BALTIMORE, Saturday, September 1, 2012: The rough streets of Baltimore were no match for CORE autosport’s #06 Soloson Import ORECA FLM09 and drivers Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow – the duo charging to CORE’s sixth American Le Mans Series (ALMS) win of the season.
In today’s Baltimore Sports Car Challenge presented by SRT, the drivers literally dominated the highly contested ALMS Prototype Challenge (PC) class and finished third on the combined-class podium, racing for an overall win on the ever-changing 2.04-mile, 13-turn circuit.
For Popow, this win is number four out of eight races in the 2012 ALMS season, and his second in a row. For the combination of Popow and Dalziel, this win marks a perfect record for the only temporary street course events this year – Long Beach and Baltimore.
The sister CORE autosport #05 Composite Resources machine driven by Jon Bennett and Colin Braun ran very strong but suffered gearbox issues after the halfway point of the race, causing an early retirement and relegating them to a sixth place PC-class finish (29th overall).
Popow took the first driving stint in the two-hour race, starting in the second PC spot and eighth overall. When the green flag dropped a melee erupted in turn one, with a pileup of many of the leading cars. In perhaps what can be considered the “move of the race,” Popow skillfully avoided the multiple incidents and emerged unscathed - and in first place in the PC class.
As the race continued, Popow never lost the first spot and increased his lead to more than 50 seconds at one point. Near the one-hour mark, Popow turned the #06 over to Dalziel, who held the spot without trouble, and as the end of the race neared, began contending for the overall win with faster-classed P2 machines, eventually settling for a podium spot in the overall standings.
This win continues an impressive season for Rock Hill, SC-based CORE autosport, with six wins and 14 podium finishes scored during the 2012 ALMS season thus far.
Jon Bennett "I’m very happy for the #06 car.
"It’s a good reflection on the team we have behind that car and the two excellent drivers.
“It’s hard to be disappointed for our day today. Overall we’ve had such a good year and to have a bad break mechanically is just another part of racing.
“I look forward to VIR and getting back to business.”
Colin Braun “The #06 win is great for them and it’s hard to deny the good job that Alex has done this season.
“What happened to us in the #05 car was not a problem with the team or preparation – sometimes parts just fail.
"With how thorough these CORE autosport guys are, they’ll look at the situation and evaluate it so it never happens again.
“Now we move on and give it all we’ve got to VIR.”
Alex Popow “On the start, I knew I had to pass as many cars as I possibly could. There was no way to plan out how the race began and with what happened, it turned out well for me. I can’t believe it but I’m certainly happy.
“I’ve got a 50 percent average for wins this season and it’s not just a great season for me but also for CORE autosport and the team.
“Right now I’ve got a pretty good lead for the PC driver championship and while I’m happy about that, I feel for Colin and Jon and their tough day today. I hope I can clinch the championship at VIR – with the season-ending Petit Le Mans so long, I’d like to go into that race knowing I’ve got it, but Colin and Jon won’t make it easy.”
Ryan Dalziel “What a great day and result for Alex and CORE autosport. I loved running here at Baltimore and hope that we return for many years to come. But it is rough out there – my hands are in agony and I’m going to be pretty sore tomorrow.
“I’ve got to hand it to Alex for the job he did – he could’ve very easily gotten caught up in that first lap carnage. It shows how good he’s gotten as a driver and I was happy that we were able to extend his points lead today.
“For CORE autosport, congrats on their back-to-back wins for the #06 car and for giving us a car that was so good right off the truck. The car was so strong I really think we could’ve challenged for the overall win.”
Source: Core autosport