ALMS LMP-2: Dyson and Mazda's Return to Victory at Lime Rock

Tony CastaneiraAnalyst IJuly 20, 2009

Dyson Racing notched their first victory in the American LeMans series since 2005, as Butch Leitzinger and Marino Franchitti won at their home track, Lime Rock Connecticut.

Their victory ended a four-race winning streak for Lowe’s Fernandez Racing and Acura in the LMP-2 class.

Franchitti moved ahead of Luis Diaz five minutes into the race, and the Lola-Mazda coupe lapped the Lowe’s Fernandez racing car when the Acura pitted to replace its rear shock and also experienced downshift problems.

By the time Adrian Fernandez rejoined the race, Franchitti was ahead by six laps.
“I don’t think we could have picked a better place (for the first win in the Lola-Mazda),” said Franchitti, who won for the first time in the Series.

“It was a combination of a lot of hard work for both cars I have been so close, either overall or in class, it is really a sweet victory. I’m getting a sore face from grinning.”

Leitzinger gave the team a scare with about five minutes to go, which stopped the grinning where he stalled as he avoided a spinning GT2 car. The Lola-Mazda’s clutch had failed early in the race, and Leitzinger had to restart the car on battery power.

“What a fantastic starter motor,” quipped Leitzinger, who was part of the team’s victory at Mosport four years ago, also in a Lola chassis.

“It felt a little destined to win today. When the car spun out in front of me and then we didn’t have a clutch, trying to go uphill, I thought it was over. But this is how it was going to go and it really was a great day. Marino did a stellar job. It is the first of many for him. I am very proud to drive with him. We are happy to be a part of his first win.”

The Dyson victory was also Mazda’s first in the Series since Mid-Ohio in 2005. 

Fernandez and Diaz placed second in class Saturday. Gunnar van der Steur and Adam Pecorari placed third in van der Steur Racing’s Radical SR9-AER, the first race for the team since St. Petersburg last year.

Photo and quote: ALMS