Pickett Racing's Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf take incredible American Le Mans Series win at Lime Rock
|Saturday, July 7th 2012, 21:58 GMT|
Pickett Racing's Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf came back from nearly five laps down to take a remarkable American Le Mans Series victory at Lime Rock.
Luhr had initially taken the lead from polesitter Chris Dyson's Dyson Lola-Mazda just six laps into the race, and then edged away only for a gearshift issue to force a long pitstop for their HPD after 45 minutes, dropping them to 21st overall.
Dyson and team-mate Guy Smith were left in a seemingly dominant position, but a blistering charge by Luhr got his car back into contention, while a puncture cost Dyson some of its cushion.
The timing of yellows and pitstops then meant that with half an hour to go, the two LMP1 cars were nose to tail approaching a restart. Graf was soon past Smith and able to clinch Pickett's third win in succession as a late accident led to the race finishing under yellow.
Level 5 claimed another LMP2 victory after a complicated weekend. An issue with the series' driving time regulations led to the team withdrawing its #95 car and saw the #55 put to the back of the grid. Christophe Bouchut surged through the field and led overall for a while, but his team-mate Scott Tucker came under heavy late pressure from the Conquest Morgan-Nissan of Martin Plowman and David Heinemeier Hansson late on. The yellow-flag finish settled it in Level 5's favour.
Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister gave Porsche's flagship Flying Lizard team its first GT victory of 2012, just ahead of the Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia and Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner Corvettes. The former survived an early tangle with Dyson, while the latter led initially.
Extreme Speed's Ferraris were also part of the GT lead fight until both cars were involved in clashes with LMPC cars. The second of these was the incident that caused the last-minute yellow, as a big crash for Guy Cosmo ended the #02 Ferrari's day when it was in a tense four-car lead train with the #45 Porsche and the two Corvettes.
The Rahal Letterman Lanigan-run BMW team had a tough afternoon. A pre-race fuel leak meant its polesitting #55 car started from the pits, and an early puncture delayed the #56.
CORE Autosport took an LMPC one-two, Colin Braun and Jonathan Bennett leading home Alex Popow and Tom Kimber-Smith. PR1 Mathiasen was among the CORE cars until Butch Leitzinger tangled with Scott Sharp's Extreme Speed Ferrari, while the polesitting Merchant Services car cut out on track just 15 minutes in.
Alex Job converted its GTC pole into victory for Cooper MacNeil and Leh Keen.
Results - 168 laps: Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. P1 Luhr/Graf Pickett HPD 2h45m31.207s 2. P1 Dyson/Smith Dyson Lola-Mazda + 12.392s 3. P2 Tucker/Bouchut Level 5 HPD + 27.024s 4. P2 Plowman/Heinemeier Hansson Conquest Morgan-Nissan + 27.212s 5. PC Bennett/Braun CORE FLM + 4 laps 6. PC Popow/Kimber-Smith CORE FLM + 4 laps 7. P2 Dempsey/Foster Dempsey Lola-Judd + 6 laps 8. PC Richard/Ende Dempsey FLM + 6 laps 9. GT Bergmeister/Long Flying Lizard Porsche + 8 laps 10. GT Magnussen/Garcia Corvette + 8 laps 11. GT Gavin/Milner Corvette + 8 laps 12. GT Sharp/van Overbeek Extreme Speed Ferrari + 8 laps 13. GT Hand/Muller RLL BMW + 9 laps 14. GT Muller/Auberlen RLL BMW + 9 laps 15. GT Henzler/Sellers Falken Porsche + 10 laps 16. GT Miller/Maassen Miller Porsche + 11 laps 17. GT Neiman/Holzer Flying Lizard Porsche + 11 laps 18. GT Sweedler/Bell Alex Job Lotus + 12 laps 19. PC Leitzinger/Dobson PR1 Mathiasen FLM + 12 laps 20. GT Brown/Cosmo Extreme Speed Ferrari + 15 laps* 21. P1 Marsal/Lux Dyson Lola-Mazda + 15 laps 22. GTC MacNeil/Keen Alex Job Porsche + 17 laps 23. GTC LeSaffre/Faulkner Green Hornet Porsche + 17 laps 24. GTC Sofronas/Welch GMG Porsche + 18 laps 25. GTC Cumming/Valiante JDX Porsche + 18 laps 26. GTC LeSaffre/Lazzaro Green Hornet Porsche + 20 laps 27. PC Junqueira/Drissi RSR FLM + 22 laps 28. GTC Piera/Pumpelly TRG Porsche + 23 laps Retirements: PC Marcelli/Downs Merchant FLM 21 laps * Not running at flag