MICHELIN SWEEPS PETIT LE MANS Adds to 2007 Sebring and Le Mans Endurance Record BRASELTON, GA (Oct. 6, 2007) - Michelin partner teams from Audi, Porsche and Corvette combined to sweep all four American Le Mans Series classes and ten of the top...
MICHELIN SWEEPS PETIT LE MANS
Adds to 2007 Sebring and Le Mans Endurance Record
BRASELTON, GA (Oct. 6, 2007) - Michelin partner teams from Audi, Porsche and Corvette combined to sweep all four American Le Mans Series classes and ten of the top eleven positions in the exciting 10th running of the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
Ending an eight race 2007 ALMS victory drought and claiming their eighth consecutive victory at the Petit Le Mans, the LMP1 class #1 Audi R10 TDI of Rinaldo Capello surged past the race leading LMP2 class #7 Penske Porsche RS Spyder of Romain Dumas (co-driven by Timo Bernhard and Patrick Long) with just 16 laps remaining in the 1,000 mile race to take the victory by just 0.923 seconds over the relentlessly pursuing Dumas. Finishing third overall and second in the LMP2 class was the #20 Dyson Racing Porsche driven by Chris Dyson and Guy Smith. Completing a Michelin sweep of the LMP2 podium and taking fourth overall was the #5 Zytek 07S of Danny Watts, Jan Charouz and Stefan Mucke.
"This was one of the hardest races we have ever done," said Audi co-driver Allan McNish. "The team worked very hard and our engineers and Michelin were able to adjust tire pressures and change compounds and the front aerodynamics so that as the track evolved we got better and better," said McNish who shattered the previous race lap record by nearly five miles per hour (132.15mph from 127.38 mph) as the latest generation of cars and tires took full advantage of the recently resurfaced 2.46 miles long track. All four ALMS race lap records were broken within the first five laps of the race.
"The pace was so strong and the track gets such high G-forces that it physically wears you out. The competition is so demanding that you are just pushing from beginning to end," said Capello. The victory clinched the 2007 ALMS LMP1 championship for Capello and McNish
After being ambushed by the fleet Lista Maserati MC 12/Michelin of Andrea Bertolini in qualifying, the #3 Corvette C6.R of Johnny O'Connell, Ron Fellows and Jan Magnussen jumped into the GT1 class lead at the start but was eliminated from the race early after contact with a prototype that left Magnussen feeling the effects of the high speed impact. The #4 Corvette C6.R seized the lead, taking their eighth GT1 victory of the season and clinching the class championship for Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta who were joined here by Max Papis who noted; "the track changed quite a lot from qualifying through the race and the Corvette engineers and the Michelin engineers told us to stay calm. They said 'the car is going to get better' and by my next stint the car was just awesome and the Michelin tires were superb."
Lizards Fly not Fry:
After destroying their lead car in a fire at the most recent ALMS event in Detroit, the Flying Lizard team debuted a new car and Johannes van Overbeek; Joerg Bergmeister and Marc Lieb made the most of it by delivering the GT2 class victory and leading a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR sweep of the first five places. Prevailing in a fierce battle to the wire for second place in GT2 was the #71 Tafel Porsche of Wolf Henzler and Dominik Farnbacher which shaded the #18 Rahal Letterman Porsche of Graham Rahal, Tom Milner and Ralf Kelleners to complete an all-Michelin podium.
"Michelin and our partner teams faced a number of challenges at Petit Le Mans due to the resurfacing of the track and the changing weather conditions," said Silvia Mammone, motorsports manager for Michelin North America. "The value of our close relationships with our teams and the benefits of having a Michelin engineer working with each of our teams really helped us to adapt and to work with our partner teams to succeed. At Michelin, we race to learn and we race to win. We learned a lot here due to the increased speeds and the changing conditions. Those learnings helped our partners to win and helped us add to our experience and research base."