Scott Tucker and Level 5 Motorsports Score Fifth Win, Extend ALMS Championship Points Lead
Alton, Va. - Scott Tucker and Christophe Bouchut delivered their fifth victory from nine races for Level 5 Motorsports in an exciting P2 battle in the VIR 240 at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va.
Tucker and Bouchut's result, achieved despite the day being full of incidents and penalties, firmly keeps alive their championship title aspirations and the battle with Conquest Endurance will go down to the wire and the final round of the season in a month's time. The four-hour race was a back-and-forth affair between the No. 055 and the No. 37 car of Heimemeier Hansson and Martin Plowman. Although it might have initially appeared that Level 5 were at a disadvantage by starting from the back of the grid (following a post-qualifying tire change), it took Tucker just three laps to get up to p13 amongst the 31-strong field and just ten laps to reach 10th overall and third in P2. Moreover, because of his starting position, Tucker had fortuitously avoided a first lap, first corner melée which affected the race's outcome for many competitors. Bouchut took the wheel of the No. 055 1hr 17 minutes into the event and set his sights on catching and passing the leading P2 car. However, on the narrow and tricky VIR track, more than one competitor was caught out when passing a slower car and the Frenchman was unlucky enough to not only have contact with a GTC and a PC car on two occasions but also to be penalized heavily for it. The eventual result is all the more admirable because of this added challenge. Bouchut said afterwards: "It was an unbelievable race. After my first penalty I was thinking "ooh zut," the race will be over for us, and after the second I was very downhearted and thought today is not our day. So when I heard that Conquest got the same penalty as us, it really opened up the race again and I started to fly again on the track. To be honest it wasn't easy at all to overtake GT and slower cars without taking some risk. I'm sorry for all the cars I hit, it was completely unintentional."
But it was also a day which tested the team to its limits as the No. 95 entry of Luis Diaz and Ricardo Gonzalez was excluded from the results after failing a post-race stall test. The Mexican duo had originally finished third in the P2 class in their Honda Performance Development ARX 03b.