Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rain soaks the 2009 Petit Le Mans race; Peugeot takes victory

At 4:09PM, the red flag dropped on the American Le Mans Series crucial Petit Le Mans round. While the American Le Mans Series vehicles are equipped to run in rainfall, the rate of the precipitation on the 2.54 mile road course made racing too unsafe for the various sport car classes. As several cars lost traction even under a yellow flag pace, the call was well-warranted but nonetheless disappointing. At 8:00pm, IMSA and the American Le Mans Series announced that the standings at the moment of the race stoppage were the final standings for the 2009 Petit Le Mans.

Taking their first win on American Le Mans Series schedule, the #08 diesel-powered Peugeot 908 piloted by Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin took victory over their #07 team car driven by a Lamy/Capello duo. Before the rain fell, the Audi R15 had the perfect chance to capture what could have been their 9th victory during the Road Atlanta. In the last race stint Allan McNish had the lead until the wet track caused the Audi R15 and its driver to become unsettled. The Audi R15 received a third place finish. Both Audi Sport and Peugeot are wrapping up their 2009 American Le Mans Series season after competing in only two races.

Another 1-2 team finish at the Petit Le Mans occurred inside the P2 class as the Mazda B09/86 fielded by Dyson Racing. The Chris Dyson/Guy Smith #16 appeared in the top position while the #20 car, who started on the P2 class pole, came second for the category.

With the diverse class of GT2 in the American Le Mans Series, Risi Competizione can take enormous pride keeping their Ferrari F430 GT ahead as the downpour soaked the Road Atlanta circuit. The grouping of Jaime Melo, Pierre Kaffer and Mika Salo celebrates for a second straight year on the top spot of the Podium with the red #62 car. Rahal Letterman Racing trio of Dirk Müller, Jörg Müller, and Andy Priaulx settled with second place in their BMW M3. Rounding out the top five in GT2 were the #87 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR campaigned by Farnbacher Loles Racing, the #4 Chevrolet Corvette C6R, and another Porsche 911 GT3 RSR from Flying Lizards.

With only 4 of the race's 10 hour timed distance ran on the track, the force of mother nature has proven stronger than the forces of race-prepped engines. The hindered running of the Petit Le Mans of Road Atlanta is minor disturbance caused for what has been an disastrous ongoing weather event which the citizens of Georgia state are enduring. With record of more than 5 inches rainfall damaging and destroying property, the Petit Le Mans feels a little less smaller in 2009.

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