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Lime Rock SlugFest; CytoSport Scores Second Victory

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On: Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 11:46AM | By: John Welch

Lime Rock SlugFest; CytoSport Scores Second Victory

So maybe the title of this article is slightly misleading. Saturday, at Lime Rock, CytoSport/Muscle Milk was able to hand the Porsche RS Spyder its second post-Penske victory, but its first over-all victory this season. What in the huh am I talking about? Lime Rock Park saw one, combined LMP class (a very dismal field of five cars) take to the tarmac. CytoSport took its first victory at Sebring, but because the prototypes were still separated into LMP1 and 2, it was only a class victory. Seriously, that race featured a duo of Peugeot 908s; it was over before it began.

Ahem, technically its first victory, Klaus Graff and the CytoSport crew made it as exciting as the limited car count would allow. Raining and slippery during qualifying on Friday, Patron-Highcroft was able to use their tractable HPD V8 to great effect, taking the pole handily over the rest of the field. Saturday's race, however, was completely dry, the changing conditions giving the upper hand to more powerful turbo and 10-cylinder cars. The start was gnashed-teeth exciting, the Dyson Mazda, Intersport Lola and Drayson Lola-Judd all cramming into Turn 1, a piece of real estate barely the width of a country lane. The Dyson Mazda came out of the turn in the lead; followed by Lord Drayson's Union Jack-splattered Lola, Jon Field's Lola coming up in third position.

The Dyson Lola coupe dominated the first few rotations, a sight for sore eyes. Lola will not build any more LMP Coupes, so this may be the last season we see this gorgeous design scooting around American tracks. The Dyson team is to be applauded for taking risks: switching from the proven RS Spyder to the Lola, squeezing nearly 700 bhp out of a 2-liter four pot, laughing in the face of E85, and going straight for IsoButanol. These moves have done much to endear this team to me, and they deserve a victory as much as anyone on the grid. Alas, Saturday, July 24th was not that day . . .

On lap 6 the Dyson Mazda slowed and relinquished the lead to the V10 Drayson Lola. A noticeable conflagration barfed out of the Castrol-liveried Coupe's exhaust. Pulling into the pits, a dejected Chris Dyson was still able to flash his headlights, giving the ominous impression that this issue went far beyond electrical gremlins. It did. Turbo housing gasket, burnt to a crisp. This led to a turbo so hot it began shredding its impeller, putting an end to all forced induction, and eventually, locomotion in general.

Now it was Johnny Cocker's turn to lead, putting more laps on the Drayson Judd and gaining valuable experience. A tire issue led to an unplanned pit stop, ending all hopes of a British victory. This incident led to a dog fight between the Highcroft ARX-01c and the CytoSport Porsche RS Spyder.

Using a risky pit strategy, CytoSport team owner Greg Pickett ended his driver stint right at the required 45-minute interval, handing over a car that had already survived one run-in with GT traffic and a dive plane-crushing accident involving a chicane and a stack of tires. Thankfully, this is a Penske-engineered RS Spyder we are referring to, the dive planes don't crush. Aerodynamic aids intact, Klaus Graff took over the controls and ran qualifying laps until the ARX came in for its driver change.

David Brabham securely fastened into his office, air-jacks release, and the green and black Highcroft machine storms back on to the track. Graff had expanded his lead by now, but had also rear-ended a GT car or two, and possibly flat-spotted a front tire. If you're gonna be dumb you hafta be tough, and the RS Spyder seems to be one the toughest prototypes ever built. Hewn from granite, the Porsche Spyder would need to survive one more pinballesque experience to gain the rights to the top of the podium.

After the usual DavidBrabhamDrivesLikeAButtRapeMindedSatanIsChasingHim laps in which Brabham devoured Graff's six second lead, the ARX-01c had the heat of Porsche exhaust flowing beneath its under tray diffuser. Rounding the final corner before the front straight, Brabham shot to the inside of the track, which also happened to be right in Graff's blind spot. Ever so slightly drifting to the right to avoid GT traffic, Graff had no idea the Honda machine was currently passing him. Realizing he was fast becoming the meat in a ProtoGT sandwich, Klaus cranked the wheel to the left, albeit a little too late.

The damage was already done; Brabham ran out of road just as Graff noticed him, took to the infield and damaged the diffuser behind his right rear tire. Worse yet, that tire already was suffering from a slow leak, forcing the Highcroft team to call Brabham into the pits. The CytoSport team received a drive-through penalty for "blocking" but the HPD ARX-01c lost so much time on its pit stop that there was no way to catch up. In all fairness, Klaus Graff did everything he could do to minimize his competitor's damage during a hairy situation—the penalty might not have been necessary.

The No.45 Flying Lizard Porsche GT3 RSR took GT honors, handing Jorg Bergmiester his fifth GT win on a row at Lime Rock. LMPC went to the Level 5 Motorsports entry driven by Scott Tucker and Christoph Bouchut. The GT Challenge class went to Andy Lally and TRG after a fierce battle with Black Swan Racing. BSR sports the coolest 911 Livery in America, by the by, rivaled only by the Magnusson Porsche in the Rolex Series.

Even though there were only five prototypes outside of the LMPC class this weekend, the ALMS once again proves to be the best racing in the world.

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