15 April 2007
Long Beach 2007: Penske heads Porsche 1-2-3..
"It pretty much came down to the pit-stops," Gavin admitted, "When I was in the car after the caution, my tyres didn't come back and Jan was on me pretty hard. I had to push in traffic to keep him away and that allowed us a little space for the crew to get us out in front of the #3 car. Olivier did a great job of keeping the #3 car behind him."
While the focus for Gavin and Beretta is on winning a third straight ALMS championship, they also are looking forward to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, where they will go for four consecutive wins - and face a deal more opposition that is currently provided in the US series..
"We are both professional teams - they want to win and we want to win," Beretta said, "We just want to not mess up the car and be big on preparations for Le Mans. Everyone is waiting for that. It's always tough to know where Aston Martin is, and Saleen will be there too, but the last three years have been good, so we'll just wait and see."
Jaime Melo and Mika Salo also won their third straight race, taking GT2 for Ferrari and Risi Competizione. The class championship leaders were five seconds ahead of the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche of Patrick Long and Darren Law at the flag, with the second Risi Ferrari, driven by Anthony Lazzaro and Nic Jonsson, third on the road. The win was the fifth straight for Melo and Salo, dating back to Salt Lake City last season.
"I just tried to push as much at the start as possible at the beginning and keep the gap to second place," Melo reported, "At the yellow, we lost all the gap and decided to change drivers. Mika did a very great job and the guys on the team made a great strategy. For us, it is great to win another race. We have a good gap between us and Porsche."
The Flying Lizard Porsches and one of the Panoz Team PTGs Panoz Esperante GTLMs challenged the Ferraris throughout. In the end, fuel economy and the Ferrari's handling won out over the power of the Porsches and Panoz. Melo and Salo will go for their sixth straight win together next week in Risi's hometown of Houston.
"We knew we could go until the end on fuel after the stop," Salo said, "We weren't much quicker than the second Porsche. I was coasting on the straight line and riding the clutch to save fuel. It was a great job by the engineers. We definitely want to win Houston, as it is our home race."
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