The American Le Mans Series reconvened after an early summer break with the traditional Independence Day meeting at the historic Lime Rock circuit in New England over the weekend.
Once again the new Lola B06/10 LMP1 car showed well in qualifying with both cars heading an LMP1 class 1-2 and lining up on the second row of the grid overall. However, problems at the start of the race counted for the James Weaver/Butch Leitzinger entry as a clutch bearing caused Weaver to stall when he was unable to select a gear.
Despite the hard working Dyson team getting the car back out in to the fray and both drivers turning in some impressive times, the AER twin turbo powered Lola was not classified in the official results.
The Chris Dyson and Guy Smith car was forced to start from the back of the grid after problems in qualifying. It was only a temporary issue for Chris Dyson though, who immediately set about scything through the field in impressive fashion.
But on lap 21, an incident with the GT1 Corvette of Olivier Beretta halted the Lolas progress and Dyson was forced to retire the car with broken steering.
“This was one of those racing incidents that can happen when you are moving through the field like we were,” said Dyson after the race. “I had just turned my fastest lap and was running on momentum. I thought he (Beretta) was giving me the corner but then he turned in after I had committed. It’s a shame because the car was blinding around here.”
Despite the end result, the Dyson team remained buoyant about the weekend and like Chris Dyson, James Weaver was thoroughly enjoying the LMP1 Lola, especially in qualifying, saying:
“The car was running fantastic,” expressed Weaver. “It’s the best it’s been all year. I can’t think of a time I’ve had a car that good in qualifying. The car is great.”
Autocon Motorsports celebrated their best ever LMP1 finish when they took the chequered flag in 2nd place with their ex Dyson Lola-MG. Michael Lewis and Chris McMurry. The team had a relatively trouble free race and only a tyre issue prevented them for finishing higher overall.
The other Lola-MG raced by Duncan Daytons Highcroft Racing succumbed to a throttle cable problem on lap 81.
“It was a real shame, because the car was handling really well," Wallace said afterwards. "Duncan started the race, and he noticed a problem right away.
He pitted and we changed some things. When I got in I was OK for the best part
of an hour before the problem resurfaced and we had to retire.”
Intersport Racing went in to the Lime Rock event at the head of the LMP2 points table after impressive LMP2 wins at Sebring and Houston earlier in the season.
Despite a fraught end to the race the pairing of Clint Field and Liz Halliday still top the points with a 3rd placed finish at the weekend.
A smooth start to the race from Clint Field kept the AER engined Intersport Lola in contention at the head of the pack and when Californian, Halliday took over it looked like another solid race completion for the Ohio based team.
Sadly though, Halliday lost control of the car just before the chicane damaging the rear of the Lola B05/40. Halliday courageously got the Lola back to the pits but with just 20 minutes of the race left to run the car had completed sufficient laps to be classified in 3rd place, thus keeping the LMP2 points lead from the Porsche pairing of Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr.
The Van Der Steur Lola B2K/40 was forced to retire with gearbox issues early on in the race. This came after a stellar qualifying performance from Ben Devlin who managed to qualify a magnificent 5th in LMP2, just three tenths of a second from the Courage C65 of BK Motorsport.
The next round of the ALMS takes place on the new Miller Motorsports Park facility in Salt Lake City, Utah on July 15/16.
Pos Cl Drivers Make Laps
1. P1 Rinaldo Capello, Allan McNish Audi R8 177
2. P2 Romain Dumas, Timo Bernhard Porsche RS Spyder 177
3. P2 Sascha Maassen, Lucas Luhr Porsche RS Spyder 174
4. GT1 Stephane Sarrazin, Pedro Lamy Aston Martin DB9 166
5. GT1 Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell Corvette C6.R 166
6. GT1 Darren Turner, Tomas Enge Aston Martin DB9 166
7. GT2 Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long Porsche 911 GT3 162
8. GT2 Johannes van Overbeek, Wolf Henzler Porsche 911 GT3 161
9. GT2 Joey Hand, Bill Auberlen BMW E46 M3 160
10. GT2 Justin Marks, Bryan Sellers BMW E46 M3 158
11. GT2 Marc Gene, Mario Dominguez Ferrari 430 GT 158
12. GT2 David Brabham, Scott Maxwell Panoz Esperante 157
13. GT2 Tom Milner, Gunnar Jeannette Panoz Esperante 156
14. P1 Chris McMurry, Michael Lewis Lola EX257 AER 156
15. GT1 Olivier Beretta, Oliver Gavin Corvette C6.R 142
16. GT2 Lonnie Pechnik, Seth Neiman Porsche 911 GT3 142
17. P2 Liz Halliday, Clint Field, Jon Field Lola B05/40 AER 136
18. GT2 Klaus Graf, Mike Rockenfeller Porsche 911 GT3 129
19. P1 James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger Lola B06/10 AER 122
20. P1 Duncan Dayton, Andy Wallace Lola EX257 AER 81
21. GT2 Toni Vilander, Ralf Kelleners Ferrari 430 GT 32
22. P2 Ben Devlin, Gunnar Van der Steur Lola B2K/40 AER 32
23. P1 Chris Dyson, Guy Smith Lola B06/10 AER 21
24. P2 Jamie Bach, Guy Cosmo Courage C65 Mazda 0
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