P2 podium: winners Scott Tucker, Christophe Bouchut
P2 podium: winners Scott Tucker, Christophe Bouchut

Photo by: Greg Nichols

Scott Tucker drove what was possibly his best ever race at Lime Rock Park today to take Level 5 Motorsports’ fourth consecutive P2 victory in the American Le Mans Series. He and Christophe Bouchut drove the No.055 HPD ARX-03b to third overall behind the winning Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03a, giving the two teams and Honda Performance Development a perfect result in this fourth round of the 2012 series. Both Bouchut and Tucker led the race overall and ran flawlessly to take their 10th and 13th class ALMS victories respectively.

The result was all the more impressive considering that Christophe Bouchut had been forced to take the start of the 2 hour 45 minute race from the back of the 29-car grid after a misunderstanding by the team concerning Tucker’s minimum driving time in the No.055. The grid penalty was given following qualifying during which the Frenchman recorded the fastest P2 time for provisional pole position.

Bouchut was therefore a man with a mission at the start of the race, undeterred by a smattering of rain on the grid and in the early laps, and by the third lap he was up to 12th overall after scything cleanly and decisively through the field. After the first of the four full course caution periods was called just 14 minutes into the race, the Level 5 HPD profited from a quick fuel stop and some speedy pit work saw Bouchut exit from the pits third overall and first in class.

The Frenchman handed off to Tucker after 1 hour and 18 minutes of the race, and the five-time national driving champion drove a faultless race from there on, despite coming under sustained pressure from the Conquest Endurance Morgan-Nissan for well over an hour.

Scott Tucker was delighted with the result, and said afterwards: “That was a tough one! Conquest Endurance pushed us real hard and it could have gone either way between us but we came out on top. In racing, it’s better to be lucky than good sometimes. We used the traffic a lot to make up some speed and gaps and I was surprised I could hold my gap to Martin Plowman. I made a couple of bold moves at times, and it paid off but I was relieved when we saw the yellow at the end there!”

Bouchut acknowledged the great result for the team which has extended the points lead to a clear 12 points ahead of Conquest: “Scott said to me before the race, this is our chance to win today. But at Lime Rock this was always going to be difficult; we had to overtake so many cars and there are not a lot of places to do that. I was running really well and I just kept pushing as hard as I could. It turned out that was enough to keep driving around and making good passes.”

Source: Level 5 Motorsports