The car that had apparently won the GTS class in Sunday's American Le Mans Series event at Laguna Seca has been excluded from the race results due to a technical infraction, race officials announced late on Sunday night.

The International Motor Sports Association [IMSA], which sanctions all ALMS events, excluded the Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello driven by Tomas Enge and Peter Kox after it failed to pass the 'stall test' that was administered during post-race inspection. The test is designed to determine if the engine in a car is drawing air from an unapproved source. Technical officials block the normal air intake of the engine and the engine should then stall. If the engine does not stall, the car fails the test.

"It's obviously very disappointing and I don't think it's fair at all," Kox said afterwards, "Despite everything that happened after the race finished, I still want to thank all the team for the hard work they've put in, both here and at the Prodrive base in England."

Ironically, the exclusion, while disappointing for the team and drivers involved, did not deprive Prodrive and Care Racing of GTS success, as the second car of David Brabham and Jan Magnussen finished second on the road, and were then awarded the victory. Second place became the preserve of the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R driven by Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell.

"Our main aim today was to bring both cars home at the head of the GTS category," Enge insisted, "This was our circuit today and we deserved the victory because of what we did on the track. What happened afterwards was not in our hands."

Despite retaining class honours, the Prodrive team has filed an official protest with IMSA officials, so all results remain provisional.

"It's a real shame to be excluded like this," team principal George Howard-Chappell commented, "Obviously, we don't dispute the fact that the car failed the stall test - in fact, the airbox actually failed during the stall test carried out by the stewards during post-race scrutineering.

"What we are questioning is that inspection of the ACO recorded data shows that both cars were fully in compliance with the regulations throughout the entire race, and I feel very badly for the whole team to have the car excluded on a technicality as a result of the failure of a component."



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