CTMP IMSA: Braun/Bennett claim amazing win from back of pack

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CTMP IMSA: Braun/Bennett claim amazing win from back of pack
Charles Bradley
By: Charles Bradley
Jul 8, 2018, 8:40 PM

Colin Braun and Jon Bennett won the seventh round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in their CORE autosport Oreca – despite giving up their pole position starting spot.

Although Braun set the pole time, having dominated every session this weekend, the team elected to start with his much slower teammate Bennett – and thus had to start from the rear of the Prototype field. “I’m just a business guy with a dream,” admitted Bennett.

They took advantage of the early yellow to install hotshoe Braun, once Bennett had completed his minimum drive time, and Braun charged from 12th to sixth as the race hit the one-hour mark.

Before that, Penske’s Dane Cameron hared into the lead from his inherited pole position in the #6 Acura, while the #10 WTR Cadillac of Renger van der Zande and Jonathan Bomarito in the #55 Mazda passed front row man Robert Alon (#85 JDC-Miller Oreca) in the opening corners.

Van der Zande challenged Cameron hard as they hit the tail-end of the GTLM traffic on lap 11, but in clean air the Acura was able to stretch its lead again.

The first full-course caution, for a stranded Porsche 911 GTD car, shook up the pack after just over 20 minutes. Cameron stayed out in the leading #6 Acura, with the big winner being the #31 Action Express Racing Cadillac that Eric Curran had pitted just before the yellow, which leapfrogged newly-installed co-driver Felipe Nasr up to third.

At the restart, van der Zande passed Misha Goikhberg in the Watkins Glen-winning JDC-Miller Oreca for second, which had stayed out during the yellow. The second full-course caution occurred soon after, with Christian Nielsen getting her GTD Wright Motorsports Porsche beached at Turn 5.

Leader Cameron pulled clear of van der Zande again at the green, as Goikhberg held up a train comprising Nasr, Ryan Dalziel in the sole ESM Nissan, Ricky Taylor’s #7 Acura and Bomarito.

Cameron pitted on lap 35 under green, dropping him outside the top 10, just as Nasr got around Goikhberg for what was now second behind van der Zande. Dalziel slowed and pulled into the pits with turbo issues.

Bomarito and Ricky Taylor swapped places again, just after Goikhberg boxed the Acura in behind a Ford GT. Bomarito then did likewise to get around Goikhberg in GTD lappery, with Taylor following suit.

A third full-course caution was required when the #52 Ligier lost a wheel, just before half distance. This prompted the entire field to pit, with Jordan Taylor taking over the leading #10 Caddy from van der Zande, ahead of Cameron (who short-filled after his green-flag stop) and the AXR Cadillacs of Nasr and Filipe Albuquerque (in the #5).

Another full-course caution was required almost immediately due to debris from the #912 Porsche at Turn 5, which caused drama at the front as Cameron pitted from second with a puncture. He rejoined under a red light at the end of pitlane, resulting in a 60s stop/go penalty – putting the #6 car totally out of the picture.

Jordan Taylor pulled clear at the restart, easing away from Nasr, with Harry Tincknell up to third in the #55 after taking over from Bomarito. Ricky Taylor got around the Mazda as the race entered it final hour, as Braun passed Albuquerque for fifth, but Taylor then lost a couple of spots to Tincknell and Braun when he ran wide at Turn 5.

At the final round of pitstops, the #5 AXR Caddy jumped several places to run third, ahead of Braun, Ricky Taylor and Tincknell.

The man to watch in the final stages was Braun, who passed both AXR cars to grab second – and then a full-course caution came out as Juan Pablo Montoya lost a wheel from the #6 Acura. 

The race restarted with 17 minutes to go, with Jordan Taylor leading Braun, Nasr and Albuquerque, as Tincknell passed Ricky Taylor for fifth, a move mirrored by Oliver Jarvis in the #77 Mazda on Taylor a few laps later. But Tincknell went off, causing another yellow with 12 minutes left on the clock – just as Braun passed Taylor for the lead around the outside.

Taylor repassed Braun seconds later, but that was under the yellow, so the positions were redressed with Braun leading.

The race restarted with seven minutes left to run, and Braun rattled off the laps to a famous victory over Jordan Taylor, Nasr and Albuquerque. Ricky Taylor finished fifth, ahead of Jarvis.

Ford grabs GTLM victory on fuel strategy

In GT Le Mans, Nick Tandy took the lead from pole in Porsche #911, ahead of Jan Magnussen’s Chevrolet Corvette and the second Porsche of Laurens Vanthoor, with Ryan Briscoe (#67 Ford GT) losing two spots in the opening exchanges.

Jesse Krohn took the lead in the #24 BMW during the first round of pitstops, ahead of Tandy and Vanthoor. Tandy and then Vanthoor took advantage of DPi lappery to jump back ahead of Krohn to reinstate the Porsche 1-2.

But the #912 car’s race went south after Earl Bamber took over from Vanthoor at half distance, and following a slow stop, he collided with the #67 Ford GT of Richard Westbrook and later suffered an explosive puncture.

Drama also befell the #911 car when Patrick Pilet, in for Tandy, hit John Edwards’ BMW – sending the latter to the pits. But his biggest threat was the fuel-gambling #67 Ford of Briscoe/Westbrook.

The penultimate yellow allowed Westbrook a ‘free’ pitstop, so he retained the lead and was able to record a sensational win. Pilet then lost places to both Corvettes, with Garcia and Tommy Milner passing him in heavy traffic, and had to settle for fourth.

The #66 Ford of Dirk Muller/Joey Hand finished fifth, ahead of the delayed #912 Porsche.

In GT Daytona, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating claimed a fabulous win for Team Riley Mercedes, with Bleekemolen getting past the Lexus of Kyle Marcelli in the closing stages. Andy Lally and John Potter finished third in the Magnus Racing Audi.

PosClassNumDriverChassisLapsGap
1 P 54 united_states  Jon Bennett 
united_states  Colin Braun 
ORECA LMP2 116  
2 P 10 united_states  Jordan Taylor 
netherlands  Renger van der Zande 
Cadillac DPi 116 3.431
3 P 31 united_states  Eric Curran 
brazil  Felipe Nasr 
Cadillac DPi 116 4.666
4 P 5 brazil  Christian Fittipaldi 
portugal  Filipe Albuquerque 
Cadillac DPi 116 6.657
5 P 7 brazil  Helio Castroneves 
united_states  Ricky Taylor 
Acura DPi 116 6.836
6 P 77 united_kingdom  Oliver Jarvis 
united_states  Tristan Nunez 
Mazda DPi 116 9.453
7 P 99 canada  Mikhail Goikhberg 
south_africa  Stephen Simpson 
ORECA LMP2 116 11.194
8 P 85 switzerland  Simon Trummer 
united_states  Robert Alon 
ORECA LMP2 116 11.835
9 P 52 colombia  Gustavo Yacaman 
colombia  Sebastian Saavedra 
Ligier LMP2 114 2 laps 
10 GTLM 67 australia  Ryan Briscoe 
united_kingdom  Richard Westbrook 
Ford GT 112 4 laps 
11 GTLM 3 denmark  Jan Magnussen 
spain  Antonio Garcia 
Corvette C7.R 112 4 laps 
12 GTLM 4 united_kingdom  Oliver Gavin 
united_states  Tommy Milner 
Corvette C7.R 112 4 laps 
13 GTLM 911 united_kingdom  Nick Tandy 
france  Patrick Pilet 
Porsche 911 RSR 112 4 laps 
14 GTLM 66 united_states  Joey Hand 
germany  Dirk Müller 
Ford GT 112 4 laps 
15 GTLM 912 new_zealand  Earl Bamber 
belgium  Laurens Vanthoor 
Porsche 911 RSR 112 4 laps 
16 GTLM 25 united_states  Connor de Phillippi 
united_kingdom  Alexander Sims 
BMW M8 GTE 112 4 laps 
17 P 6 colombia  Juan Pablo Montoya 
united_states  Dane Cameron 
Acura DPi 111 5 laps 
18 GTD 33 netherlands  Jeroen Bleekemolen 
united_states  Ben Keating 
Mercedes-AMG GT3 107 9 laps 
19 GTD 14 canada  Kyle Marcelli 
austria  Dominik Baumann 
Lexus RC F GT3 107 9 laps 
20 GTD 44 united_states  Andy Lally 
united_states  John Potter 
Audi R8 LMS GT3 107 9 laps 
21 GTD 48 united_states  Bryan Sellers 
united_states  Madison Snow 
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 107 9 laps 
22 GTD 86 portugal  Alvaro Parente 
united_kingdom  Katherine Legge 
Acura NSX GT3 107 9 laps 
23 GTD 93 united_states  Justin Marks 
united_states  Lawson Aschenbach 
Acura NSX GT3 107 9 laps 
24 GTD 15 denmark  David Heinemeier Hansson
united_kingdom  Jack Hawksworth 
Lexus RC F GT3 107 9 laps 
25 P 55 united_kingdom  Harry Tincknell 
united_states  Jonathan Bomarito 
Mazda DPi 106 10 laps 
26 GTD 63 united_states  Jeff Segal 
united_states  Cooper MacNeil 
Ferrari 488 GT3 106 10 laps 
27 GTD 58 united_states  Patrick Long 
denmark  Christina Nielsen 
Porsche 911 GT3 R 106 10 laps 
28 GTD 16 germany  Wolf Henzler 
united_states  Michael Schein 
Porsche 911 GT3 R 73 43 laps 
29 GTD 96 united_states  Bill Auberlen 
united_states  Robby Foley 
BMW M6 GT3 63 53 laps 
30 GTLM 24 united_states  John Edwards 
finland  Jesse Krohn 
BMW M8 GTE 61 55 laps 
31 P 22 brazil  Pipo Derani 
united_kingdom  Ryan Dalziel 
Nissan DPi 45 71 laps 
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