12.07.08 EXCITING RUNNER UP FINISH FOR CONQUEST ENDURANCE AT LIME ROCK PARK
Lakeville, Connecticut – July 7, 2012 – The Conquest Endurance team was the protagonist of an exciting fight today at the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix where the pursuit for the win came within seconds but was hampered by a late race caution that lasted until the checkered flag. After making up two laps in an notable recovery effort, Martin Plowman and David Heinemeier Hansson took their third runner up finish in a row in their rookie year in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.
It what was a rollercoaster weekend for the team which started with Plowman setting the fastest P2 time in Practice #1, followed by an engine problem which kept the #37 prototype from showing its true potential in qualifying, and ending with a mid-race pit problem which dropped them two laps behind the leaders and set the stage for an exciting comeback from behind.
Heinmeier Hansson led for the first 23 minutes of the race until the first caution when the #055 car managed to leapfrog him after a quick pit stop. For the rest of his 1h21min stint the 34-year old maintained a quick pace and carved his way through heavy traffic in this tight 1.5-mile circuit until his second stop when he handed the car over to Plowman.
A problem while tightening the seatbelts during the pit stop, followed by a stop-and-go penalty for speeding in the pits dropped the #37 car two laps behind the leaders with only 1h20min to go. For the rest of the race Plowman maintained a scorching qualifying pace which allowed him, with the help of two cautions, to recover the lost laps and with less than 20 minutes to go in the race he found himself right behind the leaders. As he began to attack for the lead. a violent accident brought out a full course caution which lasted until the checkered flag, preventing the British driver from attempting a pass for the lead and forcing him to settle with second place for the third race in a row.
The Conquest Endurance squad will have another shot at victory in only a couple of weeks as they head to Canada and the Mosport International Raceway where the next round of the ALMS will take place July 19-21.
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#37 Conquest Endurance / Morgan / Nissan Dunlop
“When I got in the car we had a problem with the driver change and we ended up being two laps down. The guys told me that I had to do qualifying laps till the end of the race so I started pushing like crazy and gave the drive of my life to make up the two laps. After a restart I managed to pass six GT cars and then Scott Tucker in two corners to get my last lap back. After that we kept pushing and then got lucky with another yellow and we managed to restart only 12 seconds behind Tucker.
I managed to cut that gap down but by then our tires were very worn out and it was very difficult to get close to him to set up a pass. Unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of time to try the pass because a yellow came out and I just never had the chance go for the win.
On the positive side we had a very fast car, we had the car to win and to get pole yesterday, we also had the fastest lap of the race. So obviously its disappointing that we didn’t win but its also encouraging because we know that once we work out the kinks we´ll be even stronger.”
David Heinemeier Hansson
#37 Conquest Endurance / Morgan / Nissan Dunlop
“A rollercoaster weekend, we started the practice being fast, then we found out we were way down on power so we couldn’t improve, and then we got the new engine and got all our speed back and found even more, we were looking very strong.
During the race I had a good first stint, I had a little bit of contact with the Flying Lizard car but didn’t do any damage. We then had a problem in the pit stop with the seat belts and also a pit speed violation which made us lose two laps. Then we managed to make them back and got really close in the end, but we just didn’t have enough time to go for the win.”
“Obviously I’m a bit disappointed that we were very close to our first win but we didn’t manage to get it. We had the best lap in the race with our car which shows that we had the speed this weekend and that we have the potential to win.
We had a very good fight with the guys from Level 5,it was good racing and good competition. We had a long driver change during the pits that hurt us quite a bit, and so did the pit speed violation. But we recovered and made up the lost ground, this is a very competitive series and its good that we can be right there at the top. I’m convinced that our first win will come very shortly.”