Bernard gifts Soper victory at Laguna

BMW ace Steve Soper has won the Laguna Seca round of the American Le Mans Series after a late-race retirement by the Panoz of Eric Bernard

Bernard gifts Soper victory at Laguna

Bernard, who shares with David Brabham, retired with just a handful of laps of the race to run with suspected brake failure.

Soper and his team-mate JJ Lehto won the race by 13.889s from the number two Panoz driven by Johnny O'Connell, Jan Magnussen and Klaus Graf.

'We gave the race to Panoz at Road Atlanta, but we got it back here,' said Soper. 'I kept pushing when I took the car from JJ but I had no grip.

'Eric overtook me before he retired, then all I had to do was cruise to the flag.'

Third place went to the second factory BMW of Bill Auberlen and Jo Winkelhock, who finished 19.345s down.

The pair came home a lap ahead of fourth-placed Stefan Johansson and Jim Matthews in the Doran Ferrari 333SP.

Fifth overall went to the Dyson Riley & Scott of James Weaver and Elliott Forbes-Robinson.

Dodge Viper pairing Olivier Beretta and Karl Wendlinger took the GTS class honours after their team-mates David Donohue and Tommy Archer suffered an uncharacteristic suspension failure and retired.

Johnny Mowlem and David Murry romped to the GT class win, coming home a lap ahead of Cort Wagner and Dirk Muller's Porsche GT3-R.

The American Le Mans Series now decamps to Las Vegas for its season finale on November 5.


























































































































































































































Position


Drivers


Car


Laps


1


Lehto/Soper


BMW V12


121


2


O'Connell/Magnussen/Graf


Panoz LMP-1


121


3


Auberlen/ Winkelhock


BMW V12 LMR


121


4


Matthews/Johansson


Ferrari 333 SP


118


5


Forbes-Robinson/Weaver


Riley & Scott Mk/Ford


118


6


Brabham/Bernard


Panoz LMP-1


115


7


Schubot/Leitzinger


Riley & Scott Mk/Ford


115


8


Taylor/Caffi


Ferrari 333 SP


113


9


Dean/Luby


Sintura S99/Judd


112


10


Bingham/Sutherland


Riley & Scott Mk/Ford


111


11


Beretta/Wendlinger


Dodge Viper GTS-R


110


12


Baldi/ Theys


Ferrari 333 SP


109


13


Fellows/Kneifel


Chevrolet Corvette C5-R


109


14


Snow/Collins


Porsche 911 Turbo


108


15


Murry/Mowlem


Porsche 911 RSR


108


16


Wagner/Muller


Porsche 911 GT3 R


107


17


Hurtgen/Ahrle


Porsche 911 Turbo


107


18


Field/Debban


Lola B98/10/Ford


106


19


Konrad/Sobrero


Porsche 911 Turbo


105


20


Havens/Fitzgerald


Porsche 911 RSR


103


21


Baumann/Dullum/Wattles


Riley & Scott Mk/Ford


103


22


Angelelli/De Radigues


Ferrari 333 SP


102


23


Reiser/Willingham/Stanton


Porsche 911 RSR


101


24


Peeler/Doolin


Porsche 911 GT3 Cup


99


25


Petersen/White


Porsche 911 RSR


98


26


Said/Stuck


BMW M3


96


27


Friedman/Miller


Porsche 911 RSR


93


28


Brown/Earle/Buttiero


Porsche 911 Turbo


90


29


Conte/Lambert


Porsche 911 RSR


88


30


Cunningham/Overbeek


BMW M3


87


31


Johnson/Borcheller


Saleen SR


84


32


Jorg Hofer/Riccitelli


Porsche 911 GT3 R


79


33


Volk/Schroeder


Riley & Scott Mk/Chev


70


34


Van dePoele/Schiattarella


Riley & Scott Mk/Judd


69


35


Kaufmann/Wolleck


Porsche 911 Turbo


67


36


McNish/Kelleners


Porsche 911 GT1 EVO


55


37


Cunningham/Simo


BMW M3


51


38


Fay/Brosius/Pobst


Porsche 911 RSR


51


39


Rice/Spencer


Riley & Scott Mk/Ford


45


40


Buckler/Gaughran


Porsche 911 RSR


44


41


Donohue/Archer


Dodge Viper GTS-R


33


42


Hiskey/Hill


Porsche 911 RSR


28

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