penalty put us out of the running for the podium. At the end, we gambled on new tires to try and gain track position, but we ran out of time. Overall though it was a very successful week - the crew did an excellent job at delivering a solid racecar and once again we were able to gain positions through the fast pit stops."
Holzer commented on his stint, "I had great stints - on the first one, I was running with the GT lead, and in our pit stop we made a huge jump in position from P11 to P5 . The team did a fantastic job: we made progress this week with the new aero package, and with a bit more setup time I think we can get everything completely dialed in. Seth also did a great job today and we had a fun race. Now, I'm looking forward to Le Mans, it will be my first time there with the Lizards."
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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