31 July 2005
Portland 2005: Biela, Pirro deny unlucky Dyson.
Trailing by 1.5secs with two laps left, Emanuele Pirro couldn't believe his eyes as he closed quickly on Dyson Racing's #16 Lola, which had lost fuel pressure while leading, to win the Portland Grand Prix.
Four miles proved to be the difference, as Pirro clawed his way back from third place with about 30 minutes left to put himself in position to go by James Weaver on lap 136 of 138. Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace, in the second of the Dyson Lolas also found a way past Weaver, who had led by more than four seconds in the waning moments, to finish ten seconds out of the lead.
"I've known James since our F3 days, and I like fighting hard with a guy with a lot of experience," Pirro said afterwards, "I know I can push hard and still trust him to do right.
"Initially I was unhappy that I took the lead under those circumstances, as I would have rather passed him under racing. But, when I found out it was because he ran out of petrol, I was happier because that means they took a risk and it didn't play out for them. That's racing, that's another story."
A second straight win for Pirro and ADT Champion Audi co-driver Frank Biela moved them ahead of team-mates Marco Werner and JJ Lehto in the P1 drivers' championship, after fortune frowned upon the defending race and series champions after just 45 minutes.
As Werner attempted to go past the #4 Corvette Racing C6-R of Olivier Beretta, the Audi spun under braking. The German was able to nurse the damaged car back to the pits, but the crew had to replace the rear cover. Lehto took over but, once back on the track, the rear bodywork flew off, this time as the #1 machine moved past the #63 ACEMCO Motorsports Saleen. Lehto spun off the track and took Terry Borcheller with him, both cars retiring from the race.
"We are a young crew," Pirro said, "By each race, we are improving and improving and improving - now the championship looks good for us."
In LMP2, the #37 Intersport Racing Lola won for the third time this year, as Clint Field and Gregor Fisken drove past a stranded #10 Miracle Motorsports Courage near the two-hour mark. Field has now won three times this season and moved past Miracle's Jeff Bucknum and Chris McMurry for the drivers lead in P2.
"It's always a struggle to get a good match, but with great drivers at your disposal like Liz Halliday and Gregor Fisken that can adapt to my driving style, our car, and our team, it makes winning easier," Field said, "Gregor did a great job on his stint. He kept it safe and kept it clean and our team did a great job on the stops.
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