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American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix Race Report
Circuit: Lime Rock Park (1.474-mile road course) Lakeville, CT
Weather: Clear, warm, afternoon high 88 degrees F
Top 10 Overall Race Results:
|1.||1-LMP1||Klaus Graf/Lucas Luhr||Muscle Milk Racing||HPD ARX-03a||168 laps|
|2.||2-LMP1||Chris Dyson/Guy Smith||Dyson Racing||Lola B12/60 Mazda||168 -12.392 sec.|
|3.||1-LMP2||Luis Diaz/Scott Tucker||Level 5 Motorsports||HPD ARX-03b||168 -27.024 sec.|
|4.||2-LMP2||David Hansson/Martin Plowman||Conquest Racing||Morgan Nissan||
168 -27.212 sec.
|5.||1-LMPC||Jon Bennett/Colin Braun||CORE Autosport||Oreca FLM09 Chevrolet||164|
|6.||2-LMPC||Tom Kimber-Smith/Alex Papow||CORE Autosport||Oreca FLM09 Chevrolet||164|
|7.||3-LMP2||Patrick Dempsey/Joe Foster||Dempsey Racing||Lola B12/87 Judd BMW||162|
|8.||3-LMPC||Henri Richard/Duncan Ende||Dempsey Racing||Oreca FLM09 Chevrolet||162|
|9.||1-GT||Jorg Bergmeister/Patrick Long||Flying Lizard Motorsports||Porsche 911||160|
|10.||2-GT||Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia||Corvette Racing||Chevrolet Corvette||160|
HPD Sweeps Lime Rock Park
A thrilling, come-from-behind effort by the Muscle Milk Racing duo of Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr in their HPD ARX-03a saw the pair score its third consecutive overall and LMP1 victory of 2012 Saturday at the American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix at Connecticut's Lime Rock Park.
In addition, Level 5 Motorsports continued its streak of American Le Mans Series LMP2 class victories, and is now four-for-four on the season, as Christophe Bouchut and Scott Tucker teamed up for the win aboard their HPD ARX-03b.
Starting on the outside of the front row, Luhr passed pole qualifier Chris Dyson's Lola-Mazda just six laps into the race, then edged away until a problem with the gearbox electronics resulted in a long stop 45 minutes into the contest. When repairs were complete, the Muscle Milk team found itself four laps behind the leaders and 21st overall.
Once repairs were complete, a relentless charge by Luhr and Graf got the ARX-03a back into contention, and the timing of yellows and pit stops meant that, with less than 30 minutes to go, the Muscle Milk machine was back on the lead lap and nose-to-tail with the leading Dyson entry. When the green flag waved for the final time, Graf was soon past Dyson's co-driver Guy Smith and secured Muscle Milk's third win in succession when a late-race accident led to the race finishing under yellow.
Level 5's LMP2 win also was the result of a drive through the field, as the team elected to withdraw its #95 HPD ARX-03b and start the #055 car at the rear of the 29-car field in a strategic move to pair Bouchut with Tucker.
Bouchut surged through the field and led overall for more than 30 minutes, then team owner/driver Tucker held off the attacks of the Conquest Morgan-Nissan of Martin Plowman and David Heinemeier Hansson late in the contest to finish third overall and first in LMP2. It marked the fourth consecutive class victory for Level 5, which is undefeated in American Le Mans Series LMP2 competition this year.
HPD, Muscle Milk and Level 5 Motorsports will try to continue their winning streaks later this month, as the American Le Mans Series heads north of the border for its annual Canadian round, the July 22 Mobil1 Presents the Grand Prix of Mosport, at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.
Klaus Graf (#6 Muscle Milk Racing HPD ARX-03a) Finished 1st overall, 1st in LMP1: "I literally qualified every lap. I couldn't have gone any quicker. Until I had gotten into the lead, I wasn't aware. I just pushed like crazy in traffic, taking a lot of risks. I felt like I must have blacked out, [because] I was pushing so hard."
Christophe Bouchut (#055 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b) Finished 3rd overall, 1st in LMP2: "Scott [Tucker] said we had a chance to win today. But at Lime Rock this was going to be difficult. We had to overtake so many cars and there are not a lot of places to do that. I was running really well and I just kept pushing as hard as I could. It turned out that was enough to keep driving around and making good passes."
Steve Eriksen (Vice President, Honda Performance Development) on Saturday's American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix: "What a great result for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing and Level 5 Motorsports against formidable competition. After barely missing out on pole, the Muscle Milk team then had to contend with an extended pit stop due to an electrical gremlin. However, the never-say-die attitude of Lucas and Klaus resulted in a well-deserved overall victory. Scott Tucker did a commendable job of holding off the LMP2 competition during the closing laps leading up to the race ending under full-course caution. It was great to see the Honda Performance Development cars leading the race and ending up on the top step of the podium in both LMP1 and LMP2."