MG-Lola EX257 driving Chris Dyson took the LMP 675 drivers title this weekend at the ALMS season-ending Petit Le Mans endurance race at Road Atlanta.

Emulating the Formula One drivers' championship finale last weekend, Dyson merely had to finish to lift the crown whilst his rivals for the title, MG-Lola driving Duncan Dayton and Jon Field, had to finish in either first or second place without Dyson scoring any points for Dayton and Field and the Intersport team to take the drivers' title away from the Dyson effort.

The method of scoring meant that Dyson, who was partnered for the 10 hour or 1000 mile race by Chad Block and Didier de Radigues had to complete 276 laps, 70% of the 1000 mile distance.

Just like Michael Schumacher had last weekend in Suzuka it wasn't an easy run to the title in the final race of the season for Chris Dyson at Road Atlanta. Team-mate Chad Block crashed the car, whilst Dyson himself was tipped into a spin as he neared the 70% distance mark by the Corvette of Ron Fellows, and there was even a small fire in the car on one of the pitstops

"The car was working well. I saw some dirt on the end of turn 3 a few laps before the incident. I went through turn 3 and the car swapped ends on me," said Chad Block of his incident. The MG-Lola ploughed backwards into the wall and lost its rear wing. It had been leading the class at the time. Brock got out of the car and a full course yellow was brought about by the incident. After ten minutes delay the car was able to limp slowly back to the pits.

Come race end the #20 Dyson Racing EX257 had fought back to come home second in class, and 21st overall. The team had far better result in the course of the year, but ultimately it was sufficient from Dyson to raise the title at the end of a gruelling race.

For drivers' title rivals Duncan Dayton and Jon Field the class win was theirs. To take the Formula One analogy further, unlike Kimi Raikkonen they did win the race, but Chris Dyson's points finish was sufficient for him to take the crown.

Once the #20 Dyson car was back in the running after its earlier incidents and the drivers' title was clearly headed the way of Chris Dyson, Duncan Dayton from the Intersport effort admitted "we're cruising now."

The Intersport team, which has an eventful season to say the least, had opted to change from four to eight cylinders of MG XPOWER for this weekend and the package worked well, despite the change having been undertaken at Lola in the UK only last week and having been untested. The class win and twelfth in the overall standings was a fine debut result for this configuaration.

For Jon Field class victory means his win tally increases to 6 career and 3 season wins, team-mate Duncan Dayton sees 5 career and 3 season whilst final man in the car, Larry Connor gets his maiden win in the series.

Early LMP 675 class leader was the #16 Dyson of James Weaver who was to share the race driving duties with Andy Wallace and Butch Leitzinger and, with that driver line-up, would have been a contender for overall honours. However, Weaver took to the pits early on in the race and after returned to the race with an accompanying smoke trail, retired in the early stages.

Race Results - Petit Le Mans - Road Atlanta

1. Herbert/LehtoAudi R8LMP 900394 laps9 hours 31mins 10.608secs
2. Beretta/Saelens/PapisPanoz LMP01LMP 900386 laps
3. Biela/WernerAudi R8LMP 900385 laps
4. Jeannette/Leuenberger/MaxwellPanoz LMP01LMP 900379 laps
5. Enge/Kox/MenuFerrari 550 MaranelloGTS375 laps
6. Brabham/Magnussen/DavidsonFerrari 550 MaranelloGTS375 laps
7. Gavin/Collins/PilgrimChevrolet Corvette C5-RGTS366 laps
8. Bergmeister/Bernhard/DumasPorsche 911 GT3 RSGT360 laps
9. Luhr/MaassenPorsche 911 GT3 RSGT360 laps
10. Lewis/Drissi/PatersonRiley & Scott MkIIIC-LincolnLMP 900360 laps
11. Dor/Lammers/PolicandFerrari 550 MaranelloGTS357 laps

12. Field/Dayton/ConnorMG-Lola EX257LMP 675357 laps

13. Kelleners/LazzaroFerrari 360 ModenaGT355 laps
14. Fellows/O'Connell/FreonChevrolet Corvette C5-RGTS353 laps
15. Buckler/Wagner/LongPorsche 911 GT3 RSGT352 laps
16. Murry/Jackson/CunninghamPorsche 911 GT3 RSGT351 laps
17. Stuck/Auberlen/SaidBMW M3GT350 laps
18. Lewis/Borcheller/LawFerrari 360 ModenaGT350 laps
19. Liddell/Caffi/WarnockPorsche 911 GT3 RSGT344 laps
20. Policastro/Policastro/PobstPorsche 911 GT3 RSGT342 laps

21. Dyson/de Radigues/BlockMG-Lola EX257LMP 675320 laps

22. Downing/Katz/TeradaWR-MazdaLMP 675318 laps
23. Hindery/Baron/RockenfellerPorsche 911 GT3 RSGT313 lapsTransaxle
24. Rice/Groom/KapudijaPorsche 911 GT3 RSGT300 laps
25. Workman/Bradley/DavisLola B2K40-NissanLMP 675286 lapsOil leak
26. Negri/Frisselle/PumpellyPorsche 911 GT3 RSGT280 laps
27. Weickardt/Belloc/CayrolleDodge Viper GTS-RGTS239 lapsFrame damage
28. Bunting/Gleason/EhretPorsche 911 GT3 RSGT217 lapsMechanical
29. Willman/McMurry/RudolphPilbeam MP91LMP 675194 laps
30. Foster/Nyberg/SkeltonPanoz EsperanteGT186 lapsAccident
31. Burgess/Collin/BagnallPorsche 911 GT3 RSGT159 lapsGearbox
32. Zwart/Donner/NastasiPorsche 911 GT3 RSGT129 lapsAccident
33. Field/Durand/ObertoRiley & Scott MkIIIC-ElanLMP 90073 lapsAccident
34. Petersen/Stanton/MowlemPorsche 911 GT3 RSGT35 lapsAccident
35. Naspetti/Schiattarella/CamathiasFerrari 550 MaranelloGTS28 lapsAccident

36. Wallace/Weaver/LeitzingerMG-Lola EX257LMP 6756 lapsElectricial

37. Gregoire/Shearer/EarleFerrari 360 ModenaGT0 lapsDid not start
38. Salazar/AlexanderFerrari 360 ModenaGT0 lapsDid not start

[Pic credit: ALMS / Rick Dole]

 

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