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Successful Le Mans Series defence eludes Guy Smith
10:09am Thursday 25th October 2012 in Sport
NORTH Yorkshire’s Guy Smith missed out on a second consecutive American Le Mans Series title despite finishing second in class at the final race of the season.
The 38-year-old Smith and American partner Chris Dyson were unable to turn around the 13-point deficit on rivals Klaus Kraf and Lucas Luhr, who finished third in Atlanta to win the LMP1 class title.
Beverley-based Smith and Dyson were joined by Northern Ireland’s Steven Kane in their Dyson Racing Mazda for the 1,000-mile race around the 2.54-mile track.
The duo, who started from third on the 31-car grid, finished just nine points behind German pair Kraf and Luhr in the overall standings after both teams suffered problems in the race.
“Winning the championship was always going to be a tall ask,” said Smith.
“When Luhr crashed it gave us hope, but then we too had problems. It was a disappointing end to a tough season.” Smith and Dyson qualified third, one place behind Graf and Luhr, the Germans joined for this race by Frenchman Romain Dumas.
Dyson drove first and was third until leader Luhr suffered front suspension damage an hour into the race.
That moved Dyson briefly into second place before Smith took over, resuming third in class.
But less than 30 minutes later, Smith lost power and had to pit, surrendering his place to the recovering Graf/Luhr/Dumas car.
Smith spent an hour in the pits before Kane and Dyson recovered to finish second in class, just one place ahead of Graf and Luhr, meaning their rivals took the title.
Smith said: “It has been a tough year for us but the philosophy within the team is to never give up. It was a case of taking each race at a time and not really thinking about retaining the championship.
“Klaus and Lucas were exceptional this year. In comparison to their car we did not have the speed but in fairness they didn’t made any mistakes.
“We now focus on coming back strong for Sebring next March.”