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Race report
IMSA Long Beach

Long Beach IMSA: Ganassi Cadillacs take 1-2, Aston, BMW also win

Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande led a 1-2 finish for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Long Beach round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, while Heart of Racing’s Aston Martin and Paul Miller Racing’s BMW clinched class victories.

#01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi: Renger van der Zande, Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Hunter-Reay

Bourdais held off Ganassi teammate Alex Lynn on the run down to Turn 1, but Tom Blomqvist in the Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05 had to brake extremely late to dissuade Pipo Derani’s Action Express Racing Cadillac from passing for third.

Behind them, Tristan Vautier of JDC-Miller MotorSports deposed Filipe Albuquerque’s Wayne Taylor Racing Acura to take fifth, but they both gained a place on Lap 7 when Bourdais dived down the inside of a GT car at the hairpin but ran out of steering lock on corner exit and came up against the outside wall. He resumed a chastened sixth, 14sec off the lead.

But he was charging hard and by Lap 19, Bourdais was not only past Albuquerque (who had made a very early first stop for new rear tires) and Vautier, but also filling the mirrors of Derani in third, having set a fastest lap one second quicker than anyone else.

Derani himself was also trying to focus ahead, for Blomqvist was filling his windshield, as the pink-n-white Acura tried to find a way around leader Lynn.

On Lap 23, Blomqvist was the first to crack, running wide allowing Derani and Bourdais to slip past. On the very next lap, Bourdais pounced on Derani as the latter was briefly held up by a GT car, and so on Lap 24 it was a Ganassi 1-2 once more, the pair separated by 2.3sec.

Derani pitted the Whelen Engineering car on Lap 25, with 68 of the 100mins still to go, and Tristan Nunez replaced him in the cockpit. However, Nunez then had electrical issue that temporarily shut down the #31 Caddy, and he went up the Turn 1 escape road as he recycled it and lost a lap.

On Lap 29 Bourdais returned to the lead by diving up the inside of teammate Lynn at Turn 8.

At the end of the 40th lap, Bourdais, Lynn, Blomqvist and Vautier all pitted, with Bourdais leading rookie Lynn by 4sec. The Ganassi drivers handed off to van der Zande and Earl Bamber respectively, while Oliver Jarvis took over the Meyer Shank machine, and Richard Westbrook replaced Vautier.

Albuquerque made the WTR car’s second stop just before the first full-course caution, handing over to Ricky Taylor, and so feasibly this was going to be a big break for the Konica Minolta entry.

Under caution, AXR pitted the #31 car once more to replace Nunez with Derani.

Following the second caution (to retrieve a broken GT car), there were just 20mins left to run, and van der Zande and Bamber easily maintained the Ganassi 1-2 at the front of the field. Further back, Derani had taken advantage of his fresher tires and had just demoted Taylor to take fifth when the third caution flew.

On the next restart, the AXR driver briefly got ahead of Westbrook at Turn 6 but by trying to take Blomqvist too, he let the JDC-Miller Caddy back past. However, two laps later he got the job done and set off after the Meyer Shank ARX-05.

The battle got a little too frantic, however, and after running side-by-side through Turn 10 with two minutes to go, Jarvis locked up under braking while trying to protect the inside for Turn 11. He pushed out wide, forcing Derani on his outside to do the same, and that allowed Westbrook to sneak back through for the final podium position.

GTD Pro

In GTD Pro, polesitter Jordan Taylor retained his lead at the start in his Corvette C8.R, ahead of Mathieu Jaminet in the Pfaff Porsche 911 GT3 R and Ross Gunn’s Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage.

Sadly, Pfaff’s Porsche never re-emerged from the pitstops, so Antonio Garcia who had taken over the Corvette from Taylor was now leading Alex Riberas who had replaced Gunn in the HoR Aston, and Ben Barnicoat who’d taken the wheel of the Vasser Sullivan run #14 Lexus.

However, Garcia was penalized with a drive-through by Race Control for his crew “losing control of equipment” during the #3 car’s pitstop. IMSA Radio revealed this loose equipment was a wheelnut that came off the Vette and punctured the Pfaff Porsche’s radiator, explaining its DNF.

The yellow for torn-up curbs at Turn 5 worked out well though, and put the Vette back in the game. At the same time, it killed off the chances of the RLL BMW team with the #25 BMW M4. Connor De Phillippi – and the Turner BMW M4 – had been sent to the back of the grid for exceeding engine rpm in qualifying. But De Phillippi had stormed into the lead off-strategy. With the field bunched and the pits closed, his chances of challenging for the class win disappeared.

GTD Pro was now led by Riberas’ Aston with Barnicoat right behind in the #14 Lexus. Garcia might have been able to tackle Barnicoat but on the track he was behind Sellers’ PMR BMW.

GTD

GTD had also seen Paul Miller Racing’s Madison Snow able to remain P1 from the drop of the green, the BMW M4 staying ahead of the GTD Pro Lexus RC F pedaled by Jack Hawksworth, as well as his primary class rivals Jon Miller in the Crucial Motorsport McLaren 720S and Mike Skeen in the Team Korthoff Mercedes AMG GT3.

At pitstop time, Bryan Sellers replaced Snow and while he lost out to the GTD Pro Lexus, he had no problem retaining his class lead by over 15sec ahead of Paul Holton who was now wheeling the Crucial McLaren. Maxime Martin was third in the GTD HoR Aston, ahead of Mario Farnbacher’s Gradient Racing Acura NSX and Stevan McAleer in the Korthoff Mercedes.

Following the restart, Martin started nuzzling the rear of Sellers’ BMW and appeared to lose steering or give himself a puncture because he then scraped the wall on the run to Turn 8, ground to a halt and got out of the stricken Aston.

That left Farnbacher’s Acura and Aaron Telitz in the pro-am Lexus as Sellers’ prime challengers, chased by McAleer and Frederik Schandorff in the Inception Racing McLaren.

Unfortunately McAleer’s Benz struck the tires at Turn 8 after the restart and caused the third full-course yellow, allowing Ryan Eversley’s Rick Ware Racing Acura NSX into fifth.

Raffaele Marciello in the GTD Pro punted Jan Heylen’s fifth-placed Wright Motorsports Porsche into a spin at the hairpin, which allowed Bill Auberlen into the top five in the Turner BMW. That became fourth when Eversley had an incident, which also allowed Heylen to reclaim fifth.

Race results:

Cla Class Num Driver Chassis Laps Gap
1 DPi 01 Netherlands Renger van der Zande
France Sébastien Bourdais
Cadillac DPi 73  
2 DPi 02 New Zealand Earl Bamber
United Kingdom Alex Lynn
Cadillac DPi 73 3.761
3 DPi 5 France Tristan Vautier
United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
Cadillac DPi 73 9.048
4 DPi 60 United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
Acura DPi 73 10.014
5 DPi 31 Brazil Pipo Derani
United States Tristan Nunez
Cadillac DPi 73 10.535
6 DPi 10 United States Ricky Taylor
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Acura DPi 73 11.979
7 GTD PRO 23 United Kingdom Ross Gunn
Spain Alex Riberas
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 69 4 Laps
8 GTD PRO 14 United Kingdom Jack Hawksworth
United Kingdom Ben Barnicoat
Lexus RC F GT3 69 4 Laps
9 GTD 1 United States Bryan Sellers
United States Madison Snow
BMW M4 GT3 69 4 Laps
10 GTD PRO 3 Spain Antonio Garcia
United States Jordan Taylor
Corvette C8.R GTD 69 4 Laps
11 GTD 66 Germany Mario Farnbacher
United States Marc Miller
Acura NSX GT3 69 4 Laps
12 GTD 12 United States Frankie Montecalvo
United States Aaron Telitz
Lexus RC F GT3 69 4 Laps
13 GTD PRO 25 United States Connor de Phillippi
United States John Edwards
BMW M4 GT3 69 4 Laps
14 GTD 96 United States Robby Foley
United States Bill Auberlen
BMW M4 GT3 69 4 Laps
15 GTD 16 United States Ryan Hardwick
Belgium Jan Heylen
Porsche 911 GT3 R 69 4 Laps
16 GTD 32 United States Mike Skeen
United Kingdom Stevan McAleer
Mercedes-AMG GT3 69 4 Laps
17 GTD 99 United States Rob Ferriol
United Kingdom Katherine Legge
Porsche 911 GT3 R 69 4 Laps
18 GTD 51 United States Ryan Eversley
Australia Aidan Read
Acura NSX GT3 69 4 Laps
19 GTD 70 United States Brendan Iribe
Switzerland Frederik Schandorff
McLaren 720S GT3 69 4 Laps
20 GTD PRO 79 United States Cooper MacNeil
Italy Raffaele Marciello
Mercedes-AMG GT3 69 4 Laps
21 GTD 34 Kyle Washington
United States James Sofronas
Porsche 911 GT3 R 67 6 Laps
22 GTD 39 United States Robert Megennis
United States Jeff Westphal
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 57 16 Laps
23 GTD 27 Canada Roman De Angelis
Belgium Maxime Martin
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 48 25 Laps
24 GTD 59 Jon Miller
United States Paul Holton
McLaren 720S GT3 47 26 Laps
25 GTD 57 United States Russell Ward
Switzerland Philip Ellis
Mercedes-AMG GT3 33 40 Laps
26 GTD PRO 9 Australia Matt Campbell
France Mathieu Jaminet
Porsche 911 GT3 R 29 44 Laps

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