Monterey – Mid-race update
Monterey – Mid-race update
The clock has passed 7:00 p.m. and things continue to be in flux. As expected, the temperatures have continued to drop. At 5:30 p.m., the temperature was 55 degrees Fahrenheit ambient and 73 on the track, but by 6:00 p.m. the temperatures were 52 and 66, and by 6:30, 50 and 64.
Marino Franchitti and Guy Smith have taken over in the leading Highcroft HPD and Dyson Lola Mazda, respectively, and Smith closed the gap to the lead to about three seconds for the overall lead, a solid comeback from down more than 16 seconds on a restart.
Smith just took the lead on the outside of Franchitti on the front straight, diving down into Turn 2. In his stint, Smith turned in several fast laps.
In GT, Corvette now leads with Oliver Gavin at the wheel. The Corvette leads the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche wheeled by Patrick Long and the No. 90 Rahal Letterman BMW. The Risi Competizione Ferrari has had a couple impacts and has most of its front bumper removed, with Gianmaria Bruni hanging on for seventh in class.
Less than a normal race distance remains at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Ordinarily ALMS events are 2 hours, 45 minutes – we now have 2 hours, 30 minutes left in this six-hour event.
Things have been frantic. The Highcroft Racing HPD ARX 01-c leads overall, David Brabham now aboard from Simon Pagenaud. They took the lead after Andy Meyrick spun exiting Turn 11 right before a restart. Aboard the Dyson Racing Lola Mazda, Meyrick caught the grass and spun into the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09 in the LMPC class. Meyrick’s car suffered front bodywork damage while the Oreca was hauled away on the back of a flatbed truck.
The Dyson car still runs second overall. Some of the other LMP contenders have hit problems. Memo Gidley took over from Klaus Graf in the Muscle Milk Team CytoSport Porsche RS Spyder, but endured a fraught few minutes. He spun at Turn 11 coming to a restart, and also had shifter problems which cost the team several laps. Sascha Maassen has now taken over.
Also, the Drayson Racing Lola Judd has retired from the race with gearbox problems. The Autocon Lola AER is still circulating after a couple off course excursions, several laps off the pace.
GT has seen the BMWs lead the middle portion of the race on a slightly different pit strategy, but things have fluctuated. Gianmaria Bruni has made some solid maneuvers in the Risi Competizione Ferrari, but has been hounded by the two factory Corvette ZR1s. All four manufacturers and the Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferraris have all been in contention for the lead and top five positions. It’s never over until it’s over in this class.
The Genoa Racing car led LMPC for a while but has fallen to second behind Level 5’s No. 55 car, now driven by Mark Wilkins.