SONOMA, CALIFORNIA, MAY 19 — Thetford / Norcold Dyson Racing teammates Chris Dyson and James Weaver combined for a fourth place finish in today`s American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Sonoma.
The Anglo-American duo fought hard all day with a car lacking downforce, but a strategy designed for fuel economy paid dividends. Third quickest in a wet morning warmup, Chris Dyson started ninth in the race and managed to get an hour and forty minutes out of a single fuel load. He was the last Le Mans prototype car to make a pit stop. Running fifth, Dyson handed the chores off to Weaver, who moved into fourth spot and was catching the third place car near the end.
It was a highly credible effort for the Dyson team, whose R&S Ford lacked the outright pace of nearly all its LMP competition this weekend. As at Sebring two months ago, the team managed to finish ahead of many of its quicker rivals through grit and fundamentals.
“The ALMS wing deprives the car of quite a bit of rear downforce,” Chris Dyson said, “so we worked all week to make the car better mechanically. We made progress, but we were not right up in the thick of things as we like to be. I was really happy with our Goodyear tires — their rain compound was fantastic. We started losing a little time when the track started drying out, but I am very pleased with the outright performance of the tires.”
Weaver, winner here in 1995 and 1997, was philosophical about the result. “We figured a top six finish would be good, so fourth is an excellent result. We did struggle this week with the car but we kept it on the road when it mattered, and that is what counts.”