Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Thrilling 6-Hour Endurance Race
MONTEREY, CA – In what was a thrilling 6-hour endurance race, Patron Highcroft Racing again took top honors with the HPD ARX-01c piloted by Brabham/Pagenaud/Franchitti. Starting from 33rd position, the Patron team had to work hard. Only 78 minutes after the start, Pagenaud managed to claim the lead. “The opening laps were pretty exciting. Starting at the back you have to find motivation and that was getting to the front” commented Pagenaud. Though the Patron car ran strong, by no means was it an easy race to win. Four cars led the race – Patron Highcroft, Dyson Racing, Muscle Milk Team Cytosport and Intersport Racing – but the Highcroft vs. Dyson match was the most exciting. The Dyson Lola-Mazda, also battling to the front after an early spin, gave the Highcroft car a run-for-its-money. The cars were 1 and 2 for over 2-1/2 hours. A cunning pit strategy by the Patron team placed Franchitti 30 seconds over the Lola with 45 minutes left in the race. Foregoing new tires, Franchitti stated that “it was a bit like drifting.” The LMP-2 Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder placed second overall.
The GT-class promised to be a thriller – and it was! Eight different cars led the race including three Ferraris, 2 Corvettes, 2 BMWs, a Porsche and a partridge in a pear tree. But on the final restart, an aggressive pass of Joey Hand’s BMW by Patrick Long, the Flying Lizard Porsche was at the front when the 6-hours were up. “It was definitely a bit more relaxing for me,” said Bergmeister, who got to watch this year. “I knew Patrick would do a good job because he has been good all week long. There were some who thought it wouldn't work out because the BMW was charging but I knew that Patrick would work it out and pull away.” Joey Long had a different perspective: “It was unfortunate,” Hand said of the finish. “We had the car to beat in the second half of the race. That last restart, that gaggle. I went when they said ‘green’ and by that point Long was past me. His green was at a different time than mine, I think.” He went on to say “I’m not going to say [he jumped it], but I can tell you when I was told ‘green’, he was by me, slamming me in my door. It was disappointing because you could tell that I could get back the Corvette and hunt down Long. He’s a good racer. We’ve raced together since we were kids.”