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First dual-class Grand-Am Rolex series race at Lime Rock pays double Pirelli P Zero Club bonuses

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The first multi-class Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Lime Rock Park in the Daytona Prototype era gave Pirelli P Zero racing tires double the opportunity to demonstrate their outstanding performance and durability.

The Memorial Day Weekend Classic was hot and competitive throughout the 2-3/4-hour sprint race on the classic Lakeville, Conn., road course on Monday, May 31.

The Lime Rock race was also the sight of the first Pirelli P Zero Club Bonus Program double-class payout since the Grand Prix of Miami in March.

Even better, the Daytona Prototype class and race-winning No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of first-time 2010 winners Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor received a record $15,000 P Zero Club Bonus that includes a two-race “rollover” that began building after April’s Barber Motorsports Park race. The Lime Rock GT-class winning No. 68 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT of first-time winners Adam Christodoulou and John Edwards pocketed a $5,000 P Zero Club Bonus as well.

The Daytona Prototype and GT class racecars competing together for the first time at Lime Rock provided a two-pronged opportunity for Pirelli’s Grand-Am Rolex Series specification P Zero tires to shine over the weekend. Despite temperatures in the high 80s Fahrenheit and a variety of on-track and off-course incidents that littered the track with debris, the P Zeros didn’t miss a beat.

“All I can tell you is that I kept doing fastest laps, fastest laps and fastest laps my entire time driving, I think for about 60 or 70 laps on my tires,” said Angelelli, who set the fastest lap of the race less than 20 laps from the finish. “If you just take a look at the number of laps and the lap times you will see how the tire is behaving, and the Pirellis are perfect.

"It’s the perfect product. Tires are never a concern. At every race and in any conditions, you never have to worry about the Pirellis. For teams, that is what you want.”

Taylor drove the opening stint and won in his first major race at Lime Rock.

“The Pirellis are the best they have ever been,” Taylor said. “They are very even and very predictable. Every year, Pirelli is improving their product.”

Christodoulou started the GT-winning No. 68 Mazda and soon realized the Pirellis were going to be able to keep the competitive pace needed for victory.

“The whole car just felt hooked up and Pirelli really has the tires sorted,” Christodoulou said. “We almost double stinted the first set of tires, and I was in there for about an hour and a half. The tires held up and from the start of the stint to the end of the stint we only lost about half a second.”

Edwards brought the winning Mazda to the checkered flag.

“We had to worry about fuel more than we had to worry about tires today because the Pirellis stayed underneath us the whole time,” Edwards said. “Once we got a little bit of a gap each time between cautions, I was able to take it easy and work on saving them a little, but I think if I had to I could have pushed the Pirellis the whole race.”

The Pirelli P Zero Club is comprised of returning teams that completed the 2009 race season inside the top 10 in the final 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype and GT points standings. When one of those teams in either class scores its first victory of the 2010 season they will also earn a $5,000 Pirelli P Zero Bonus.

Any repeat wins by either team in the remainder of the season will see that race’s $5,000 bonus “roll over” and continue to build at each race until other P Zero Club members score their first 2010 victories. For the season finale at Miller Motorsports Park on Sept. 11, all members of the P Zero Club will again be eligible for the bonus, regardless of whether or not they have won earlier in the season.

Next up for Pirelli and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series is this Saturday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. The race can be seen live on the SPEED Channel.

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