• Mar 18th 2007 at 7:19AM
  • 14
UPDATE: Watch the video of the GT2 finish here.

The first race of the 2007 American Le Mans Series is in the books with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring concluding in utterly spectacular fashion. Before we get to the story of the race -- the jaw-dropping GT2 finish -- we need to fill you in on the rest of the action. Audi, as expected, took the overall win as Marco Werner drove the #2 car across the finish line, giving Audi its 8th consecutive win at the event. Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela were the co drivers on the winning machine. The defending champion #1 Audi, which was essentilly rebuilt following a practice crash Thursday night finished fourth overall with Tom Kristensen, Dindo Capello, Allan MacNish, and Le Mans god Tom Kristensen behind the wheel.

In P2, Acura made a smashing debut, taking the first two spots in the class and second and third place overall. The Andretti Green Racing team of bryan Herta, Dario Franchitti, and Tony Kanaan took the class win (2nd overall) in their Acura ARX-01a. They were followed by the Fernandez Racing Acura (3rd overall), with the #7 Penske Porsche taking the final P2 podium spot and fifth place overall.

GT1, as expected, was an all-Corvette affair, with the #4 car piloted by Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta, and Max Papis edging its sister, the striking white #3 car helmed by Ron Fellows (in whose honor the car wore its new finish), Johnny O'Connell, and Jan Magnussen. 17 seconds separated the two 'Vette C6.Rs.

That leaves the epic GT2 finish, which we'll detail for you after the jump.

[Sources: ALMS, Motorsport.com]

The GT2 finish at Sebring is what everyone's going to talk about for a long, long time. As the final lap began after a full 12 hours of racing, the Risi Competizione Ferrari 430GT driven by Jaime Melo held a .555-second edge over Flying Lizard's Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, which had Jorg Bergmeister behind the wheel. It was going to be Ferrari vs. Porsche in a winner-take-all 1 lap showdown, and what a show they put on.

Bergmeister, running a more powerful car with fresher tires, was stalking Melo when the Ferrari locked its brakes going into the hairpin (Turn 7), letting Bergmeister and the Porsche get right on his tail. Melo was forced to simply defend against Bergmeister's onslaught, and the Porsche almost made a successful pass on the inside at Turn 10. With fireworks exploding on the horizon for the Audi, which had by now won the race, the Porsche/Ferrari duel simply became more intense.

Coming out of Turn 16 and into the final straightaway, Bergmeister did get inside position, setting up a wheel-to-wheel drag race to the final turn. The SPEED coverage was magnificent, with cameras mounted on both cars, and viewers were treated to the sight of the Porsche pulling ahead, only to have the Ferrari find a little extra, taking the lead back for a moment before Bergmeister regained the lead flying into Turn 17, the last of the race.

That's when it happened. Going through 17, Bergmeister, who had the inside line going into the turn, went a little wide, allowing Melo to take the Ferrari inside. As they exited, the cars were wheel-to-wheel once again, and Melo gave Bergmeister a very NASCAR-style rub, which was enough to let the Risi Ferrari shake loose and cut ahead of the Porsche for the checkered flag. It was incredible, and if this is the level of competition the 2007 ALMS season has in store for us, we couldn't be happier.

Watch the video of the GT2 finish here.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow i wish i could have seen that! I cant seem to find video of it, but hey maybe something will pop up on youtube ;D! congrats to the Corvettes, and good luck to Ron Fellows, one of the best drivers the sport has ever seen.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Great racing... I can't remember a better finish in GT2.

      I'm from Brazil, rooting for Melo, but to me, the final contact was wrong. Plain wrong. Melo was on the inside on the last corner and just pushed Bergmeister out as he came from behind. If he had held his inside line, the Porsche would have won. Not good!
      • 8 Years Ago
      um thanks for spoiling the results of the american lemans, i was hoping to watch it from dvr today...
      • 8 Years Ago
      I dunno, I think that the Ferrari driver was unsportsmanlike in drawing first blood by banging the Porsche, and then doing it one more time. Bergmeister can be overheard on the radio stating that they should file a protest. This is not nascar racing! If it's nascar style racing that they wanted, then they should have kept banging each other past the finish line and had a fistfight afterwards!!!!

      Still, an amazing sight, something you would never expect in an endurance race.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I don't think Melo did anything wrong. When Bergmeister passed the Ferrari on the inside, he pushed the Melo out, but Melo MOVED OUT OF THE WAY so they wouldn't hit. When Melo did the same thing, Bergmeister stayed put so Melo would make contact.

      Both cars lose speed when they make contact, why would the LESS powerful car, with the better line, purposely dump speed that way?

      Bergmeister went on to tell the cameras that Melo put him into the wall twice. With all the replays Speed had, I didn't see him touch the wall.

      I think it's just a bit of crybabying. Melo outdrove him in those last few corners.

      But regardless of how you look at it, there is nothing like seeing a 12 hour race decided by 0.2 seconds!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Good hard racing! I'm pleased to see the Ferrari come out on top!

      That said, that was a bad move at the end. What ya'll are missing here is that the move came at a spot on the track where the outer wall kicks in sharply toward the track (go back and review the u-tube clip!)......the Porsche really had no alternative but to back off as additional rubbing would most surely have had him into the wall at (pretty) high speed.

      I seem to recall a very nasty Prototype destruction at just that spot a few years back. One has to wonder why that hazard hasn't been dealt with by the track. Shame on you!
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think Melo first nudged the Bergmeister with his nose, which slowed down the Porsche, then he pushed him into the wall. Unfortunate being on the outside in that case. I was rooting for the Ferrari, especially after that bad luck pit-penalty, but I thought that was dirty pool.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Awesome YouTube video showing the end of the race.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Thanks for clearing some of that up. I was there seated at the end of pit lane. At night it was hard to see what if anything happened coming out of 17. All we saw was the end of a photo finish and Bergmeister bumping Melo into pit lane after they had already finished. Everyone up where i was simply thought Bergmeister was upset he lost by such a margin. I had no idea of what happened coming out of the Ulmann Straight
      • 8 Years Ago
      after watcing the video. it was just good racing. there is no reason to complain about "nascar" racing. they are two drivers that happen to have very closely matched cars that were able to be that close after 12 HOURS of racing. I was there, it was aweomse. i was pulling for the lizard, but in the end they took second. great race i do say.
      • 8 Years Ago
      dang - any of this up on utube?
      • 8 Years Ago
      You told it just like I saw it, over and over on DVR replay. This could be one crazy season. Dammit, I hate the fact that the ProDrive Aston Martins left.

      Too bad about the Porsche Spyders, hope the get them sorted out. Those P2 Acuras are going to be trouble.
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