VIR ALMS: Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr put Pickett HPD back on top
|Saturday, September 15th 2012, 22:42 GMT|
Pickett HPD pairing Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf resumed their domination of the American Le Mans Series with a straightforward win on the championship's debut at Virginia International Raceway.
The rival Dyson Lola-Mazda only got close at the start, when Chris Dyson tried to go around the outside of Graf for the lead.
As Dyson backed out of the move, his team-mate Mark Patterson locked up and spun right behind, causing carnage throughout the pack, particularly among the LMPC field.
Graf and Luhr pulled away thereafter, ultimately winning the four-hour race by three laps after Dyson and team-mates Guy Smith and Johnny Mowlem had issues including a pit procedure penalty and a seatbelt problem at a driver change.
The LMP1 title battle will still roll on to next month's Petit Le Mans finale, but GT was resolved at Virginia. Corvette's Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner wrapped up the crown with a class victory, coming home comfortably ahead of the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche and the #01 Extreme Speed Ferrari, with which Johannes van Overbeek had fought hard with Gavin in the opening stint.
The Challenge classes were both settled, with CORE Autosport's Alex Popow becoming LMPC champion and Alex Job Racing's Cooper MacNeil clinching GTC.
Third was sufficient for Popow, sharing with Tom Kimber-Smith, as their team-mates Colin Braun and Jonathan Bennett took the class win.
GTC came down to the very last lap, when the Chris Cumming/Michael Valiante JDX car had to pit from the lead as its fuel ran low, and MacNeil's Alex Job partner Leh Keen held off the NGT Porsche of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Henrique Cisneros to win.
All three LMP2 cars received at least one penalty for contact in traffic. Eventual winners Christophe Bouchut and Scott Tucker had two, yet still took victory. The sister #95 Level 5 car lost second place to flying Conquest driver Martin Plowman on the final lap.
Results - 135 laps: Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. P1 Luhr/Graf Pickett HPD 4h01m17.294s 2. P1 Dyson/Smith/Mowlem Dyson Lola-Mazda + 3 laps 3. P2 Tucker/Bouchut Level 5 HPD + 4 laps 4. P2 Plowman/Heinemeier Hansson Conquest Morgan-Nissan + 4 laps 5. PC Bennett/Braun CORE FLM + 7 laps 6. PC Junco/Franchitti PR1 Mathiasen FLM + 8 laps 7. PC Popow/Kimber-Smith CORE FLM + 8 laps 8. GT Gavin/Milner Corvette + 9 laps 9. GT Bergmeister/Long Flying Lizard Porsche + 9 laps 10. GT Sharp/van Overbeek Extreme Speed Ferrari + 9 laps 11. GT Muller/Auberlen RLL BMW + 9 laps 12. PC Junqueira/Drissi RSR FLM + 10 laps 13. GT Neiman/Holzer Flying Lizard Porsche + 10 laps 14. PC Richard/Ende Dempsey FLM + 11 laps 15. GT Sweedler/Bell Alex Job Lotus + 11 laps 16. GT Henzler/Sellers Falken Porsche + 12 laps 17. GT Magnussen/Garcia Corvette + 13 laps 18. PC Burgess/Sanchez/Lux Merchant FLM + 14 laps 19. GT Muller/Summerton RLL BMW + 15 laps 20. GTC MacNeil/Keen Alex Job Porsche + 17 laps 21. GTC Cisneros/Bleekemolen NGT Porsche + 17 laps 22. GTC Cumming/Valiante JDX Porsche + 17 laps 23. GTC LeSaffre/Faulkner Green Hornet Porsche + 17 laps 24. GTC Di Guida/Pumpelly TRG Porsche + 19 laps 25. GTC Benitez/Benitez NGT Porsche + 19 laps 26. GTC Faieta/Avenatti Competition Porsche + 21 laps Retirements: GT Miller/Maassen Miller Porsche 98 laps P1 Marsal/Patterson/Dyson Dyson Lola-Mazda 94 laps GT Brown/Cosmo Extreme Speed Ferrari 93 laps PC Marcelli/Downs Merchant FLM 32 laps P2 Tucker/Diaz/Gonzalez Level 5 HPD DSQ