Scott Tucker, Level 5 Claim One Championship, Set Sights on the Next
Atlanta, Ga. — In a day which saw team owner Scott Tucker crowned as the 2012 L2 Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Champion, Level 5 Motorsport’s ALMS qualifying was always going to be in danger of being overshadowed by that success.
Scotsman Marino Franchitti qualified the No. 055 HPD ARX 03b and, despite concerted efforts throughout, had to settle for third place in class for tomorrow’s 1,000 mile or ten-hour Petit Le Mans. His best time of 1:12.236 was under two tenths of a second away from class pole, which was set by the French OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan, Olivier Pla just edging out the Conquest Endurance Morgan by two thousandths of a second. The No. 055 entry will see owner / driver Tucker and Marino Franchitti joined by IZOD IndyCar Series star Dario Franchitti for the race.
Marino Franchitti: “I don’t think we could have done much more but you always want to get pole so I’m slightly disappointed. If you put all the sectors together we could possibly have got a bit closer to pole but we slightly missed on the set up. Just a very small amount but, as you see, as close as it is, that’s all it takes.
“We know we have a good race car once we make a couple of little tweaks after qualifying and go back to what we ran this morning, we were very happy with the balance. Obviously the Morgans are very quick because you can see how close they are together. The main thing now is to look forward to the race and our task of getting Scott and Christophe the championship.”
Level 5’s second HPD, the No. 95, was in the hands of Mexican driver Luis Diaz for qualifying. Christophe Bouchut, who usually handles qualifying, was conserving energy for what is likely to be a long, hot and tough race for everyone tomorrow. Luis’s best lap of 1:12.890 put him sixth in the P2 category, and demonstrates just how close the competition is.
Luis Diaz: “To be honest my goal was to qualify a little bit better than that but for some reason I didn’t have the speed today. But the good thing is that we have a good race car, the car is in one piece and hopefully we’ll be strong tomorrow.”
The tenth and final round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series will begin at 11:30 tomorrow and, against the norm, Scott Tucker, Christophe Bouchut and Luis Diaz will be driving the No. 95 entry instead of the No. 055. Team Manager David Stone explains why the switch was made: “No matter how identical two chassis are built and prepared, there are always nuances in them which make drivers more comfortable in one than another. We found, after moving things around in the recent test, that the No. 95 suited Scott and Christophe and their driving style better and, with the Championship goal very much in mind, this is what we did.”
Although Scott Tucker wasn’t able to celebrate his new championship crown with a victory today due to an under-performing engine, he has achieved a very impressive record over the season despite missing one round of the 14-race series. His tally of 8 victories and two second places was unsurpassed and is a testament to the Kansas-resident’s commitment and determination to improve year on year in whatever he races in.
Source: Level 5 Motorsports