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ALMS: Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta, Hour 3 Report

The third hour started with contuining light rain, the approach of a truck carrying Michelin rain tires and a series of stops for the No. 551 Level 5 HPD for tires and a penalty. This dropped Scott Tucker into a very distant third in the LM P2 class.

PLM_Hr3_04

As is so often the case, the best racing was in GT, with Marc Goossens (No. 91 Viper) fighting to hold off Dirk Müller in the No. 56 BMW. Garcia was keeping station in third place with the healthier of the two Corvettes. By contrast, the GTC contest was surprisingly not close with Damien Faulkner (No. 66 TRG) far ahead of Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 45 Soggy Lizard.

Klaus Graf came in for tires at the 2:15 mark and was able to hold to lead thanks to the Lola stopping a short time earlier, Jani finally being relieved—Nicolas Prost taking the second stint. This concided with a drying period and both cars swapped to slicks.

PLM_Hr3_03

This all came at what was effectively 1/4 distance, edging into three figures in the 394 lap race. There were problems down the order as the No. 48 Miller Racing Porsche of Marco Holzer retired with a broken suspension.

As the sky darkened once more both LM P2 and PC races heated up a bit. Lazzaro closed to within 10 seconds of Cosmo while there were three cars on the lead lap in PC, Nunez (No. 18 Performance Tech) ahead of Tom Kimber-Smith’s No. 05 Core entry. Somewhat further back was Sean Rayhall (8 Star).

PLM_Hr3_02

Down in GTC Christina Nielsen took over the No 31 NGT entry. Highly accomplished in European Porsche Cup circles, the Danish driver is taking her first (and last) laps in ALMS. Guy Cosmo handed over the LM P2 leading HPD to a charter member of the flying Mercedes club, Peter Dumbreck. David Brabham stepped into the second in class No. 01 HPD, while Ryan Briscoe was next in the delayed Level Five No. 551.

PLM_Hr3_01

After a marathon opening stint, Tristan Nunez yielded the No. 18 Oreca to Charlie Shears. Olivier Beretta had a slight off, running the Risi Ferrari wide while battling with the No. 56 BMW of Jörg Müller for fourth in GT. Robin Liddell took over the troubled Ferrari for his first ALMS racing stint since 2007.

Janos Wimpffen