SMITH CONSOLIDATES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD WITH STRONG SECOND PLACE
Guy records second ALMS career “pole” on demanding “street” track
Guy Smith continues to lead the American Le Mans Series after finishing runner-up in second round of the series at Long Beach on Saturday (16 Apr).
Smith, who claimed sixth in the opening race at Sebring last month, netted the latest top result in the Californian race with American co-driver Chris Dyson in their #16 G-OIL/ModSpace/Construct Corps Mazda Lola.
Dyson started the 83-lap, two-hour race staged on the temporary 1.968 miles, 11-turn “street” circuit from pole-position on the 31-car grid after Smith had recorded his second overall ALMS “pole” following his first last year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca the previous day.
The Beverley driver took over the second-placed Lola from co-driver Dyson 16secs off the lead a little over an hour into the two-hour race, maintaining the position to the chequered flag, 24.624secs behind the winner.
Smith reflected: “It was a challenging race but the main goal was to score solid points. There is disappointment in that we felt we had the opportunity to win but it turned out we did not have the pace in the race we had in qualifying. Looking at the big picture of the championship, we leave California in a good frame of mind.”
The American Le Mans Series now goes in to a “holding” pattern for almost three months. The third race of the series, the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park, is not until 9 July to allow for teams to prepare for the “highlight” event of the sportscar year – the Le Mans 24 Hours.
It was a challenging race but the main goal was to score solid points.
2003 Le Mans 24 Hour race winner Smith drives for Swiss-based Rebellion Racing for a second consecutive year in this year’s race staged on 11-12 June but samples its Lola Coupé Toyota in a one-day test at the famous French venue on Easter Sunday (23 Apr).
Guy commented: “I’m looking forward to returning to Le Mans with Rebellion Racing. It’s my second year with the team and I feel that we have unfinished business there after a tough run in 2010. The Lola chassis now has some significant aero upgrades which should help at Le Mans while we are now powered by a Toyota engine which is a real boost to our programme offering both performance and reliability.
“We know that we have to be the best of the petrol cars and there will be some good competition in the shape of the ‘factory’ Aston Martin cars and the Pescarolo team who have a great history at Le Mans. I think the best we can hope for is a top-five position as the ‘factory’ diesel-engined cars of Audi and Peugeot will be in a class of their own."
-source: guy smith PR