CORE autosport finishes second in wild Lime Rock race
Two seconds was a lifetime for Gunnar Jeanette and Ricardo Gonzalez in the #06 Excel Consultants / Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) racing machine today. The pair finished second in the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park by just that much – in a two hour and 45 minute sprint race highlighted by aggressive racing, 90-plus degree heat, spinning cars and caution periods. Second place for Jeannette and Gonzalez (fifth overall) was enough to maintain the driver’s points lead for the #06 drivers, but lost the team’s LMPC points lead over Genoa Racing by a single point. This tight point spread may get more exciting with six races left in the 2011 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season.
The combination of young driver Frankie Montecalvo and Jon Bennett, CORE autosport founder, in the identical #05 Bayshore Recycling / Composite was good for fifth in the LMPC class (eighth overall), due to a pit penalty and mechanical woes with the #05 machine.
The day began with Gonzalez behind the wheel of the #06 and Montecalvo in the #05, and it wasn’t long before Montecalvo missed the chicane and Gonzalez was tapped by spinning GT cars, but both continued. A mere 22 minutes into the event, Gonzalez took the LMPC lead and 30 minutes in, Montecalvo worked his way into third spot.
A yellow flag at the 45-minute mark brought both cars in for driver changes – the #06 was handed over to Gunnar Jeannette with a fuel refill and the #05 was taken over by team founder Jon Bennett with fuel and tires. The #05 car had to serve a 100-second penalty after mistakenly taking the wave-around the safety car under yellow - a deficit they would never make up.
As the race progressed, Jeannette encountered some close calls in traffic and found himself in third spot with an hour to go, Bennett was in fifth spot but struggling with mechanical issues, difficulties that would only get worse as the day progressed. With 45 minutes to go, the #06 machine powered into the pits, got fuel and a fresh set of Michelins and went on the attack. Balancing patience and aggression through the GT car pack, and helped another late yellow flag period, Jeannette blasted his way to second place, a mere two seconds behind the LMPC-winning car of Elton Julian and Eric Lux.
By: core autosport