Road America: Michelin race report

AUDI PREVAILS AT THEATRICAL ROAD AMERICA ELKHART LAKE, WIS. (August 10, 2008) - The seventh race of the 2008 American Le Mans Series season, the Generac 500 at Road America was an entertaining sports car drama presented in three...

AUDI PREVAILS AT THEATRICAL ROAD AMERICA

ELKHART LAKE, WIS. (August 10, 2008) - The seventh race of the 2008 American Le Mans Series season, the Generac 500 at Road America was an entertaining sports car drama presented in three acts. As the curtain fell, it was the #2 Audi R10 TDI drivers Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner taking the bows in an Audi 1-2 finish ahead of teammates Marcel Fassler and Emanuele Pirro. Taking third overall and first in the LMP2 class was the Acura of David Brabham and Scott Sharp.

The #7 Penske Porsche RS Spyder driven by Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard took second in LMP2 followed by Butch Leitzinger and Marino Franchitti in the #20 Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder. Penske Racing's Sascha Maassen and Patrick Long completed a Michelin sweep of the top six places.

The first hour of the four-hour race produced three caution periods, neutralizing an early 25-second lead for the eventual winners. "We had a good opening stint, but the early yellows didn't play into our hands, they turned our advantage to zero, so it was a probably fair that the yellows helped us in the end," said Luhr.

The middle stanza featured over 50 laps of fast, close racing as differing race strategies began to appear and the lead cycled from the winning Audi to the #15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura driven by Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz; then on to the Brabham Acura before returning to the Audi.

The final stanza saw four caution periods; including one prompted by a rare off by the GT1 class leading #4 Corvette C6.R driven by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta which ended with the car bouncing off a wall at the fabled "Kink" and humorously emerging with a recycled track banner for the now defunct ChampCar series strewn across the car. That sealed a sixth victory of the season for the #3 Corvette C6.R driven by Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnussen.

The next caution came in the form of a heartbreaking, high-speed rear suspension failure for Fernandez who was fighting to retain the second spot overall from Franck Montagny in the #26 Andretti Green Racing Acura.

Just seven laps later, the LMP2 pole sitter Montagny; his XM Acura lights flashing to aid his dash through traffic in an attempt to catch Brabham, fell victim to contact, bringing out the final caution. That left just two green flag laps until the finish.

Yet there was to be one final twist, as the race leading #62 Risi Ferrari of 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans GT2 winner Mika Salo was blocked in traffic by the team's sister car starting the final lap, allowing Dirk Werner and the #87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche 911 through to collect their first ALMS GT2 victory. Co-driving with Werner were Richard Westbrook and Bryce Miller.

Finishing second and extending their GT2 championship lead was the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driven by J

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Butch Leitzinger , Franck Montagny , Scott Sharp , Adrian Fernandez , Mika Salo , Lucas Luhr , Patrick Long , Olivier Beretta , Dirk Werner
Teams Team Penske , Dyson Racing , HART