Lime Rock: Elton Julian race report

Julian and G-Oil Team Gunnar Hot in Last-to-First Run at Lime Rock 28 July 2010 -- After a one-race absence from the team, Elton Julian was recalled by Green Earth Team Gunnar for round five of the American Le Man Series at Connecticut's Lime...

Julian and G-Oil Team Gunnar Hot in Last-to-First Run at Lime Rock

28 July 2010 -- After a one-race absence from the team, Elton Julian was recalled by Green Earth Team Gunnar for round five of the American Le Man Series at Connecticut's Lime Rock Park on 23-24 July. It was the Californian's first visit to the northeast's premier road racing venue and his performance in the G-Oil sponsored Le Mans Prototype Challenge Oreca FLM09 was nothing short of sensational.

Despite heavy rain in Friday morning practice, Julian set the class pace from his very first lap of the challenging 1.53 mile circuit, and ended the session 0.6s up on the next fastest LMPC, Christophe Bouchut's Level 5 Motorsports entry. Qualifying the 99 car for the first time this season, Elton's shot at pole was stymied when he found himself stuck in second gear, consigning the GETG machine to last on the grid. Race day dawned hot and humid, with temperatures headed for 1000x00b0. The morning warm-up saw Team Gunnar's gearbox issues resolved, while polesitter Bouchut damaged his car beyond repair.

Call it what you will -- 'burn from the stern', 'attack from the back', 'appear from the rear', or 'ascend from the end' -- Julian was on a mission from the drop of the green flag. By lap 21, Elton had reached sixth overall and third in LMPC, and set off in pursuit of the remaining Level 5 entry driven by Le Mans, Sebring, and Daytona winner Andy Wallace. On the way, he passed six cars on a single lap separating two yellow flag periods. A wheel-to-wheel duel down the front straight ended with Julian passing Wallace around the outside of Big Bend. Next in his sights was class leader Tom Papadopoulos, a beneficiary of the early yellows. Elton made up nearly a lap to sweep past the PR1 Motorsports car at the 1h28m mark to assume the class lead.

Two laps later, he pulled into the pits for the G-Oil car's only planned stop. Co-driver Gunnar Jeannette was quickly into the groove, setting the team's fastest lap on the way to retaking the LMPC lead from Papadopoulos with an hour to go. Unfazed by light rain falling late in the race, Gunnar stretched the gap to over a lap -- which came in handy on the final tour when the GETG car ran out of fuel and stopped before being coaxed down the last downhill turn and over the line using the starter and battery.

"It was my victory coast today, not so much my victory lap," quipped Jeannette. "We went for one stop because there are usually plenty of yellows at Lime Rock, and luckily we were just close enough in our calculations to hold on to the win."

"I really enjoyed battling to the front today, and being part of this great result for the team. Everyone delivered big time, from the crew fixing the gearbox and executing a perfect pit stop to Kevin Jeannette and Mark Schomann's strategy and Gunnar's driving," Julian said. "I was also pretty pleased by my run in the wet on Friday. I think I surprised a few people with that, including myself! In the race, the heat didn't bother me at all and I managed to set my own fastest lap right at the end of my stint. Big thanks to Kevin and company for having me back in the car this weekend, and for the next round at Mid-Ohio as well."

-source: ej PR

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Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Gunnar Jeannette , Christophe Bouchut , Elton Julian