Guy Smith stalls in American Le Mans series opener

First published in Sport

EAST Yorkshire’s Guy Smith is focusing on the second round of the American Le Mans Series next month after suffering disappointment in the opening race of 2013.

The 38-year-old Beverley-born sportscar driver contested the 61st running of the annual 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida – the longest and toughest event on the ten-race ALMS schedule.

But the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hour race winner, along with regular co-driver Chris Dyson plus Butch Leitzinger, encountered electrical then mechanical issues with their Thetford/Norcold sponsored Dyson Racing Lola Mazda Coupe.

They started from sixth place on the 42-car grid but Dyson pitted with a electronics malfunction after 70 minutes, Smith resuming placed 39th overall, sixth in class, following a 34 minute stop.

After setting a sequence of competitive lap times, Smith was back in the pits for an unscheduled pit-stop at one-quarter distance, a lengthy inspection resulting in the team posting its retirement.

Smith said: “You start the season with a lot of enthusiasm and the opening race was obviously extremely disappointing but I’ve been involved in motorsport for a long time and we will regroup and come back stronger – and we’ll be aiming to do that at the next race.

“It’s frustrating from a championship viewpoint because we certainly didn’t want to come away from Sebring with no points on the board but it makes us more determined to knuckle down.”

Smith, competing in the annual 12 hour race at Sebring for the 14th time, added: “I have run every race here since 2000. It was actually the second-ever sports car race of my career.

“This time around was obviously frustrating for me. We had an initial issue but when I got in the car it felt good.”

The second round of the series is a two-hour race staged on a 1.98-mile street circuit in Long Beach, California.

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