Long Beach ALMS: Graf defeats Heidfeld in Pickett vs Rebellion dice
|By Scott Mitchell||Sunday, April 21st 2013, 01:51 GMT|
Pickett Racing played the perfect strategy to claim a comfortable American Le Mans Series victory on the streets of Long Beach.
Lucas Luhr took advantage of one of three first-hour cautions to pit from second after just 25 minutes, handing over to Klaus Graf.
A stop-start opening hour was led by Neel Jani for Rebellion Racing but Graf had worked his way up to second by the halfway point.
The duo pitted at the same time under the third caution and the Pickett HPD, requiring less fuel and no driver change courtesy of the early stop, jumped the Rebellion Toyota.
Nick Heidfeld gave chase once racing resumed but Graf made better headway through traffic and by the time the #12 car had made it through, Heidfeld was more than 20s adrift - the gap extending to 36s by the finish.
CORE Autosport was third overall with its LMPC machine, Colin Braun and Jonathan Bennett claiming a dominant class victory.
The final place on the rostrum had been left up grabs for the lower classes when Chris Dyson made a mistake 17 minutes in, hitting the wall while chasing erstwhile leader Jani and stopping on circuit; the Dyson Racing team's race over prematurely.
Luis Diaz and Mike Guasch were second for PR1 in the PC class after a lonely drive, well clear of class polemen Bruno Junqueira and Duncan Ende.
The first three LMPCs were impressively clear of the first LMP2 car of Scott Sharp/Guy Cosmo, which finished sixth overall. Johannes van Overbeek and Ed Brown, the next LMP2, finished eighth.
The LMP2 polesitting Level 5 HPD ran into a series of problems, including a pit penalty.
Bill Auberlen took the GT class win for BMW by stealth, recovering from an opening lap mistake by team-mate Maxime Martin before slipping by long-time leader Dominik Farnbacher in the SRT Viper in the final stages.
The RLL BMW was only fifth fastest in qualifying but steadily worked its way to the front and when Farnbacher ran wide with 20 minutes to go Auberlen took full advantage. The Dirk Muller/Joey Hand shared BMW then snatched second from the #91 Viper on the penultimate lap of the race.
The NGT Porsche just held off the attentions of Flying Lizard duo Spencer Pumpelly and Nelson Canache Jr to take GTC honours, Henrique Cisneros and Sean Edwards - in his first race at Long Beach - claiming the class victory.
Results - 80 laps: Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. P1 Graf/Luhr Pickett HPD 2h00m23.577s 2. P1 Heidfeld/Jani Rebellion Lola-Toyota + 36.329s 3. PC Bennett/Braun CORE FLM + 1 laps 4. PC Guasch/Diaz PR1 MathiasenFLM + 1 laps 5. PC Junqueira/Ende RSR FLM + 1 laps 6. P2 Sharp/Cosmo Extreme Speed HPD + 1 laps 7. GT Auberlen/Martin RLL BMW + 2 laps 8. P2 Brown/van Overbeek Extreme Speed HPD + 2 laps 9. GT Müller/Hand RLL BMW + 2 laps 10. GT Goossens/Farnbacher SRT Viper + 2 laps 11. GT Gavin/Milner Corvette + 2 laps 12. GT Magnussen/Garcia Corvette + 2 laps 13. GT Miller/Holzer Miller Porsche + 2 laps 14. GT Sweedler/Bell West/AJR Ferrari + 3 laps 15. GT Bomarito/Wittmer SRT Viper + 3 laps 16. GT Beretta/Malucelli Risi Ferrari + 3 laps 17. PC Drissi/Mitchell BAR1 FLM + 3 laps 18. PC Nunez/Shears Performance Tech FLM + 4 laps* 19. GT Henzler/Sellers Falken Porsche + 4 laps 20. GTC Cisneros/Edwards NGT Porsche + 5 laps 21. GTC Canache/Pumpelly Flying Lizard Porsche + 5 laps 22. GTC Wong/von Moltke/Pumpelly Flying Lizard Porsche + 5 laps 23. GTC MacNeil/Bleekemolen Alex Job Porsche + 5 laps 24. GTC Curtis/Stanton TRG Porsche + 5 laps 25. PC Marcelli/Cumming BAR1 FLM + 5 laps 26. GTC Dempsey/Foster Dempsey Del Piero Porsche + 7 laps 27. GTC Keating/Faulkner TRG Porsche + 7 laps 28. P2 Tucker/Briscoe Level 5 HPD + 14 laps 29. GTC Hedlund/Heylen JDX Porsche + 18 laps 30. P2 Tucker/Franchitti Level 5 HPD + 23 laps * Not running at finish Retirements: P1 Dyson/Smith Dyson Lola-Mazda 17 laps GTC Calvert-Jones/Ballou Competition Porsche 6 laps GTC Avenatti/Faieta Dempsey Del Piero Porsche 5 laps