THE Lola Coupe of the Dyson Racing team won the American Le Mans Series LMP2 class in a rain-hit Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Sunday. The Lola Mazda of Butch Leitzinger, Marino Franchitti and Ben Devlin had pulled 29 laps clear of second place when th
THE Lola Coupe of the Dyson Racing team won the American Le Mans Series LMP2 class in a rain-hit Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Sunday.
The Lola Mazda of Butch Leitzinger, Marino Franchitti and Ben Devlin had pulled 29 laps clear of second place when the race was stopped four hours and 49 minutes into the scheduled 10 hours.
Franchitti said: "There were so many different conditions in the first two hours of the race and the car was fantastic in all of them. There was a point in the race where we passed Audis and Peugeots."
The sister Lola Mazda of Chris Dyson and Guy Smith also delivered a strong performance as they raced with a new biofuel blend. The team were not classified because they were testing the fuel, but finished seventh overall and nine laps ahead of the LMP2 Coupe.
"It is an honour for the team to have won this race," said Rob Dyson. "I have raced a lot of cars that were good and a lot of cars that were bad, but never raced any cars that were unclassified! So this is a one-one finish for Dyson Racing: first in the biobutanol class and first in LMP2."
The race also marked the competitive debut of the Drayson Racing Lola Judd, raced by Paul Drayson, Jonny Cocker and Rob Bell, which stood in 10th in the LMP1 standings when the race was red-flagged.
The result was especially impressive given a heavy crash nearly three hours into the race, at the start of Rob Bell's stint.
The left-front wheel separated from the car, sending Bell ploughing into the tyre wall. After an hour and a half of repairs in the pits, the car emerged to take to the track again just as the rain began to fall.
Bell said: "It was pretty hairy going towards the tyre barrier - I didn't really know what happened to be honest. It just lost all grip and the next thing I know I'm in the barrier. After that, the team did a great job to get the car back on track.