Long Beach: Guy Smith race report

SMITH GOES FORTH ON THE STREETS OF LONG BEACH * Yorkshireman just misses out on a third consecutive top-three placing; But Smith & Dyson earn third place points haul Guy Smith recorded a fine fourth place in the latest round of the American...

SMITH GOES FORTH ON THE STREETS OF LONG BEACH

*  Yorkshireman just misses out on a third consecutive top-three
placing;  But Smith & Dyson earn third place points haul

Guy Smith recorded a fine fourth place in the latest round of the American Le Mans Series in Long Beach on Saturday (17 Apr).

The 35-year-old from Beverley finished just 10.903secs behind the race winner -- and a mere 1.5secs behind the third-placed car -- depriving the Yorkshireman of a third consecutive podium finish.

Dyson qualified third fastest on the 36-car grid, snatched second place at the start but slid in to the tyre wall 11mins in to the 100mins race as the race re-started following a caution period. Smith then took over from his American co-driver in fourth place with 56mins on the clock in the 67-lap race around the 1.97-mile ocean-front street circuit near Los Angeles, Dyson having recovered the Dunlop-shod Lola from 29th to fifth position within 25-laps.

Smith set his sights on third-placed Klaus Graf. "It was like a concertina effect," said Guy. "Klaus and I were both working the traffic well. He would pull out a gap and then I would catch him in traffic and close up and then he would work traffic and back and forth it went. Our car had just a little too much 'push' to make the pass.

"It was a good race for us but could have been even better if we'd managed another top-three finish," reflected Guy who finished third in class in the ALMS "opener" in the Dyson Racing Mazda Lola Coupé last month and then third in the opening round of the Le Mans Series in France last weekend (11 Apr) on his début for the Rebellion team.

"Unfortunately Chris went off on a backmarker's dropped oil at Turn 1 and in to the tyre wall. He got back going but we lost additional time when the car next to our pit over shot his pit box and we could not get into our pit space.

"Our car had a handling imbalance caused by the damaged front bodywork so the considered, our pace was good. I'm pleased to get another points haul especially as we actually earn the points for third as the second-placed Aston Martin is not a full-season entry and so is not eligible for points."

The Long Beach event was the first race featuring the merged LMP1 and LMP2 classes into a combined LMP. Long Beach was also the first of two races for Dyson Racing to carry ARCO colours, BP's prominent west coast brand.

Prior to the next round of the ALMS championship at Laguna Seca, California (22 May), the resumption of trans-Atlantic flights permitting, Smith competes in his first London Marathon on Sunday (25 Apr). Guy runs in the British Racing Driver's Club (BRDC) team raising funds for the children's cancer charity, CLIC Sargent.

The 2003 Le Mans 24 Hour race winner is donating his American Le Mans Series crash helmet from last year to the person who comes closest in predicting his finishing time.

"Log on and make a minimum donation of £20 or $30 giving your name and stating you are supporting me and just list the time in which you think I'll finish in," concluded Guy who is hoping to fly home to Yorkshire from Los Angeles on Wednesday. "Whoever is the closest wins the helmet but all donations and time entries must be entered before the race starts."

-source: guy smith

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Guy Smith , Klaus Graf
Teams Dyson Racing