Midway through Monterey: Dumas leads for Penske, three Acuras follow An all-Acura front-row became an all-Acura top three in the first turn at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca when Gil de Ferran passed the ...
Midway through Monterey: Dumas leads for Penske, three Acuras follow
An all-Acura front-row became an all-Acura top three in the first turn at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca when Gil de Ferran passed the #7 of Timo Bernhard. Acura needs to secure the top three places in LM P2 to win the manufacturers' title. The trifecta was short-lived, however, as a string of cautions in the first hour jumbled the running order.
The Intersport Racing car driven by John Field briefly led LM P1 until a suspension failure brought the #37 into the pits and brought out the first caution of the race.
The #6 Porsche driven by Patrick Long hit the #26 of Frank Montagny at the first restart, losing part of the front nose cover, bringing out another full course yellow for debris on lap 13.
After the second restart, the Flying Lizard Porsche 911 #45 driven by Jorg Bergmeister tapped a spinning-out Nicky Pastorelli in Turn 3, bringing out the 3rd caution on lap 19, causing many LMGT cars to dive for the pits. Before the yellow came out, Lucas Luhr in the #2 Audi R10 TDI moved up to 3rd overall, after starting the race 9th.
A restart on lap 26 saw a charging Luhr in the #2 Audi hot on the tail of David Brabham in the Highcroft Acura P2. Luhr made the pass, but as they climbed up the hill toward the famous Corkscrew, Chris McMurray in the #12 Autocon went off in Turn 2. This time, the LMP cars headed for the pits, and Brabham handed the #9 Highcroft over to Scott Sharp to drive the middle stint, who rejoined in 20th. At the restart it was de Ferran leading Luhr and the #88 Creation driven by Steve Simpson. Just then the #11 Dodge Viper took an off-track excursion in Turn 2, bringing out a fourth caution in only the first hour.
The track went green again on lap 36 and Luhr powered past de Ferran and into the lead down the front straight. In the LM GT2 category, Tommy Milner in the Panoz Team PTG #21 narrowly led Mika Salo's Risi Competizione Ferrari, but Salo crept by down the corkscrew on lap 44.
In LM GT1, Jan Magnussen in the #3 Corvette led his teammate Oliver Gavin.
The lead Audi of Luhr came into the pits on lap 48 and de Ferran inherited the overall lead, followed by the two Penskes of Timo Bernard and Long. The Andretti Green Racing Acura of Franck Montagny and the third Penske of Ryan Briscoe rounded out the top five while Stefan Johansson led P1.
An off at the corkscrew by Tracy Krohn caused another yellow, and when the track finally became green at the 1'40 mark, the Penskes Porsche RS Spyders of Long and Briscoe led the Corsa Motorsports Zytec of Johansson for the top three places overall. The status quo would remain until Jon Field spun off at turn two, cycling the field through another round of pit stops and putting Penske's Romain Dumas into the overall lead. Luhr topped the P1 charts, with Magnussen atop GT1 and Salo's co-driver Jamie Melo atop GT2.