Disappointment For Smith In Latest American Race * Collision costs Yorkshireman any chance of podium result in red-flagged race * Briton now looks ahead to American Le Mans Series finale Guy Smith suffered disappointment in the American Le...
Disappointment For Smith In Latest American Race
* Collision costs Yorkshireman any chance of podium result in red-flagged race
* Briton now looks ahead to American Le Mans Series finale
Guy Smith suffered disappointment in the American Le Mans Series' only visit to Canada yesterday (August 29).
The 35-year-old from Beverley, co-driven by Chris Dyson, brought the Castrol Dyson Racing Lola Coupe Mazda home seventh overall, fifth in class at the historic Mosport track near Toronto. A collision with Dyson at the wheel cost them a likely rostrum finish.
Dyson had claimed the team's third consecutive front row start position in qualifying the previous day but a decision to change all four tyres for the 165mins race, obliged Dyson to start from the back of the 29-car grid.
Smith's co-driver consistently set the fastest lap times and pitted from second place for fuel and tyres after almost one hour before disaster struck on 67mins when Dyson collected a left rear puncture and bodywork damage after colliding with a slower car, the incident bringing out the Safety Car to collect wreckage from the track.
Guy took over the Castrol Lola now fourth but immediately returned to the pits for further suspension repairs, Smith heading back in to the race placed eighth but five laps behind the leader. Further woes saw the Briton drop a further two places after serving a one-minute penalty for when Dyson made his original stop when the pits were closed.
Smith, who started the Canadian race fourth in the standings, set his car's fastest lap around the ultra-fast 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course with 46mins to run. Moments later the race went full course yellow after another incident, organisers taking the unusual step of temporarily stopping the race with almost 30mins to run to make repairs to the damaged crash barriers. After almost a further hour, officials ultimately opted not to re-start the race.
"It was a tough weekend for our Castrol-Mazda team as we had a great qualifying session to line-up on the front row of the grid only to suffer a puncture with our qualifying tyres which forced us to start from the back," reflected Smith. "But Chris drove a great stint and was challenging the leading Porsche Spyder with Romain Dumas behind the wheel when Chris got a run on him as they entered the super fast Turn 2.
"But as they entered the corner a Corvette GT car was also in the same place and as the Porsche moved over on Chris, Chris moved over on the Corvette. With nowhere to go, they both made contact. We dropped down the order as our car was fixed and returned to the race to set some really quick times but the damage had already been done and we were five laps down.
"Mosport is the highest speed circuit we race on all season," added Guy. "More than any place else, it feels like an oval circuit. You have to be very smooth and inch perfect. When it all clicks and you do a fast lap, it is a massively rewarding."
The ninth and final round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series is the 13th Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta on 2 October. The 1,000-mile endurance classic, which annually attracts record-breaking crowds, has previously seen Smith claim second (2005) and third (2007) placings overall. Last year, Smith and Dyson finished seventh overall at the chequered flag, an "unofficial" result due to their Lola running on advanced biofuel which championship organisers did not classify last year.
Guy added: "I'm really looking forward to the Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA2 race when we will be back racing in the LMP2 class but the our competition will still come from the same teams that we have been battling against all season long while I also expect some strong competition from some of the European teams that are making the trip.
"It will be tough to beat the LMP1 class cars but I hope we can mix it up with a few of them and possibly make the top five overall.
"Chris and I actually won the LMP2 class last year but as we were running the brand new BP isobutenol fuel we ran as unclassified so didn't actually score the points but as a race it's been very good to us.
"Our car has been mega in recent races so I have every reason to think we will be very strong. It's sad that it's the last race of the year but what an event to round off the season. Along with Le Mans and Sebring, it is one of the top sportscar events in the world and it always generates a great crowd and that ensures and electric atmosphere."
-source: guy smith PR