ST. PETERSBURG — When the yellow flag appeared with just 15 minutes left in Saturday's American Le Mans Series Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg, Lucas Luhr shouted a few choice words into his helmet. He was gaining ground on leader Romain Dumas and thought he had a good chance to pass him soon.
Debris was finally cleared from a Butch Leitzinger/Jorg Bergmeister wreck with three minutes left in the 1 hour, 55 minute timed race. Just enough time for Luhr to go for it.
Luhr and his Audi R10, in the LMP1 class, outdragged Dumas and his LMP2 Porsche RS Spyder to the end of the frontstretch and held on in the final minutes to beat Dumas by 0.818 seconds.
It was the first overall series win this year for Luhr and teammate Marco Werner. Dumas and Timo Bernhard still won the P2 class. Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta won the GT1 class and Dirk Mueller and Dominik Farnbacher took GT2.
"I was really mad when the last yellow came out," said Luhr, whose No. 2 car completed 81 laps. "I was on (Dumas') tail and I didn't think I'd get another chance to go for it. Then there was no doubt that I would try everything. Either you go into the wall or you win the thing."
Dumas, who took over the second half of the race, said once the race restarted he knew it would be tough to hold on to the lead.
"We had more safety car periods so Lucas got a chance to get back to me," Dumas said. "To race only two laps at the end, we had no chance. I tried to impress him on the first lap, but that is a good car. Their car is so large in this street that I really had no possibility to pass."
It was Luhr's 24th ALMS win since 2000. He raced only one time on the circuit in 2007, and had never raced in St. Petersburg. His partner, Werner, collected his 18th ALMS class win.
"I like the street circuits, I've always liked the street circuits," Luhr said. "I like the atmosphere. I like the challenge. You go between the guard rails and you have no space for error.
"It was a hard fight, but it was also a fair fight."
DRAYSON TROUBLES: The race started under a yellow flag when Paul Drayson's Aston Martin GT2 car suffered problems with the gearbox on the lap before the green flag. The former member of the British House of Lords was unable to complete a lap.