Highcroft wins again at Miller
|By Matt Beer||Sunday, July 11th 2010, 23:29 GMT|
Highcroft's Simon Pagenaud and David Brabham took their HPD to a third straight victory in the American Le Mans Series at Miller Motorsports Park - but had to work hard to defeat the Drayson and Intersport teams.
It was Intersport's Jon Field who took full advantage of his LMP1-based Lola-AER's power to burst from fifth to first at the start, while the LMP2-derived Highcroft HPD was shuffled back to sixth.
Drayson Lola-Judd driver Jonny Cocker took the fight to Intersport in the opening laps and made it into the lead near the half hour mark.
Meanwhile Highcroft was picking its way slowly forward, and when the leaders all pitted under yellow after an hour, Pagenaud's crew got him out fastest and into the lead.
He would lose that advantage again to the two Lolas during the next stint, but then ran eight laps further than his main rivals before making his final pitstop half an hour from the end.
That was enough to vault Pagenaud back into the lead, 15s ahead of Cocker's team-mate Emanuele Pirro, and he inched slightly further away before clinching the win and bolstering his and Brabham's points lead still further.
With the Dyson Lola-Mazda stopping on track in the last half hour and Intersport losing time when Field made contact with the Green Earth Gunnar LMPC car, the CytoSport Porsche emerged in third.
Risi Ferrari dominated in GT with Jaime Melo and Gianmaria Bruni, who were only briefly headed when the #92 Rahal Letterman BMW decided to stay out as the other lead GT cars all pitted under an early yellow.
That strategy helped the #92 crew to second, ahead of the #3 Corvette, which fought back after a late penalty for running over its air hose.
Two punctures cost erstwhile GT points leader Flying Lizard Porsche, which fell to fifth in class ahead of the Giancarlo Fisichella/Toni Vilander Risi Ferrari, which was hampered by a back of the grid start after failing a ride height test, and later by a penalty for avoidable contact.
Victories in the one-make classes went to Level 5's Christophe Bouchut and Scott Tucker in LMPC and Black Swan Racing's Jeroen Bleekemolen and Tim Pappas in GTC.
Pos Cl Drivers Car Time/Gap 1. P Brabham/Pagenaud HPD 2h45m43.162s 2. P Cocker/Pirro Lola + 19.116s 3. P Pickett/Graf Porsche + 1m30.374s 4. P Field/Field Lola + 3 laps 5. PC Tucker/Bouchut ORECA + 5 laps 6. PC Jeannette/Zugel ORECA + 6 laps 7. PC Figge/Hyatt ORECA + 6 laps 8. PC Tucker/Wallace ORECA + 6 laps 9. GT Melo/Bruni Ferrari + 6 laps 10. GT Auberlen/Milner BMW + 6 laps 11. GT Magnussen/O'Connell Corvette + 7 laps 12. GT Mueller/Hand BMW + 7 laps 13. GT Bergmeister/Long Porsche + 7 laps 14. GT Fisichella/Vilander Ferrari + 7 laps 15. GT Sharp/van Overbeek Ferrari + 8 laps 16. GT Brown/Cosmo Ferrari + 8 laps 17. GT Sellers/Henzler Porsche + 8 laps 18. P Willman/Burgess Lola + 9 laps 19. GT Beretta/Gavin Corvette + 9 laps 20. GT Law/Neiman Porsche + 10 laps 21. GTC Pappas/Bleekemolen Porsche + 11 laps 22. GTC Richard/Lally Porsche + 11 laps 23. GTC Rodriguez/Bieker Porsche + 12 laps 24. GTC Lewis/Vento Porsche + 12 laps 25. GTC Miller/Hines Porsche + 13 laps 26. GTC Beggs/Baron Porsche + 13 laps 27. GT Robertson/Robertson/Murry Doran Ford + 13 laps 28. GTC Curtis/Sofronas Porsche + 13 laps 29. GTC Sweedler/Kapudija Porsche + 14 laps Retirements: P Dyson/Smith Lola-Mazda 73 laps GT Dalziel/Goossens Jaguar 57 laps PC Marcelli/Wong ORECA 21 laps GTC Gonzalez/Diaz Porsche 5 laps GTC Gonzalez/Leitzinger Porsche