BRASELTON, GA September 29, 2006 – The effort was A-plus but the results were not quite as alphabetical. Chris Dyson and Guy Smith will start eighth in the penultimate round of the American Le Mans Series. The sister car of Butch Leitzinger, James Weaver and Andy Wallace will start from the back of the grid after a mid-qualifying incident. “The car came around as I was coming onto the back straight and I flat spotted the tires. It is disappointing, but the car is very good and very competitive, so we will just have to move up through the field.” Leitzinger was second fastest at the time, and his time stood up for seventh fastest, but the rules state you have to start the race with the tires you qualify on, so changing his flat spotted tires relegates him to the back of the grid.
Dyson and Smith have a good car for tomorrows’ 1000 mile Petit Le Mans – the only race on the ALMS schedule that is measured by distance and not time. The teams have been here since Wednesday and by this morning’s practice, Dyson and Smith had fine-tuned the balance of the car to the point that they were working on handling characteristics in individual corners. But changes to the #20 Thetford/Norcold car before qualifying did not work as well as expected. Noted Dyson, “It is frustrating because the data from this morning showed we could do a high 1.10, but to put it in perspective, at last year’s Petit Le Mans, Guy Smith and I fell down to the back of the field after having to replace our wastegate and we worked our way back to second by the end. This is a ten hour race and is long enough to surmount these kinds of challenges.”
Andy Wallace rejoins the Dyson squad for this endurance event and offers a unique perspective on the progress the team has made with their new AER-powered Lola. “I last drove at Sebring, the first race of the year,” said Wallace. “In the intervening period, the first thing you notice is how much more drivable the AER engine is. The engine just drives so smoothly. The balance of the car is much better. It is the best car I have ever driven around Road Atlanta. The team has put a lot of hours in the car and it shows.”
Dyson Racing is the premier sports car team in America with sixteen team and driver championships and sixty-one wins in the past twenty years. Tomorrow’s race will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT and 3 to 10 p.m. EDT
|5.||7||P2||Luhr/Dumas/Rockenfeller||0.580||Porsche RS Spyder|
|6.||6||P2||Maassen/Bernhard/Collard||0.802||Porsche RS Spyder|