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Honda, Corvette Win At Laguna Seca

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, May 12 2012

Muscle Milk Pickett's HPD Prototype won at Laguna Seca. (File photo courtesy of the American Le Mans Series)


Muscle Milk Pickett Racing got its second straight victory in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón on Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

In the GT class,  Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner also took their second consecutive win.

Seven cars in the GT class were within two seconds in the closing hour with the Corvette fighting BMW Team RLL’s two BMW M3s and Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs from Flying Lizard Motorsports and Team Falken Tire.

Gavin made what turned out to be the winning pass in his Corvette C6.R on Team Falken Tire’s Wolf Henzler with a little less than hour left at the final turn. But the drama carried on for the next 60 minutes. Bill Auberlen in the No. 55 BMW M3 GT looked set to challenge Gavin for the race win before Jan Magnussen in the other Corvette muscled his way past the BMW with less than 15 minutes to go.

Magnussen and Antonio Garcia wrapped up a Corvette 1-2. Auberlen and Jörg Müller placed third.

At the front of the field, Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr dominated in their Honda Performance Development ARX-03a prototype. They duo trailed for less than a quarter of a lap after a strong start at the green flag by Dyson Racing. The Muscle Milk duo moved into the P1 championship lead with the victory.

Dyson’s trio of Chris Dyson, Guy Smith and Johnny Mowlem placed third.

Level 5 Motorsports is three-for-three on the season in P2 following a victory for Franck Montagny, Scott Tucker and Luis Diaz. Their HPD ARX-03b overcame a couple of penalties in pitlane and a wild day for each of the three cars that led the class.

The race-leading No. 055 crashed out just after it lost the lead – ironically with Montagny driving that car as well – and Conquest Racing suffered a late-race mechanical issue that took it out of contention. Its Morgan-Nissan of Martin Plowman, David Heinemeier Hansson and Antonio Pizzonia placed second in class.

CORE autosport won for the third straight Prototype Challenge race as well, but this time the No. 05 ORECA FLM09 of Colin Braun and Jon Bennett were class victors this time around. Braun passed RSR Racing’s Bruno Junqueira on the next-to-last lap as the two cars split a GT Challenge car on the last part of the lap.

Junqueira, Tomy Drissi and Roberto Gonzalez ended second with the other CORE entry of Alex Popow and Tom Kimber-Smith third. The top three cars were within 1.725 seconds.

Jeroen Bleekemolen drove a storming final stint to give TRG it’s first GT Challenge victory of the season. The 2010 class co-champion beat GMG Racing’s James Sofronas by 12 seconds at the finish. Bleekemolen drove the TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with Bret Curtis and Emilio Di Guida.

Sofronas, Alex Welch and Rene Villineuve were five seconds ahead of Competition Motorsports’ trio of Bob Faieta, Michael Avenatti and Cort Wagner.

Saturday’s results

1. (1) Klaus Graf, Germany; Lucas Luhr, Germany; HPD ARX-03a Honda (1, P1), 242.

2. (4) Luis Diaz, Mexico; Scott Tucker; Franck Montagny, Brignoles France; HPD ARX-03b Honda (2, P2), 239.

3. (10) Colin Braun, Ovalo, TX; Jon Bennett; Oreca FLM09 (3, PC), 236.

4. (6) Roberto Gonzalez; Tomy Drissi, Hollywood, CA; Bruno Junqueira; Oreca FLM09 (4, PC), 236.

5. (7) Tom Kimber-Smith, England; Alex Papow; Oreca FLM09 (5, PC), 236.

6. (8) Michael Guasch, Palo Alto, CA; Memo Gidley, San Rafael, CA; Archie Hamilton, Hampshire, UK; Oreca FLM09 (6, PC), 236.

7. (12) Lucas Downs, North Mankoto, MN; Kyle Marcelli; Dean Stirling, England; Oreca FLM09 (7, PC), 234.

8. (9) Butch Leitzinger, State College, PA; Ken Dobson, Carmel Valley, CA; Oreca FLM09 (8, PC), 232.

9. (17) Oliver Gavin; Tom Milner, Leesburg, VA; Corvette C6-ZR1 (1, GT), 232.

10. (20) Jan Magnussen; Antonio Garcia; Corvette C6-ZR1 (2, GT), 232.

11. (18) Jorg Muller, Germany; Bill Auberlen, Hermosa Beach, CA; BMW E92 M3 (3, GT), 232.

12. (22) Dirk Mueller; Joey Hand, Sacramento, CA; BMW E92 M3 (4, GT), 232.

13. (21) Scott Sharp, Jupiter, FL; Johannes van Overbeek, San Francisco, CA; Ferrari F458 Italia (5, GT), 232.

14. (19) Patrick Long, Oak Park, CA; Jorg Bergmeister; Richard Lietz, Ybbsitz; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (6, GT), 232.

15. (24) Bryan Sellers, Centerville, OH; Wolf Henzler; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (7, GT), 232.

16. (11) Ryan Lewis, UK; Duncan Ende, Los Angeles; Henri Richard; Oreca FLM09 (8, PC), 231.

17. (16) Stefan Mucke, Germany; Darren Turner; Adrian Fernandez; Aston Martin Vantage (9, GT), 230.

18. (27) Marco Holzer; Seth Neiman, Burlingame, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (10, GT), 230.

19. (25) Sascha Maassen; Bryce Miller, Hoboken, NJ; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (11, GT), 229.

20. (35) David Heinemeier Hansson; Martin Plowman, Indianapolis, IN; Antonio Pizzonia, Manaus BR; Morgan/Nissan (12, P2), 227.

21. (13) Anthony Nicolosi, Brooklyn, NY; Ricardo Vera; Oreca FLM09 (13, PC), 225.

22. (23) Guy Cosmo, Long Island, NY; Ed Brown, Las Vegas, NV; Ferrari F458 Italia (14, GT), 224.

23. (2) Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Johnny Mowlem, England; Guy Smith, Beverley, UK; Lola B12/60 Mazda (15, P1), 222.

24. (30) Emilio Di Guida; Joeren Bleekemolen, Netherlands; Brett Curtis, Valencia, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (1, GTC), 219.

25. (34) James Sofronas, Newport Beach, CA; Rene Villeneuve, Woodland Hills, CA; Alex Welch; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (2, GTC), 219.

26. (32) Michael Aventatti; Bob Faieta, Tujunga, CA; Cort Wagner, Pacific Palisades, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (3, GTC), 219.

27. (33) Anthony Lazzaro, Acworth, GA; Cooper MacNeil; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (4, GTC), 216.

28. (28) Damien Faulkner; Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, Haarlem, NL; Peter Lesaffre, Rye, NH; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (5, GTC), 211.

29. (3) Scott Tucker; Christophe Bouchut, France; Franck Montagny, Brignoles France; HPD ARX-03b Honda (6, P2), 207.

30. (5) Joe Foster, Lawrenceville, GA; Jonny Cocker, UK; Patrick Dempsey; Lola B12/87-Judd BMW V8 (7, P2), 202.

31. (14) Andrew Prendeville, Chatham, NJ; Rusty Mitchell, Midland, TX; Duarte Felix de Costa, Cascias PT; Radical SR10/Rousch Yates (8, P2), 185.

32. (29) Nick Tandy; Mike Hedlund, Woodside, CA; Tracy Krohn, Houston, TX; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (9, GTC), 178.

33. (31) Martin Ragginger, Austria; Chris Cumming, Vancouver, BC; Matthew Marsh, Welwyn, UK; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (10, GTC), 119.

34. (15) Tony Burgess, Canada; Antonio Downs, Minneapolis, MN; Chapman Ducote, Miami, FL; Oreca FLM09 (11, PC), 100.

35. (26) Townsend Bell, Santa Monica, CA; Bill Sweedler, Westport, CT; Lotus Evora/Cosworth (16, GT), 67.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, May 12 2012
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