Sean Edwards (shown above)celebrates the MOMO NGT Porsche 911 GT3 Cup GTC win he earned with Henrique Ciscneros at Long Beach
Long Beach. After running first and second during the weekend's only practice ses-sion, both the Team Falken Tire and the Paul Miller Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs were anticipating a strong run for today's two-hour American Le Mans Series street race in Southern California, but fate did not smile on the Porsche teams.
At the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by the Falken Tire squad, Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Bryan Sellers (USA) had a strong chance for a podium finish, but the team delayed their fuel and tire stop until the last of a series of caution periods gambling that the others who stopped early could not make it to the end on fuel. It put them in the lead of the GT class for almost 35 minutes, but others made it to the end on fuel without stopping, and the Porsche lost track position it could not make up when it finally pitted. Henzler took over the driving chores for the final stint, and passed several cars, but his luck ran out with only 14 minutes left when he was penalized after tangling with the #93 Viper, pushing their final finishing position back to tenth place.
"This was a different result than we were hoping for," said Henzler, who had passed two Corvettes and the Paul Miller Racing Porsche before the incident.
"We had a good car, and I thought I could reach the podium in the last few laps. I wasn't close enough to pass the Viper for fourth place, but I stuck the nose of the car underneath him at turn one to see how he and his car would react, and I'm not sure what happened, but the brakes locked up, and we touched and spun. It was my fault, but I wasn't trying to pass at that corner - just trying to test," said Henzler.
The Paul Miller Porsche finished sixth, the top-finishing Porsche in GT, with Porsche works driver Marco Holzer (Germany) and Bryce Miller (USA) at the wheel. Holzer was fastest in practice yesterday, but a wheel and tire issue prevented the car from getting a qualifying time yesterday, and the car started at the back of the class.
"Since we were forced to the back of the pack for the start, we had to take some risks both on the track and with our strategy. It didn't work out the way we had hoped, but considering everything, a sixth place finish was good. We have made a step forward with the car since Sebring, and will carry that to Laguna Seca," said Holzer.
In the GTC class for matched Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars, the podium was pop-ulated by three new teams for the Long Beach street race. The NGT MOMO Porsche led almost the whole race with Henrique Cisneros (USA) starting the car and Sean Edwards (GB) taking the checkered flag. Neither driver had raced at Long Beach previously, and Edwards pointed out that it was not easy for the amateur Cisneros to learn with only limited practice.
"As a veteran Porsche Supercup competitor, I have driven many street courses, and won at Monaco, perhaps the toughest of them all, but I was really impressed with Henrique's performance here. By the time I got into the car, I just had to keep it off the wall and save fuel and tires. NGT had a great strategy, and, after leading, but then running out of fuel last year at Road America, it was great to win here," said Edwards.
The Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Spencer Pumpelly (USA) and Nelson Canache, Jr. (VEN), finished second for the second race in a row, and took the points lead in GTC, the team's first GTC appearance at Long Beach. The other Lizard Porsche, with Dion von Moltke and Brian Wong (USA) finished third.
Round three of the American Le Mans Series takes place on 11 May at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California.
#55 Bill Auberlen/Redondo Beach, CA; Maxime Martin / Brussel, Belgium; BMW Z4 GTE - 78 laps
#56 Dirk Müller/Tägerwilen, CH; Joey Hand/Sacramento, CA; BMW Z4 GTE - 78 laps
#91 Marc Goossens/Geel, Belgium; Dominik Farnbacher/Ansbach, Germany; SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R - 78 laps
#4 Oliver Gavin /Northhamptonshire, England; Tommy Milner / Leesburg, VA; Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 - 78 laps
#3 Jan Magnussen / Roskilde, Denmark; Antonio Garcia / Barcelona, Spain; Corvette C6 ZR1 - 78 laps
#48 Bryce Miller/Summit, NJ; Marco Holzer/Bobingen, Germany; Paul Miller Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR - 78 laps
#23 Bill Sweedler/Westport, CT; Townsend Bell / San Luis Obispo, CA; AJR/ Boardwalk Ferrari F458 - 77 laps
#93 Jonathan Bomarito/Monterey, CA; Kuno Wittmer /Montreal, QC; SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R - 77 laps
#62 Olivier Beretta/Monte Carlo, MC; Matteo Malucelli / Meldola, IT; Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 - 77 laps
#17 Wolf Henzler/Nürtingen, Germany/Bryan Sellers / Atlanta, GA; Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR - 76 laps
GTC - all Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
#30 Henrique Cisneros/Miami, FL; Sean Edwards /Monaco, MC; NGT Motorsport MOMO - 75 laps
#45 Nelson Canache Jr./Caracas, Venezuela; Spencer Pumpelly / Atlanta, GA; Flying Lizard Motorsports - 75 laps
#44 Brian Wong Newport Beach, CA; Dion von Moltke / Coral Gables, FL; Flying Lizard Motorsports - 75 laps
#22 Cooper MacNeil/Hindsale, IL; Jeroen Bleekemolen / Monte Carlo, MC; Alex Job Racing WeatherTech - 75 laps
#68 Bret Curtis/Valencia, CA; Craig Stanton / Long Beach, CA; TRG Spectra Resources Corporation - 75 laps
#27 Patrick Dempsey/Malibu, CA; Joe Foster / Suwanee, GA; Dempsey Del Piero
Racing - 73 laps
1. Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Chevrolet, 34 points
Maxime Martin, Bill Auberlen, BMW, 34
2. Marc Goossens, Dominik Farnbacher, SRT Viper, 25
3. Richard Westbrook, Chevrolet Corvette, 24
Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, BMW, 24
4. Olivier Beretta, Matteo Malucelli, Ferrari, 22
5. Gianmaria Bruni, Ferrari, 20
6. Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers, Porsche, 18
7. Richard Lietz, Marco Holzer, Bryce Miller, Porsche, 16
Manufacturers - GT
1. Chevrolet, 34
2. SRT Viper, 25
3. Ferrari, 24
4. Porsche, 23
Teams - GT
1. Corvette Racing, Chevrolet, 34
Rahal RLL, BMW, 34
2. SRT Viper, 25
3. RISI, Ferrari, 22
4. Team Falken Tire, Porsche, 18