dsc 2005 Awards 27 – North American Moment of the Year

The Turn 1 incident at Petit Le Mans would have been a winner here too, but in the interests of variety we’ve restricted those nominations to just one category.

That aside, there were plenty of moments to savour:

The moment when the ding-dong LMP1 and GT1 battles intermingled at Laguna Seca.

The fantastic finish to the 12 Hours of Sebring, when McNish was reeling in Kristensen, not least down to the radio traffic McNish: “Tell Tom I’m coming!” Kristensen: “Do you want a Photo Finish – I’m Only Joking!”

Grand Am gets a mention here with the last lap at Mexico City, a titanic struggle between Andy Lally and David Murry which would finally go the way of the Porsche pilot and hand the drivers’ title to his team mate Craig Stanton.

Second slot though would go to the dramatic Mid-Ohio ALMS race, with the traditional implosion of LMP2 finding ever more bizarre ways to enter the record books – Miracle Motorsport blowing away a sure fire win after leaving Jeff Bucknum in the car longer than the allowed two hours, it was a welcome, if somewhat bemusing first win for the Mazda powered Courage of B-K Motorsports, despite the fact that the car was in the gravel trap as the flag fell. The bigger moment though was the fine 1-2 from Dyson Racing, the Lolas beating off a challenge not only from the Champion R8s but also from the Factory Zytek.

The winner was, perhaps surprisingly, a class battle in GT2, with the very odd exception, a class that has been utterly dominated by Porsche for year after year. With a bizarre twist or two of fate, the deadlock was broken on both sides of the Atlantic on the very same day by two different marques, neither of which came close to repeating the feat for the remainder of the season.

The TVR win in the LMES has been commented on elsewhere, but the US contribution to the scenario came down to a thrilling, thirty minute long, two car, battle between the lead factory Panoz Esperante, Robin Liddell at the helm, and the nemesis of so many aspirational ALMS GT2 winners, the lead Alex Job Racing Porsche (Timo Bernhard at the wheel). This is how Tom Kjos reported it at the time:

“Robin Liddell had one of those once-in-a-lifetime showcases of pure driving skills – it was that for Timo Bernhard too. And this wasn’t simply a nose-to-tail driving experience. Robin estimates twenty gear changes, give or take two, per lap at Road Atlanta. And braking, another ten instances or so. You can’t just ride around with your foot in the gas. You have thirty bona fide chances to screw something up every lap, and in thirty minutes you drive over twenty laps at Road Atlanta – that’s six hundred chances to look like a jackass for one little bobble – on national TV. But they didn’t, Robin and Timo, in 1,199 of those 1,200 chances they had together. That’s if you count the nudge that ended it all, and perhaps you shouldn’t, perhaps it was the only chance Timo had, so go for it.”

It ended, famously, with contact between the two and a spin for the Panoz, Bernhard deemed the aggressor and penalized with a stop/go, handing the lead (and indeed the win) back to Liddell and the #50 car. The incident though was a sideshow to the battle and the result. Will Multimatic revisit that form in 2006?

The dailysportscar.com Moment of the Year 2005 for North America is Robin Liddell vs. Timo Bernhard At Road Atlanta.

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