Scott Tucker, Level 5 Leave Road America With Podium; Retain Points Lead
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - There were positives to be taken from Level 5 Motorsport's participation in Saturday's seventh round of the American Le Mans Series at Road America in Wisconsin, despite a possible victory being thwarted by suspension failure in the closing stages of the four-race event.
A tremendous performance by Scott Tucker, Christophe Bouchut and Luis Diaz in the team's two P2 HPD ARX-03b entries kept them in contention for two podium places throughout the race. In the final outcome, the No. 055 was classified third in class behind the winning Conquest Morgan-Nissan and the Dempsey Racing Lola-Judd, thus gaining 15 valuable points and retaining Tucker/Bouchut's lead in the points' standings. The No. 95 entry of Tucker/Diaz was classified fourth in class and 12th overall.
A sixth victory in seven races was looking to be on the cards for Tucker and Bouchut, despite a neck-and-neck battle with the No.37 Conquest car throughout the race and some early-race contact with a GTC car. Bouchut was leading the race overall as the green flag flew after the third of four full course caution periods but the Frenchman soon realised that something was amiss and, suspecting a right rear puncture, came into the pits for an unscheduled stop at the 3 hour 24 minute mark.
The team changed the tire and Bouchut re-joined the race but soon realised that the problem was more serious than originally suspected and made a further stop. Although not a problem for most of the race, the early contact had dislodged a section of bodywork on the left side of the car which seriously affected the aerodynamics and the handling. The broken bodywork had also affected the left rear suspension and it was that which required the crew's attention. By the time the No.055 was able to return to the action they had lost two laps to their rivals.
At this stage Tucker in the No. 95 HPD was holding second position in class, having continued to put pressure on Martin Plowman in the class leading entry. However, this car too had to make an unscheduled stop with just 10 minutes of the race remaining to attend to the same problem, as explained by Chief Engineer, Jeff Braun:
"It's disappointing because both cars had the performance needed to run with the Conquest car. I think we showed that when Luis and Christophe lead the class and overall, but unfortunately we had some bolts stretch in the rear suspension and the camber adjustment shims fell out giving us a loose upright. That took a few laps to repair and then, as luck would have it, the same thing happened to Scott in the No. 95. Congratulations though to Conquest on a job well done; it's great fighting each weekend with such a great team."