ALMS: Post Longbeach Race wrap.

ALMS LogoThe second round of the ALMS season looked promising on all fronts. The 2010 rendition of the event saw a record 36 entrants take to the streets of Longbeach, with a field consisting of seven LMP, thirteen GT, seven LMPC, and nine LMPC entries.

Being the first race of many to be run under IMSA’s recently introduced LMP equalisation rules, and the shortest event on the calendar at just 100mins, Longbeach managed to deliver the excitement series organisers and fans had been hoping for straight out of the box. The prototype ranks saw an intensely fought battle between series favourites Highcroft and AMR throughout the course of the weekend. AMR drew first blood during qualifying, with series regular Adrian Fernandez securing pole position by a margin of .072sec over Highcroft’s Simon Pagenaud.

The race opened in typical Longbeach fashion with an awkward scramble for position into turn one. LMP was very much an AMR/Highcroft dominated affair, with both cars being closely matched in terms of overall speed, each showing their strengths and weaknesses in different sections of the tight, beach side circuit. The two teams, very much in their own class, exchanged heated lap times in the earlier stages of the race. Primat and Brabham opting to set a consistently brutal pace that their partners would later maintain throughout the course of the event.

Fernandez and Pagenaud battle on the streets of Longbeach - Image courtesy Speedtv.com/John Dagys.

After an ambitious showing from both drivers, Brabham would make contact with Primat through the tighter corners of the second sector, causing the Swiss driver to lose control of the Lola-AMR, damaging the fragile left-rear bodywork. A move which resulted in a stop-go penalty for the Highcroft team. Displaying a refreshing level of maturity and professionalism, Brabham later took full responsibility for the incident, taking the time to apologise to both Primat and AMR for causing any damage.

The final minutes of Longbeach 2010 saw a display of spirited driving the event has now become renowned for. Having replaced Primat at the wheel of the #007 AMR, Fernandez moved into first place. Pagenaud fought furiously to move the #1 Highcroft car through the congested GT traffic, struggling to keep pace with the AMR’s powerful V12 on the main straight. Showing the ARX01’s obvious speed through the tighter sections of the track, the Frenchman took advantage of a final lap error by Fernandez. Taking first place overall, beating the Lola-AMR by across the start/finish line by mere 0.353sec.

MuscleMilk team CytoSport’s duo of Pickett/Graf placed third in the combined LMP class. The teams’ RS Spyder also winning Michelin’s ‘GreenX Challenge’  as a result of being the fastest/most efficient prototype entry for the duration of the event. A respectable showing for the recent Sebring 12H LMP2 champions.

Risi leads field into first corner

Melo leads during the opening laps - Image courtesy Speedtv.com/John Dagys.

The GT category proved to be a worthy dogfight, commencing in a very similar manner to Sebring. The #14 FalkenTire entry of Henzler took off to an early lead, only to fall back into the field shortly after as a result of the not-so-developed Falken shoes on the car. Daring pit strategies by the Rahal Letterman and Flying Lizard squads led to an entertaining brawl for position in the later stages of the race.

RLR BMW of Auberlen/Milner, FalkenTyre in pursuit.

#92 RLR BMW of Auberlen/Milner - Image courtesy Speedtv.com/John Dagys.

Opting against a fresh set of Dunlops during the cars’ sole pit stop had seemingly paid off for the #92 RLR-BMW, until the closing laps. The #45 of Long would pass a struggling Milner, now left defending against Magnussen and Bruni on double-stinted tyres. Long would go on to finish first for the Flying Lizard Motorsports squad in a deserving victory for the #45 team, after suffering heartbreak at Sebring. In a valuable points haul for the P&M squad, Magnussen would finish second, followed by the #92 RLR-BMW of Milner, and #62 Risi Ferrari of Bruni in fourth.

LMPC saw a close fight between the #99 Green Earth Gunnar, #55 Level5 Motorsport, and #36 Genoa entries. Jeanette would go on to take victory in the #99, followed by the #55 of Bouchut in second, and the #36 of Sutherland finishing third. In GTC the #81 Alex Job entry backed up their Sebring victory by reigning triumphant on the Californian streets. The #81 crew of Leitzinger/Gonzalez taking the first step of the podium, followed by #32 of Sofranas/Curtis in second, and #23 of Sweedler/Kapudija in third.

Final position listings can be seen below:

  1. 1     P             (Brabham)/Pagenaud*        67           HPD ARX-01c
  2. 007 P           (Primat)/Fernandez*           67           Lola B09 60 Aston
  3. 6     P             (Pickett)/Graf*                        67           Porsche RS Spyder
  4. 16   P             (Dyson*)/Smith                      67           Lola B09 86 Mazda
  5. 99   PC          (Julian)/Jeannette*              66           Oreca FLM09
  6. 55   PC          (Tucker)/Bouchut*               65           Oreca FLM09
  7. 36   PC          (Hildebrand*)/Sutherland 65           Oreca FLM09
  8. 45   GT          (Bergmeister)/Long*           65           Porsche 911 RSR
  9. 12   P             (Drissi*)/Davis                        65           Lola B06 10
  10. 3     GT          (Magnussen/(O’Connell*)   65           Chevrolet
  11. 92   GT          (Auberlen*)/Milner             65            BMW M3 GT
  12. 62   GT          (Melo*/(Bruni)                       65            Ferrari 430 GT
  13. 90   GT          (Mueller)/Hand*                   65            BMW M3 GT
  14. 17   GT          (Sellers/(Henzler*)               65            Porsche 911 RSR
  15. 01   GT          (Sharp*/(van Overbeek)    65            Ferrari 430 GT
  16. 02   GT          (Brown)/Cosmo*                  64            Ferrari 430 GT
  17. 89   PC           (Pagerey/(Wong*)               63            Oreca FLM09
  18. 4     GT           (Beretta*)/Gavin                  63             Chevrolet Corvette
  19. 81   GTC        (Gonzalez)/Leitzinger*      63             Porsche 911 GT3 C
  20. 32   GTC        (Curtis)/Sofronas*              63             Porsche 911 GT3 C
  21. 23   GTC        (Sweedler)/Kapudija*       63              Porsche 911 GT3 C
  22. 11   PC           (Bonilla)/Marcelli*             62              Oreca FLM09
  23. 40   GT          (D.Robertson/(Murry*)   62              Doran Ford GT-R
  24. 88   GTC        (Lewis*/(Vento)                  62              Porsche 911 GT3 C
  25. 8     P              (Drayson)/Cocker*             62              Lola B09 60
  26. 48   GTC        (Miller*/(McMullen)          61              Porsche 911 GT3 C
  27. 69   GTC        (Rodriguez)/Bieker*           61             Porsche 911 GT3 C
  28. 80   GTC        (Gonzalez/(Diaz*)                60            Porsche 911 GT3 C
  29. 54   GTC        (Pappas)/Bleekemolen*    60            Porsche 911 GT3 C
  30. 37   P             (J.Field*)/C.Field                 48            Lola B06 10
  31. 63   GTC        (Richard)/Lally*                  48            Porsche 911 GT3 C
  32. 75   GT          (Gentilozzi)/Dalziel*           45            Jaguar XKRS
  33. 44   GT          (Law*/(Neiman)                   28            Porsche 911 RSR
  34. 28   GTC       (Beggs*)/Baron                     6               Porsche 911 GT3 C
  35. 52   PC          (Mowlem*/(Papadopoulos)3           Oreca FLM09
  36. 95   PC          (Tucker*/(Hunter-Reay) 0                Oreca FLM09
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