|The Rahal Letterman Lanigan BMW M3 won the hotly contested GT class|
The hunt for the LMP1 championship in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n lost none of its intensity over the Series’ two-month break. Dyson Racing maintained its title lead with a victory in the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix. The duo of Chris Dyson and Guy Smith exchanged the lead six times with Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing on Saturday and took the overall victory. BMW Team RLL also picked up where it left off, scoring its third consecutive GT victory.
Dyson Racing won by 19.969 seconds over the Muscle Milk squad. It was the first ALMS win for Chris Dyson at his home track. Dyson’s second Lola-Mazda, driven by Humaid Al Masaood and Steven Kane, finished third.
Starting from the pole, Dyson Racing’s Chris Dyson had his work cut out for him in the No. 16 Lola-Mazda, holding off Lucas Luhr’s No. 6 Aston Martin-powered Lola in the opening laps through a swarm of traffic on the 1.474-mile road course. Luhr dispatched Dyson on lap 16, but was then forced to pit early to replace a flat tire.
Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney driving the Gainsco Riley Chevrolet won the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival Powered By Mazda Rolex Grand-AM race at Laguna Seca. The two ex-Champ Car Atlantic series aces beat Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley and Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet/Dallara. The GT class was won by Leh Keen and Andrew Davis driving the No. 59 Brumos Porsche GT3 Cup.
"It was great fun," Dyson said. "Lucas and I were going back and forth from the get-go. It was all about where you positioned yourself. It felt a bit like a video game. Our Mazda was fantastic from the start. I think the car really came into its own at the end of the race. We were lucky to catch the yellow when we did. They fought us hard all the way like they always do."
Both cars hit pit lane on lap 56 during the race`s first full-course caution. Having taken on fuel during its earlier stop, Muscle Milk`s stop was slightly shorter than Dyson`s, allowing Klaus Graf to exit sooner and take the lead.
After leading the race for six laps, traffic again came into play as Graf made contact with a GTC car in the Esses, enabling Smith to retake the lead. Another round of pit stops shuffled the Lola-Aston Martin back into the lead briefly, but Smith grabbed the lead for good on lap 74 of the 187-lap, two-hour and 45-minute race.
"My strategy was to push hard every lap," Smith said. "Push, push, push, but in traffic be patient. Like Chris said, it was a bit like a video game. This is a great win for Dyson racing. Everyone worked extremely hard over rest period."
"It was a great weekend," Dyson Racing owner Rob Dyson said. "It`s been a more successful day than we`ve had. Last year we were in the lead for seven glorious laps, and then done. Then we had a fuel injector stick open. This win ranks really high with all of them.
"Another thing I`d like to do is welcome Humaid and Steve (Kane) to the family. They did a phenomenal job. Both cars did great and ran great. The Muscle Milk guys are terrific guys to compete against; they`re straight up, fair and competitive. They offer tight, hard racing. Not a lot of dirty stuff. This year they got a win and now we have a win."
BMW Team RLL extended its GT winning streak to three as the No. 56 BMW M3 GT of Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller topped Flying Lizard Motorsports` Patrick Long and J?rg Bergmeister in the No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
"Team RLL, BMW, Dunlop, have done a very nice job," Hand said. "The things we have now have made the car more comfortable and more in the zone. That`s how you win races. That`s a real key and real testament to BMW Team RLL and BMW Motorsport. Dunlop is really stepping up. They have a very consistent tire now."
A smart opening-lap pass by Long on the No. 55 BMW M3 driven by Dirk Werner enabled the Porsche driver to move into second and chase after Hand. Behind them, havoc in West Bend damaged both of the Corvettes, Werner`s BMW and the No. 02 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari F458 Italia.
Long and Bergmeister kept their Porsche within striking distance of the leading BMW throughout the race. Though constant traffic provided some hair-raising moments, a true opportunity for a lead change never materialized.
"Winning is always very sweet and very important and it`s good to collect the points," Mueller said. "Like Joey said, we`re in year three. Everything is now coming together like it is supposed to. I think we turned three screws on the car before we started the race. The break (between Long Beach and Lime Rock) was massive but we tested in between. At the level we are racing, it has changed so dramatically. Now we have a car that you need to push from the first second. Winning three times in a row looks so easy now."
Fresh from a podium finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Robertson Racing scored its first ALMS podium with a third-place finish Saturday for David Murry and Anthony Lazzaro. Starting seventh in class, the No. 04 Doran Ford GT first appeared in the top three following the chaos in West Bend. The Ford was eventually caught by Team Falken Tire`s No. 17 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Lazzaro was shown in fourth at the line, but a 90-second avoidable contact penalty on Team Falken Tire elevated Murry and Lazzaro to the final podium position in GT.
Genoa Racing earned its second LMPC victory of the season, though it was the first for the Eric Lux/Elton Julian pairing. The duo exchanged fast race laps with CORE autosport`s Gunnar Jeannette and Ricardo Gonzalez throughout the race, but the Genoa`s ORECA FLM09 won out by 2.246 seconds over CORE`s No. 06 ORECA FLM09.
"Elton did a fantastic job putting it out front," Lux said. "Genoa gave us such a fantastic car. It`s nice to have the first career win in the ALMS to go with the other ones in my career. For the most part, everyone was pretty polite driving-wise. There are a one or two cars you learn to give a little more room. But overall everyone was pretty nice around us."
The win is Julian`s second in a row at Lime Rock Park, his fifth in ALMS competition.
"They are two completely different wins," he said. "Last year we were not the quickest car and had some gearbox problems in qualifying that sent us to the back. We used some smart strategy and had some very, very good stints to bring it to the end. This year we were quick out of the box… My stint was measured, and we had to do a doublestint and Gunnar had fresh rubber so I had to push on old tires. (The late caution) I didn`t like it for sure. We had a 40-second lead. Fortunately there were enough cars between us that allowed me to build up another gap."
Intersport Racing`s Kyle Marcelli and Tomy Drissi completed the LMPC podium in the No. 89 ORECA FLM09.
After two hours and 45 minutes of racing, the GTC battle came down to the final corner of the final lap. TRG`s Dion von Moltke and Mike Piera scored the dramatic victory - their first in ALMS. Black Swan Racing maintained the class lead for the majority of the race, but a late-race pit stop to close the rear deck lid on the No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup promoted TRG`s Spencer Pumpelly and Duncan Ende into the lead. On the final lap, Pumpelly was held up by Henzler`s slowing GT Porsche. Von Moltke seized the opportunity to take the lead and the win.
"That was the craziest race I`ve ever done," von Moltke said. "With two hours left we were a lap down but kept fighting to the lead lap. The call that really won us the race was from the TRG guys to take left-side tires.
"I guess luck fell our way. The Falken car was really slow in a straight line but would get by us in the corners. He got by Spencer and then Spencer went to the outside at West Bend to overtake. They went two wide and I shoved it in there at the Downhill."
Bill Sweedler and Butch Leitzinger completed the GTC podium in the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing scored a repeat MICHELIN® GREEN X Challenge prototype win with the best balance of scores in the Clean, Fast, and Efficient marks. The car consumed less fuel while nearly matching the speed of the Dyson Lola-Mazda even though it weighed 50 kilograms more. The Dyson Lola-Mazda had a better Clean score due to its use of iso-butanol, but it was not enough to eclipse their additional fuel consumption.
Robertson Racing won the MICHELIN® GREEN X Challenge in the GT category for the first time showing impressive efficiency along with excellent speed and environmental performance. Third place on the track showed competitive speed, but the team`s stellar efficiency - more than 12 percent better than the cars they finished closest to - was the key to their first win in the MGXC. Their strong Clean score was the result of efficiency and the choice of E85 fuel.
1. (1) Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Guy Smith, Bracken, Yorkshire; Lola B09 86/Mazda (1, LMP1), 187.
2. (3) Lucas Luhr, Monte Carlo; Klaus Graf, Dornham; AMR/ Lola Coupe B08 62 (2, LMP1), 187.
3. (2) Humaid Al Masaood, Abu Dhabi; Steven Kane, Newtownards; Lola B09/86 Mazda (3, LMP1), 182.
4. (4) Eric Lux, Jacksonville, FL; Elton Julian, Santa Monica, CA; Oreca FLM09 (1, LMPC), 181.
5. (5) Ricardo Gonzalez, Monterrey; Gunnar Jeannette, Salt Lake City, UT; Oreca FLM09 (2, LMPC), 181.
6. (6) Tomy Drissi, Los Angeles, CA; Kyle Marcelli, Barrie, ON; Oreca FLM09 (3, LMPC), 180.
7. (10) Joey Hand, Sacramento, CA; Dirk Mueller, Monte Carlo; BMW M3 GT (1, GT), 176.
8. (12) Patrick Long, Bellaire, FL; Joerg Bergmeister, Langenfield; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (2, GT), 176.
9. (9) Jarrett Boon, Phoenix, AZ; Anthony Nicolosi, Palm Beach, FL; Oreca FLM09 (4, LMPC), 175.
10. (7) Frankie Montecalvo, Highlands, NJ; Jon Bennett, Fort Mill, SC; Oreca FLM09 (5, LMPC), 175.
11. (18) Bryan Sellers, Braselton, GA; Wolf Henzler, Nuertingen; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (3, GT), 174.
12. (16) David Murry, Atlanta, GA; Anthony Lazzaro, Atlanta, GA; Doran Ford GT (4, GT), 174.
13. (19) Scott Sharp, Jupiter, FL; Johannes van Overbeek, San Francisco, CA; Ferrari F458 Italia (5, GT), 174.
14. (21) Bryce Miller, Summit, NJ; Sascha Maassen, Lontzen; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (6, GT), 172.
15. (15) Seth Neiman, San Francisco, CA; Marco Holzer; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (7, GT), 165.
16. (25) Mike Piera, Newtown, Conn.; Dion von Moltke, Coral Gables, FL; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (1, GTC), 164.
17. (26) Duncan Ende, Los Angeles, CA; Spencer Pumpelly, Mason Neck, VA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (2, GTC), 164.
18. (27) Bill Sweedler, Westport, CT; Butch Leitzinger, Rebersburg, PA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (3, GTC), 164.
19. (23) Tim Pappas, Boston, MA; Damien Faulkner, County Donegal; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (4, GTC), 164.
20. (11) Dirk Werner, Kissenbrück; Bill Auberlen, Redondo Beach, CA; BMW M3 GT (8, GT), 163.
21. (14) Olivier Beretta, Monte Carlo; Tommy Milner, Leesburg, VA; Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 (9, GT), 161.
22. (29) James Sofronas, Newport Beach, CA; Alex Welch, Englewood, Colo.; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (5, GTC), 160.
23. (13) Jan Magnussen, Roskilde; Oliver Gavin, Yardley Hastings; Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 (10, GT), 156.
24. (17) Ed Brown, Las Vegas, NV; Guy Cosmo, West Palm Beach, FL; Ferrari F458 Italia (11, GT), 153.
25. (24) Chris Thompson, Englewood, Colo.; Nick Ham, Evergreen, CO; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (6, GTC), 149.
26. (20) Cristiano da Matta, Belo, Horizonte; Bruno Junqueira, Brazil; Jaguar XKR (12, GT), 149.
27. (8) James Kovacic, Forrester Beach; Jon Field, Dublin, OH; Oreca FLM09 (6, LMPC), 126, Mechanical.
28. (28) Andrea Robertson, Ray, MI; David Robertson, Ray, MI; Doran Ford GT/Elan (13, GT), 116, Mechanical.
29. (31) Toni Vilander, Kankaanpaa; Jaime Melo, Milan; Ferrari F458 Italia (14, GT), 79, Mechanical.
30. (22) Peter Lesaffre, Rye, NH; Jaap van Lagen, Ede; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (7, GTC), 74.
31. (30) PJ Jones, Torrance, CA; Rocky Moran, Ladera Ranch, CA; Jaguar XKR (15, GT), 49.