Lime Rock: Michelin race report

PORSCHE, MICHELIN PREVAIL IN HOT, STEAMY LIME ROCK ALMS RACE First Overall Win for Team CytoSport, Lizards Score Again LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 24, 2010) - Michelin and Porsche prevailed in a hot, steamy day at Connecticut's Lime Rock Park for...

PORSCHE, MICHELIN PREVAIL IN HOT, STEAMY LIME ROCK ALMS RACE
First Overall Win for Team CytoSport, Lizards Score Again

LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 24, 2010) - Michelin and Porsche prevailed in a hot, steamy day at Connecticut's Lime Rock Park for the fifth round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series. The weather was mighty hot, too as Klaus Graf and Greg Pickett scored the first overall victory for the Muscle Milk Team CytoSport Porsche RS Spyder team as Michelin teams swept the first five places overall and the Prototype and GT class wins.

Using a two pit stop strategy that kept him in the car for the final two hours in the 95 degree heat and humidity, Graf took the lead on lap 98 with just over one hour and nine minutes remaining. Graf built a lead of nearly 21 seconds only to have the relentless push by arch-rival David Brabham cut the gap to a single car length with 10 minutes remaining.

Taking advantage of a perfect exit onto the main straightway, Brabham began to draw along side Graf just as the leader moved right to avoid a cluster of slower cars. Brabham was forced to the grass by Graf who had not expected him to arrive so quickly. Graf was then bumped from his left side.

Graf was assessed a stop-and-go penalty, but the off-course excursion had punctured Brabham's right rear tire. After each called upon the pit lane, Graf emerged with a 30-second lead over Brabham which he carried to a 27- second victory.

The two-hour, 45-minute race at the 1.53 mile circuit, the shortest track of the ALMS season saw close competition with the leaders constantly in traffic. The winning team and second place Highcroft HPD team with Brabham and Simon Pagenaud, each completed over 200 passes in traffic during the course of the race..

"Hats off to our technical partners at Michelin," said team owner/co-driver Greg Pickett. "We are so fortunate to have Michelin and Porsche as our technical partners, they are both a big part of our success," said Pickett.

"The rain yesterday meant that we had only 20 minutes of dry track running this morning to determine our set-up and make our tire choices," said Graf. "As always, Michelin helped us to choose the right tires."

Michelin race engineers helped the CytoSport team choose an asymmetric set up with different compound tires on different sides of the cars.

Taking their third victory of the season, the Flying Lizard Porsche team and drivers Joerg Bergmeister and co-driver Patrick Long scored a narrow fourth consecutive Lime Rock victory for the team and the fifth for Bergmeister, The victory moves them back atop the 2010 ALMS GT championship standings.

"We had a very good strategy and the consistency of the Michelin tires helped us to have the handling that we needed to win again," said Bergmeister.

In the LMP Challenge class for identical prototypes racing on non- proprietary Michelin customer tires, Green Earth Team Gunnar scored its second victory of the season for Gunnar Jeannette and Elton Julian.

"We flat spotted our right front tire early in the race avoiding contact with another car. We changed that one tire on our pit stop and ran the other three tires for the entire race," said Jeannette, who teased Michelin Motorsports manager Silvia Mammone, noting, "sorry we didn't change (buy) more tires, but your Michelin tires are so good that we just run them forever." Team Gunnar ran the recent Salt Lake City event on a single set of Michelin customer tires.

-source: michelin

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Klaus Graf , Gunnar Jeannette , Patrick Long , Greg Pickett , Elton Julian , Simon Pagenaud