The Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03a took its fourth straight victory of the American Le Mans Series season Sunday at Mosport's Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Lucas Luhr fought through a sore ankle he twisted earlier in the weekend, and Klaus Graf overcame a drive-through penalty for having too many crewmembers over the wall at his last scheduled pit stop.
Otherwise it was another relatively uneventful drive, especially compared to the four-lap down recovery to win at Lime Rock. The win is the team's third straight at Mosport, in its third different car.
“It's certainly something you don't want to see,” Graf said of the penalty assessed. “We had it under control. That's what we did.”
Dyson Racing was never realistically in contention. Chris Dyson got the lead from Luhr at the start, although was deemed to have jumped it and given a stop-and-go penalty. From there the Dysons maintained the pace and recovered to second and fifth overall. Tony Burgess did particularly well in the older second car to stay close to Chris Dyson in the first stint, co-driving with Eric Lux.
P2 saw Conquest Endurance earn its long overdue and awaited first class victory. Despite another penalty for a pit infraction, in this case for overtaking under yellow, the Martin Plowman/David Heinemeier Hansson-driven Morgan Nissan secured the win. Plowman needed to drive what he termed “the toughest moment in a racing car” to hold off Christophe Bouchut's (Level 5 HPD) advances, and Bouchut's charge was halted when he was penalized for crossing the pit exit blend line.
“I have one word for it: finally!” Plowman exhaled. “This has been coming for a long time. We had to do everything perfect. David drove a great stint. That was the toughest moment in a race car of my life. At the end I found Bouchut on my tail. Clearly, he crossed the line to get an advantage.”
GT, per usual, came down to a several manufacturer fight separated by only a handful of seconds. Jorg Bergmeister (Flying Lizard Porsche) held off Jan Magnussen (Corvette) and Johannes van Overbeek (Extreme Speed Ferrari) in the closing stages, and JVO completed a last-lap pass of Magnussen for second at Turn 5 on the last lap.
As it turned out, that pass would be for the win - the Flying Lizard Porsche failed post-race technical inspection as it did not pass the stall test. Failing the test means the car does not properly stall, and thus had gotten extra air into the engine without the proper restriction. Flying Lizard has appealed, but for now, van Overbeek and Scott Sharp have secured a first win for ESM.
On track, JVO came up just short of the team's first ALMS win in his 100th series start, but the penalty promoted ESM most.
“We had a lot of trouble in traffic,” van Overbeek surmised. “We were perfect. It was only chance, but luckily it worked out. I would have liked to win my 100th but it was a great race.”
BMW Team RLL's No. 56 M3 finished fourth ahead of the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche, which recorded its best result of the season. Those two were then promoted to third and fourth, unofficially.
Bruno Junqueira took RSR Racing's Oreca FLM09 to the PC class win co-driving with Tomy Drissi, ending the streak of wins by CORE autosport to start the year, while Spencer Pumpelly brought TRG its second win of the season, his first, co-driving with Emilio di Guida in GTC.
There were only three full-course cautions. Alex Popow (CORE No. 06) earned an avoidable contact penalty for spearing the Green Hornet GTC Porsche and the PR1/Mathiasen PC car at the entrance to Turn 5. With the PR1 car, Marino Franchitti wasn't able to make his race debut in the class.
Later, further issues struck the then-PC leader, Kyle Marcelli of Merchant Services, with the Canadian suffering apparent contact that led to a spin and took him out of the race. Marcelli was the only pro driver to start the race in PC while the other five employed the gentlemen drivers, and was on a strategy that would have paid dividends with co-driver and ALMS series debutante Matt Downs running the middle stint.
The series resumes in two weeks at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Results - 117 laps:
Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap
1. P1 Luhr/Graf Pickett HPD 2h46m02.897s
2. P1 Dyson/Smith Dyson Lola-Mazda + 10.695s
3. P2 Plowman/Heinemeier Hansson Conquest Morgan-Nissan + 35.075s
4. P2 Tucker/Bouchut Level 5 HPD + 54.788s
5. P1 Burgess/Lux Dyson Lola-Mazda + 2 laps
6. PC Junqueira/Drissi RSR FLM + 2 laps
7. PC Bennett/Braun CORE FLM + 3 laps
8. PC Popow/Dalziel CORE FLM + 4 laps
9. PC Richard/Ende Dempsey FLM + 5 laps
10. GT Sharp/van Overbeek Extreme Speed Ferrari + 5 laps
11. GT Magnussen/Garcia Corvette + 5 laps
12. GT Hand/Muller RLL BMW + 6 laps
13. GT Henzler/Sellers Falken Porsche + 6 laps
14. GT Miller/Maassen Miller Porsche + 7 laps
15. GT Neiman/Lally Flying Lizard Porsche + 7 laps
16. GT Muller/Auberlen RLL BMW + 7 laps
17. GT Sweedler/Bell Alex Job Lotus + 7 laps
18. GT Brown/Cosmo Extreme Speed Ferrari + 8 laps
19. GTC Di Guida/Pumpelly TRG Porsche + 13 laps
20. GTC MacNeil/Keen Alex Job Porsche + 13 laps
GTC Cumming/Valiante JDX Porsche 98 laps
PC Marcelli/Downs Merchant FLM 97 laps
GT Gavin/Milner Corvette 91 laps*
PC Franchitti/Dobson PR1/Mathiasen FLM 26 laps
GTC LeSaffre/Faulkner Green Hornet Porsche 23 laps
GT Bergmeister/Long Flying Lizard Porsche DSQ