ROMAIN DUMAS and TIMO BERNHARD will have to wait until at least Sunday, if not Tuesday, to see if they keep their American Le Mans Series victory at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

It will take that long for ALMS to make a decision and announce the official results. It is standard practice in the series for the official results to come out the day after the race.

At question is whether or not the winning Penske drivers exceeded the mandated 70 minute maximum driver time in the race car. The #26 Andretti Green Acura ARX-01a team - DARIO FRANCHITTI and BRYAN HERTA - filed a protest after the race, claiming the Penske drivers did exceed the time limit. Until TIM MAYER, ALMS COO, reviews the material and renders a decision, the results are provisional.

Dumas led for the final 28 laps. Franchitti led for the first 30 laps, turning the fastest P2 race lap of 1m 13.418s on lap 36. Team-mate Herta led for ten laps.

Second and third in P2 were the sister Penske Porsche of SASCHA MAASSEN and RYAN BRISCOE, despite a flat tyre from a bolt on track, and ANDY WALLACE and BUTCH LEITZINGER.

The top seven finishers overall were in the P2 class, the lesser of the two prototype ALMS categories. Of those P2 cars, four of the top five were Porsches, and Porsche leads Acura in the manufacturers' championship standings. The P2 class had eight cars.

Four of the 25-car field were P1 cars, the top prototype category. The class winners were the Audis, with RINALDO CAPELLO and ALLAN McNISH claiming the victory, in seventh place overall. The sister Audi with EMANUELE PIRRO and MARCO WERNER was ninth overall, with Pirro leading seven laps after passing Franchitti. Pirro also turned the fastest P1 race lap of 1m 13.830s on lap 35. His fast P1 lap was not as fast as Franchitti's P2 fast race lap. This car was rear-ended during the race by a GT2 Porsche, getting a flat tyre. This was the first 'defeat' for the Audis, not finishing first overall. They had a ten-race streak, starting 13 months ago when the car made its ALMS debut. Audi still leads the P1 manufacturers' championship.

The other two P1 cars were Intersport Racing's Creation CA06H - with father and son JON and CLINT FIELD and RICHARD BERRY - in 18th place, and Autocon Motorsports' Lola EX257 in 21st place, with MIKE LEWIS and CHRIS McMURRY. Lewis hit the wall on the pace lap which brought extra time in the pits and associated mechanical problems. It was a bolt from his accident which was picked up by Briscoe Penske Porsche.

The familiar yellow GT1 Corvettes finished 0.349secs apart. This is the third consecutive victory for 'the Ollies' - OLIVIER BERETTA and OLIVER GAVIN. They now lead their team-mates - JAN MAGNUSSEN and JOHNNY O'CONNELL - by 28 points in the standings. Beretta has 31 ALMS, the most of any driver in the series. Gavin has 28 wins. Chevrolet is leading the manufacturer points, 66 to the 19 of Aston Martin. Magnussen turned the fastest GT1 race lap at 1m 17.781s on lap eight.

STEVE WESOLOSKI, GM's road racing manager, said: "It's a shame we don't have anyone to race because it would have been fun to prove it - to have someone to chase down or have them try to catch us. But this is the situation we have, so we're using these races to prove the cars' reliability and to keep the engineering staff and the pit crews sharp for Le Mans".

The pole GT2 car finished first in class, twelfth overall, with MIKA SALO and JAIME MELO. Second were DARREN LAW and PATRICK LONG, finishing 13th overall, followed by the other Risi Ferrari, with NIC JONSSON and ANTONY LAZZARRO in 14th place. DIRK MULLER finished sixth in class, and 17th place overall, on debut with Petersen/White Lightning's Ferrari, and ran the fastest GT2 race lap of 1m 21.465s on lap 60. This is the new car which was built in three days after the team crashed out its race car at St Pete.

TOM MILNER hit the wall early in the race and retired with wheel and suspension damage. It brought out the only caution of the race, for five laps. Owner-driver ADRIAN FERNANDEZ was running third overall and in P2 class when he ran out of fuel five minutes before the chequered flag. He finished seventh overall and in class. His co-driver was fellow Mexican, LUIS DIAZ.

The next ALMS race is next weekend at the Grand Prix of Houston, another street race.

PS DAVID SIMS, team manager for Risi Competizione, confirmed on Saturday night that his team did not make a job offer to NIGEL MANSELL to race its Ferrari 430 in any series. This is contrary to rumours floating around the internet. Sims speculates what might have fuelled the thought was Mansell being seen with the Risi team at last year's season finale race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Mansell and the team are great friends, but he hasn't been offered a ride...yet.

Comments

Loading Comments...