Mid-Ohio ALMS Story Is Familiar One
STEAM CORNERS, Ohio — Muscle Milk Pickett Racing’s completed its drive for five Saturday with a victory in the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge and sixth round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.
Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr won at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the second year in a row and led for 108 of 123 laps in their No. 6 Honda Performance Development ARX-03a.
The P1 driver’s championship co-leaders have not lost an ALMS race since finishing second in class at the season-opening race at Sebring in March. Saturday, Graf finished a lap ahead of Dyson Racing’s duo of Chris Dyson and Guy Smith in their No. 16 Lola-Mazda coupe.
The GT battle once again went down to the last lap with Corvette Racing’s Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin winning by 0.283 seconds in the No. 4 Corvette C6 ZR1. It was the third victory of the season for the Corvette duo, this one over the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long.
Gavin made the winning pass with nearly an hour to go but had to contend with Bergmeister staying on the Corvette’s rear bumper for the final 20 minutes.
Level 5 Motorsports returned to winning form in P2 with a victory for Christophe Bouchut and Scott Tucker. Bouchut in the No. 055 HPD ARX-03b won by 7.153 seconds over Conquest Endurance’s Martin Plowman and David Heinemeie-Hansson. It was a reversal of the class results from two weeks ago at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park where the No. 37 Conquest Endurance Morgan-Nissan snapped Level 5’s five-race winning streak.
PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports wrote a remarkable comeback story with its first Prototype Challenge victory of the season. Marino Franchitti and Rudy Junco won in the No. 52 ORECA FLM09 when leader Ryan Dalziel ran out of fuel in the No. 06 CORE autosport entry. Dalziel had to pit for a splash of fuel two laps from the end and lost the lead to Franchitti on the stop.
Franchitti didn’t get to drive in the race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park after a three-car crash early that knocked out the PR1 car. The team rushed an older car to Ohio after the Canadian race and began prepping it immediately. Franchitti paid the PR1 crew the ultimate tribute for its work Friday with a class pole position.
Tim Pappas and Jeroen Bleekemolen returned to GT Challenge competition with a one-lap victory in JDX Racing’s No. 11 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Pappas and Bleekemolen won the class in 2010 at Mid-Ohio, and they shared the 2010 class championship; Pappas claimed the title in 2011.
TRG’s Spencer Pumpelly and Al Carter were second in class Saturday in the No. 66 Porsche, just ahead of Green Hornet Racing’s No. 33 entry of Bob Faieta and Patrick Huisman.
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