Sunday, Apr 15 06:53pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Earl Bamber robbed of almost certain victory

A suspension failure for Earl Bamber and co-driver Laurens Vanthoor denied the Porsche pair from getting victory on the streets of Long Beach.


Bamber was well placed to win with his Belgian teammate, but a suspension failure foreced him to retire. 


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The race began in dramatic fashion when one of the prototype contenders spun out on the opening lap. That brought out the safety car and the field bunched up again.


Bamber’s teammate Vanthoor led the GTLM field, but their teammate Patrick Pilet made contact with another car and dropped down to fourth.


The second safety car came out with just over an hour to go. The pit lane came alive with every car making the trip to the bay for their respective stops. Bamber re-joined the circuit behind BMW driver Alexander Sims.


“My start was really good,” Vanthoor said.


“We’d actually put a plan in place this morning because the start in Long Beach is very important due to the fact that overtaking is not easy on this narrow racetrack. This plan worked well.


“At the start, I immediately overtook the Ford polesitter and then tried to control the race without risking too much. That worked up until the pit stop. Earl then did a great job until a technical defect put the final spoke in the works.” 


Bamber was strong and got past Sims and got back into the lead. But with 22 minutes to go he was forced to the pit lane to retired with broken suspension.


“Our 911 RSR ran very well on this track,” Bamber said.


“The guys did one quick pit stop and we were holding a comfortable lead. But then something went wrong with the suspension and that was the end of our race.


“It’s a shame for the team, but such things happen. Now we’ll be back to attack in Mid-Ohio.”


The sister Porsche 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy finished sixth following several incidents. Their no. 911 came back battered and bruised after contact on the opening laps dropped them down the order.


Photo: Porsche