Pickett HPD crew Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr dominate Laguna Seca American Le Mans Series race
|Sunday, May 13th 2012, 02:53 GMT|
Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr's Pickett Racing HPD utterly dominated the American Le Mans Series' six-hour race at Laguna Seca on Saturday.
The polesitting car was very briefly headed when the rival Dyson Lola-Mazda got an over-enthusiastic start, but Chris Dyson realised his error and immediately let Graf back past. After that, the Pickett crew was unstoppable, lapping several seconds per lap faster than its rivals for most of the day.
Dyson was not only unable to hang on to the HPD, but struggled to fend off the LMP2 cars, even before damage from debris saw Dyson and team-mates Guy Smith and Johnny Mowlem dropping 20 laps down.
Second overall went to the Level 5 LMP2 class HPD of Scott Tucker, Luis Diaz and Franck Montagny, which won its class after a battle with the team's second car and Conquest's Morgan-Nissan. The #55 Level 5 machine was ultimately eliminated in a crash with a GTC car, while Conquest flew from the back of the grid before being delayed by gearbox problems.
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner recovered from some pit delays to win the ferociously close-fought GT class for Corvette, with their team-mates Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia battling hard to make it a one-two for the yellow cars, just ahead of the BMWs, Extreme Speed's #01 Ferrari, the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche and the Falken Porsche. A scant 10 seconds covered the top seven in class after six hours of racing. BMW's Bill Auberlen tried his utmost to get between the Corvettes in the final moments, but had to settle for third. The polesitting Aston Martin was only eighth after pit problems and a penalty for causing a collision.
LMPC also saw a very close late battle, with a last-gasp pass by Colin Braun on RSR's Bruno Junqueira giving the CORE Autosport driver victory in the car he shared with team boss Jon Bennett. The second CORE car - in which Tom Kimber-Smith starred - was right behind, while Merchant Services' #8 car had been in the thick of what was a four-way fight until a tangle with Kimber-Smith left Kyle Marcelli in the Turn 3 gravel just minutes from the end.
TRG's #66 car took victory in GTC, the Jeroen Bleekemolen/Emilio di Guida/Bret Curtis crew finishing 12s clear of the GMG Porsche.
Results - 242 laps: Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. P1 Luhr/Graf Pickett HPD 6h00m07.664s 2. P2 Tucker/Diaz/Montagny Level 5 HPD + 3 laps 3. PC Bennett/Braun CORE FLM + 6 laps 4. PC Junqueira/Drissi/Gonzalez RSR FLM + 6 laps 5. PC Popow/Kimber-Smith CORE FLM + 6 laps 6. PC Guasch/Gidley/Hamilton Pickett FLM + 6 laps 7. PC Marcelli/Downs/Stirling Merchant FLM + 8 laps 8. PC Leitzinger/Dobson PR1 Mathiasen FLM + 10 laps 9. GT Gavin/Milner Corvette + 10 laps 10. GT Magnussen/Garcia Corvette + 10 laps 11. GT Muller/Auberlen RLL BMW + 10 laps 12. GT Hand/Muller RLL BMW + 10 laps 13. GT Sharp/van Overbeek Extreme Speed Ferrari + 10 laps 14. GT Bergmeister/Long/Lietz Flying Lizard Porsche + 10 laps 15. GT Henzler/Sellers Falken Porsche + 10 laps 16. PC Richard/Ende/Lewis Dempsey FLM + 11 laps 17. GT Fernandez/Turner/Mucke Aston Martin + 12 laps 18. GT Neiman/Holzer Flying Lizard Porsche + 12 laps 19. GT Miller/Maassen Miller Porsche + 13 laps 20. P2 Plowman/Hansson/Pizzonia Conquest Morgan-Nissan + 15 laps 21. PC Nicolosi/Vera Performance Tech FLM + 17 laps 22. GT Brown/Cosmo Extreme Speed Ferrari + 18 laps 23. P1 Dyson/Smith/Mowlem Dyson Lola-Mazda + 20 laps 24. GTC Di Guida/Bleekemolen/Curtis TRG Porsche + 23 laps 25. GTC Sofronas/Welch/Villeneuve GMG Porsche + 23 laps 26. GTC Faieta/Avenatti/Wagner Competition Porsche + 23 laps 27. GTC MacNeil/Lazzaro Alex Job Porsche + 26 laps 28. GTC LeSaffre/Faulkner/Bleekemolen Green Hornet Porsche + 31 laps 29. P2 Tucker/Bouchut/Montagny Level 5 HPD + 35 laps 30. P2 Dempsey/Foster/Cocker Dempsey Lola-Judd + 40 laps 31. P2 Prendeville/Mitchell/da Costa Libre Radical + 57 laps 32. GTC Hedlund/Krohn/Tandy TRG Porsche + 64 laps Retirements: GTC Cumming/Marsh/Ragginger JDX Porsche 119 laps PC Burgess/Ducote/Downs Merchant FLM 100 laps GT Sweedler/Bell Alex Job Lotus 67 laps