Tommy Milner was furious after his #4 Corvette was spun out of the GTLM lead with three laps to go in United SportsCar Championship’s Long Beach race by Porsche’s Frederic Makowiecki.
The #4 Corvette was set to score its third consecutive win after victories in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Sebring 12 Hours. However, Makowiecki, with his own Porsche teammate Nick Tandy filling his mirrors, made contact with the American car at the final hairpin.
The resultant collision, spun the Corvette around and damaged the #912 Porsche badly enough to send it to the pits. Milner got going again, but not before Tandy had nipped through to take the win for the German marque, leaving Milner and co-driver Oliver Gavin holding the runner-up trophies.
Milner said: “I just got wrecked basically. Two Porsches running nose to tail… it is pretty clear what happened there.
“It is pretty disappointing that is the kind of racing here, when we are better than that. At the end of the day, it could have been worse for us for sure. Second place is obviously great points.”
Gavin had been forced to pit the Corvette early after picking up a puncture, but following a caution period, that had proved to be the right tactic. However, it did mean that Milner was on worn tires by the end of the race and having to be careful with fuel mileage, allowing the Porsche 911s to close in on him, as soon as they had been uncorked when Antonio Garcia spun the #3 Corvette out of second place and a full-course yellow brought the German cars onto Milner’s tail.
“Very difficult conditions there after the [final] yellow flag,” said Milner. “I was locking fronts all over the place and then the tires came back and they were good. Then with three to go, just taken out.
“I don't mind finishing second if it is clean and it is the right way, but that wasn't the right way. Again, at the end of the day, second place is good points for us. We can hold our heads high that we raced as hard as we could today, the right way."
A disappointed Gavin tried to accentuate the positive.
“Yes, we felt like we got robbed of the victory. But with the puncture we had early-on, the pit stop, Tommy having to save fuel, the tires only lasting for so long… For us to come away with a second place is a very good result.
“If you had told us after the pit stop we were going to finish second, yes, we would definitely taken that.
“[But] it is a little hard to swallow right now. We felt like we were going to win and we were robbed."