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Houston 2007: Bernhard, Dumas win again.

Timo Bernhard used a strong restart to pull away from Bryan Herta on Saturday and then withstood a furious charge from the Andretti Green Racing driver to give Penske Motorsports a hard-earned victory in the Lone Star Grand Prix.

It was the team's second straight overall victory in the American Le Mans Series and third in the past year.

Bernhard and Romain Dumas won on a street course for the second straight week in their Porsche RS Spyder. Herta brought the Andretti Green Racing Acura ARX home second with Marino Franchitti, just 0.49 seconds behind Bernhard as LMP2 cars took the top two spots.

Dumas and Bernhard were forced to retire last year with a drivetrain problem after Dumas qualified on the overall front row and led for most of the early going.

"Last year we led the race here and had a technical problem. We were thinking it would be different this week," Dumas said. "Timo wasn't too sure at first but I think he likes it now. It's really great and it's a big deal. Before the race we knew that the car was quick but we have to think about the championship for the class and not overall wins."

Following a spin by Jim Tafel's Porsche and the subsequent caution, Bernhard jumped out to a 5.9-second lead with 30 minutes remaining. Herta cut the gap to under a second with eight minutes to go but ran out of time and laps at the end.

"The last 30 minutes were the toughest of my life," Bernhard said. "I knew I had to push really hard on the restart and gained about 6 seconds. I thought I could ease up but when we caught traffic, Bryan caught back up to me. Then I got caught in more traffic. Nothing is predictable there. In this kind of racing, you have to be focused all the time."

"It was exciting," said Herta, who finished second overall and won in LMP2 with Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan at Sebring. "I was looking for some traffic to help me get up to the Porsche. It would have been more fun if I had won. This car is so good. This is only its fourth race but it's incredible."

Rinaldo Capello was third overall and first in LMP1 for Audi Sport North America in the Audi R10 TDI. Capello finished 1.341 seconds behind Bernhard and won in class for the third straight event with Allan McNish. Sascha Maassen was third in LMP2 and fourth overall in the other Penske Porsche.

Capello was in position for the overall win until a pair of unfortunate events set him back. First was a punctured left front tire near the one-hour mark. He gained ground and was running third overall until he drove through Turn 6 following contact with a GT2 Porsche. But the late yellow was just what he needed to get back in contention.



Related Pictures

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American Lemans Series. 16 April 2007. Grand Prix of Houston. Reliant Park.  Houston, Texas. Romain Dumas
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#6 Muscle Milk Team Cytosport Porsche RS Spyder`s Romain Dumas.
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#6 Muscle Milk Team Cytosport Porsche RS Spyder`s Romain Dumas.
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