MONTEREY, CA, SEPT. 7 — Thetford / Norcold Dyson Racing`s James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger claimed the runner-up position in today`s Fry`s Electronics Monterey Sportscar Championships. Piloting their #16 MG-Lola EX257, the Anglo-American pair won the LMP675 division and were the only other car to finish on the same lap as the winning Joest Audi R8.
Weaver started the race from the outside pole and ran a steady second for the bulk of his ninety minute stint. He handed off to Leitzinger and the Dyson team`s skilled pitwork meant that the Pennsylvanian held onto second place upon rejoining the action. Leitzinger ran lap times equal to Joest`s Marco Werner but the German`s gap was substantial enough that Leitzinger had to settle for second.
“It was not the result we had hoped for today, but we will take it,” Leitzinger said afterwards. “I think if we had been able to capitalize on a late-race yellow we might have been a position to challenge for the overall, but they (Joest) were quick today. I am happy we were able to take the 675 win, and the car ran perfectly, so we are making some progress.”
The sister #20 machine of Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace, which had started fourth, had a difficult day. Dyson found himself the victim of a first-corner bottleneck and was punted off the road only moments after the green flag flew. The 25 year-old rejoined the action and managed to haul the car back up to second in class, and ninth overall before suffering engine failure.
“After the first corner shunt, I was happy just to get going again,” Dyson said. “The car felt okay but as we went along we picked up a vibration in the engine, and we think it was an indirect result of the impact, which was pretty hard. It is a shame because we did not earn any points today, and we really needed a good result. All we can do is find out what caused the problem, and keep our heads up for Miami.”
Dyson still holds onto a lead in the LMP675 championship standings over Intersport Racing`s Jon Field with two rounds remaining.
The team`s next stop on the American Le Mans Series calendar is the Miami Grand Prix of the Americas, on September 28.