So close, but yet so far. CORE autosport came within 90 seconds of taking its fifth American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season victory in today’s Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge.
With a little more than a lap to go, the #06 Soloson Import ORECA FLM09 began to run out of fuel and had to pit from a dominant Prototype Challenge (PC) class first place position, resulting in a second-place finish (seventh overall) for drivers Alex Popow and Ryan Dalziel.
Popow leapt from a fifth-place starting spot into third shortly after the two hour and 45 minute race began at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and after a round of pit stops under a caution period, emerged in first place. He maintained that position – pulling away from the second-place contender – when he turned the car over to Dalziel with approximately an hour left in the event. At that point Dalziel put on a clinic for the ALMS PC competitors, stretching his lead to more than 20 seconds.
Due to a lack of caution periods and the intense pace of the race, the #06 car came up just short on fuel, resulting in Dalziel’s last-minute stop.
This result marks 11 podiums for the Rock Hill, SC-based team (four wins, three second places, three thirds) and continues CORE autosport’s considerable lead in the 2012 ALMS PC team championship. It also allowed Popow to re-take the lead in the 2012 PC driver championship, where he was previously tied with teammates Jon Bennett and Colin Braun, drivers of the sister #05 Composite Resources machine.
Bennett and Braun had a tough day in the #05 machine. Bennett took first shift and despite dealing with traffic woes, was able to place the car in the second spot when he turned over the car to Braun. Unfortunately Braun got caught with a pit-road speeding penalty when exiting, requiring him to drive back through the pits that dropped the car to sixth place.
After wading his way through the field, Braun had worked his way back to fifth place when he was hit by another PC-class competitor. That incident damaged the #05’s front suspension and caused Braun to lose steering control and hit the wall. He was able to get the car back to the waiting crew, and they replaced the nose, splitter and some steering components, getting the car back on track within approximately three minutes.
Unfortunately there were no additional opportunities to advance and the #05 machine came in sixth spot (21st overall).
Next up for CORE autosport is the Road America Road Race Showcase, a four-hour event at the famed 4.048-mile Road America track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Practice for the event starts on Thurs, August 16, with qualifying on Friday the 17th and the race on Saturday the 18th.
Source: CORE autosport Press Office