12.10.01 ROLLERCOASTER RIDE FOR CONQUEST ENDURANCE AT VIR
Alton, Virginia – September 16th, 2012 – In what has been by far the wildest American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron race of the season, Conquest Endurance finished second after a drama filled VIR 240 in which incidents, penalties, and pit issues kept the team from scoring their third victory of the year.
Team drivers David Heinemeier Hansson and Martin Plowman started from pole position in the P2 category for the third time this, year with Heinemeier Hansson behind the wheel of the #37 Conquest machine at the drop of the green flag. The Danish driver managed to avoid a first lap pile-up at Turn-1 and began to pull out a healthy lead over the competition. After 30min he had an off-track excursion but managed to keep the car under control and got back on track in third place. With the help of a full-course caution he regained the gap to the leaders and after the restart it took him only three laps to pass both Level 5 cars to take over the lead once again.
“DHH” then found himself once again in the same situation as he did at Baltimore where he was stuck behind a much slower P1 car that was slow on the corners but quick on the straights, which made it very difficult to pass with the P2 machine. Heinemeier Hansson eventually passed it and only a couple of laps before his schedule pit stop he reported that he had a flat left-front tire and had to crawl back to the pits, once again loosing the time and positions gained before.
Plowman got in the car with 2h9min remaining in the race and started chasing down the leaders. During the next hour he cut down the gap and once the pit rotations were done he came out ahead and had the #37 Morgan-Nissan as the P2 class leader again. At the 3h3min mark the race got turned around once again when Plowman received a “Stop & Go plus 60 seconds” penalty for avoidable contact after he had an incident with a GT car on the front straight. After serving his penalty he came out in third but still in contention as the other P2 competitors were also involved in several incidents that caused them to also get penalties.
Misfortune struck once more as the Conquest car came into the pits for its last pit stop of the day when a miscommunication led to Plowman overshooting his pit stall, forcing the crew to push him back and lose valuable time. Despite the problem Plowman put on a monumental last stint and greatly reduced the gap to the leaders, eventually recovering second place with only two laps to go and setting the fastest lap in class with a time of 1m39.393s.
The Conquest Endurance team now focuses on the last event of the year. Petit Le Mans will take place October 20th at the famed Road Atlanta circuit, the 10-hour or 1,000-mile race has always been an action-packed event as well and Conquest will look to finish out the year on a high-note with a win. The team is also still in contention for the championship 18 points behind the leaders, with 24 points offered for a win at Petit Le Mans.