Road America ALMS: Pickett and SRT Viper win, DeltaWing stars

Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf made it five American Le Mans Series wins in a row as Pickett Racing dominated at Road America, while the SRT Viper claimed a maiden GT win

Road America ALMS: Pickett and SRT Viper win, DeltaWing stars

Luhr had established a 16-second lead after just six laps but Katherine Legge jumped ahead of Chris McMurray at the start of what would turn into an impressive stint in the DeltaWing.

Legge and team-mate Andy Meyrick had turns at the head of the field as the pit strategies played out, before Graf took charge in the final hour.

A late safety car, caused by a big off for GTC driver Jan Heylen, meant the race finished under caution, and while the Pickett duo comfortably held on, Level 5 claimed a narrow LMP2 class success.

Scott Sharp led early on for Extreme Speed after Ricardo Gonzalez spun the leading #552 Level 5 HPD exiting Turn 3, and dropped to third behind the sister #551 car driven by Scott Tucker. He recovered one place in the pits, leapfrogging Sharp, and assumed the lead once Tucker pit on the hour mark.

Franchitti, who was quickest in qualifying, took over from Gonzalez and fought off a determined challenged from Guy Cosmo until the final pitstops, when the Extreme Speed car swept by into Turn 1 as the Scot emerged from the pits.

But both cars were jumped by Simon Pagenaud, who made a two-stop strategy work after taking over from Tucker to claim the lead - and subsequently, the victory - just before the yellow flags came out, denying a grandstand finish.

LMPC honours went to RSR's Bruno Junqueira and Duncan Ende. The pair had run most of the race under the radar as Tristan Nunez/Charlie Shears and Colin Braun/Jonathan Bennett spent a large majority in front, but Junqueira came to the fore in the final 45 minutes to edge out Kyle Marcelli and Chris Cumming for the win.

MAIDEN WIN FOR NEW VIPER

Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens took the first GT win for the new SRT Viper, despite running very marginal on fuel in the closing stages of the race.

Jonathan Bomarito in the #93 Viper made the early running, but Farnbacher was soon in front in as a slightly jumbled order - caused by teams switching to dry tyres at different times - sorted itself out at the end of the first hour.

However, after a second caution period, it was the two Corvettes that led, requiring Goossens to hunt and pass the Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen car for the win 40 minutes from the end.

Garcia held on for second ahead of the sister car of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner.

Flying Lizard's Spencer Pumpelly and Nelson Canache Jr beat Cooper MacNeil and Jeroen Bleekemolen to the GTC class win.

The decisive moment came 45 minutes from the end when Pumpelly passed both Bleekemolen and Andy Lally as the pair almost forced each other off the track.

Results - 67 laps: Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. P1 Graf/Luhr Pickett HPD 2h46m40.847s 2. P1 Burgess/McMurry Dyson Lola-Mazda +0.306s 3. PC Junqueira/Ende RSR FLM +19.788s 4. PC Marcelli/Cumming BAR1 FLM +29.809s 5. P1 Meyrick/Legge DeltaWing +30.258s 6. P2 Tucker/Pagenaud Level 5 HPD +32.650s 7. P2 Sharp/Cosmo Extreme Speed HPD +34.882s 8. P2 Tucker/Franchitti/Gonzalez Level 5 HPD +35.726s 9. PC Guasch/Cheng PR1 Mathiasen FLM +37.601s 10. PC Bennett/Braun CORE FLM +38.467s 11. PC Nunez/Shears Performance Tech FLM +39.728s 12. PC Schultis/van der Zande DragonSpeed FLM +1 lap 13. PC Mitchell/French BAR1 FLM +1 lap 14. GT Farnbacher/Goossens SRT Viper +2 laps 15. GT Magnussen/Garcia Corvette +2 laps 16. GT Gavin/Milner Corvette +2 laps 17. GT Miller/Holzer Miller Porsche +2 laps 18. GT Long/Kimber-Smith CORE Porsche +2 laps 19. GT Bomarito/Wittmer SRT Viper +2 laps 20. GT Auberlen/Martin RLL BMW +2 laps 21. GT Müller/Edwards RLL BMW +2 laps 22. GT Henzler/Sellers Falken Porsche +2 laps 23. GT Beretta/Malucelli Risi Ferrari +2 laps 24. GTC Canache/Pumpelly Flying Lizard Porsche +5 laps 25. GTC MacNeil/Bleekemolen Alex Job Porsche +5 laps 26. GTC Cisneros/Edwards NGT Porsche +5 laps 27. GTC Dempsey/Lally Dempsey Del Piero Porsche +5 laps 28. GTC Neiman/von Moltke Flying Lizard Porsche +5 laps 29. GTC Courtney/Snow TRG Porsche +5 laps Retirements: GTC Hedlund/Heylen JDX Porsche 58 laps P2 Brown/van Overbeek Extreme Speed HPD 29 laps GT Keen/Bell AJR/West Ferrari 14 laps GTC Keating/Faulkner TRG Porsche 4 laps 
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Road America ALMS: Pickett dominates, SRT Viper on GT pole again

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Author Scott Mitchell
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