Sears Point: Lola race report

Lola clean-sweep in LMP675: second round of the American Le Mans Series at Sears Point. Lola filled the top four positions in the LMP675 class at the second round of the American Le Mans Series at Sears Point at the weekend. Ben Devlin and Dave...

Lola clean-sweep in LMP675: second round of the American Le Mans Series at Sears Point.

Lola filled the top four positions in the LMP675 class at the second round of the American Le Mans Series at Sears Point at the weekend. Ben Devlin and Dave McEntee steered clear of troubleto take victory during a frantic race that started behind the Safety Car due to torrential rain that had soaked the circuit.

Devlin and McEntee, driving the Archangel Motorsports Lola B2K/40 Millington, crossed the line two laps clear of the KnightHawk Racing LLC MG Lola EX257 of Steve Knight, Mel Hawkins and Chad Block.

A further two laps behind was the Intersport/Banana Joe's MG Lola EX257 of Sebring winners Jon Field and RickSutherland. Field had picked up his first ever International pole position with the MG Lola, but an electrical problem at the start of the race lost them six laps to the leaders as they changed the ECU unit. It could have been so much more costly if those six laps were not behind the safety car! Dennis Spencer and Rich Grupp were fourth in class having retired after 52 laps. Field still managed to set the fastest lap overall with 1 minute, 26.247 seconds, one tenth faster than the quickest Audi.

"It was close to impossible to stay out of trouble," said Devlin. "It was the first time out with the car and you cannot ask for more than this. We plan to carry on for the whole year, and it should be a great season."

The race was incident-filled from the moment the yellow flag fell to signal the start of the race behind the Safety Car, to the chequer flag, which John Graham took backwards in his Panoz-Mugen and Audi's Johnny Herbert took sidewaysafter a collision between the pair.

The Panoz pair of Jan Magnussen and David Brabham won the race by less than half a second from Herbert's Audi R8. Herbert, who shared his Audi with Tom Kristensen at Sears Point, has n ow taken the lead in the drivers' championship having won the opening round, the Sebring 12 hours, in March.

The two Audis had an eventful race, Herbert forced into a major recovery charge having lost a lap due to acollision with a back marker that caused a puncture and forced an extra pit stop. The sister car, of Emanuele Pirro, Frank Biela and Rinaldo Capello, lost time when Pirro was hit by Magnussen, forcing him wide.

The Italian ran over some debris, picked up a puncture that caused him to fly backwards off the circuit and destroy the rear of the car. Pirro brought the car back to the pits on three wheels, the Audi team performed their famous rear-end change in six minutes, andthe trio returned to the track to finish eighth in class and score 12 valuable points.

Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell led home a Corvette 1-2 in the GTS class, fifth and seventh overall, and were split by the Alex Job Racing Porsche of Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen, which finished sixth overall to win the GT category.

-lola-

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Jan Magnussen , Frank Biela , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , John Graham , Chad Block , Jon Field , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Dave McEntee , Steve Knight , Dennis Spencer , Alex Job , Rich Grupp , Emanuele Pirro
Teams Alex Job Racing