Our man, Andrew Henderson was on the ground at the final round of the 2012 Rolex Grand American Sports Car Series race at Lime Rock. Henderson saw the Suntrust team take the win while the Ganassi squad took the Grand Am title. We here at RacerViews have enjoyed bringing you the Grand Am season but the racing season isn’t over yet!
The race in brief
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (September 29, 2012) – Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor scored their third consecutive Lime Rock Park race victory and Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas wrapped up their third consecutive Daytona Prototype championship in Saturday’s Rolex Series season finale in the GRAND-AM Championship Weekend at Lime Rock Park presented by BMW.
Angelelli and Taylor combined to lead a race-high 92 laps in the No. 10 SunTrust Corvette DP, including the last 50 with Taylor at the wheel. The second-generation racer held off a late charge from Antonio Garcia, crossing the stripe 0.334 seconds ahead to score his and Angelelli’s third victory of the season.
“We really transformed the car after qualifying,” said Taylor. “I was sitting there at the beginning of the race hoping for a podium, to be honest. As soon as I saw Max on that restart at the beginning, and he was flying, at that point, I knew we had a car that could possibly win the race.”
Second place went to Garcia and polesitter Richard Westbrook in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP, with Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty third in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP.
The championship battle, meanwhile, went to Pruett and Rojas with a seventh-place result in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley. The teammates entered the race needing to finish ninth or better to clinch the DP driver championship, which they did by 12 points, 379-367, over Ryan Dalziel, who finished sixth. It was the fourth title for Rojas and a record-extending fifth DP championship for Pruett.
“It’s great to be champions,” Pruett said. “I just couldn’t be happier for TELMEX and BMW and the whole Ganassi organization. It’s just been an incredibly difficult and challenging season. We’ve had to really dig deep with all the experience on the team, knowing we didn’t have the fastest car many times during this whole year but scrapped to get every point that we could in order to try and put ourselves in good position for the championship.”
The No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team picked up their sixth Daytona Prototype team championship. Chevrolet won the DP manufacturer championship in the first year of competition for the Corvette DP, and Riley earned the DP constructor championship.
While the GT team and driver championships were wrapped up at the previous round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca three weeks ago, the battle for the Lime Rock race victory came down to the final minutes.
One day after coming up just short in his bid to win the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner championship, Andy Lally suffered another heartbreak. With less than two minutes remaining, Lally surrendered the GT lead to Robin Liddell heading into Turn 1 and then Lally’s No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3 slowed dramatically, entering the pits at the conclusion of the lap.
Once in front, Liddell pulled away to bring the No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro GT.R home to its second consecutive Lime Rock race victory. It was the second Lime Rock victory for both Liddell and co-driver John Edwards, who earned the 2010 GT class victory. Liddell won last year alongside Jan Magnussen.
Dion von Moltke and Jim Norman ended the first season for the new Audi Rolex Series program on a high note, taking second in the No. 51 APR Tuned/Motul/Parathyroid.com/PR Newswire/South African Airways Audi R8 GRAND-AM. Alessandro Balzan and Johannes van Overbeek finished third in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458, securing the GT manufacturer championship for the legendary Italian nameplate.
Photos by Andrew Henderson, September 2012
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