Rolex 24: Taylor beats Westbrook in epic race for pole

The Wayne Taylor Racing Acura will start next week’s Rolex 24 at Daytona from pole, after Ricky Taylor staved off a bold challenge from Richard Westbrook’s JDC-Miller Cadillac, that saw the pair make contact on the final lap of the 100-minute qualifying race.

Rolex 24: Taylor beats Westbrook in epic race for pole
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From pole position, Vautier’s JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi-V.R made a brilliant start as Tristan Nunez came up from the second row to claim second in the Action Express Racing Caddy – but only until the twisty infield when Renger van der Zande made several brave passes to claim second – up from sixth – in the Chip Ganassi Racing #01 Cadillac.

Tom Blomqvist of Meyer Shank Racing slotted his Acura ARX-05 into fourth ahead of the Wayne Taylor Racing Acura of Filipe Albuquerque. Alex Lynn was treading cautiously in the second Ganassi car and fell to sixth ahead of Jimmie Johnson in the Ally Racing AXR Cadillac.

On Lap 7, Nunez got ushered off the road while lapping GTD cars, allowing both Blomqvist and Albuquerque to move their Acuras into third and fourth respectively, and he would soon lose fifth to Lynn’s Ganassi car.

Nunez handed off the AXR #31 to Pipo Derani at Lap 15, with Blomqvist giving up his MSR Acura to Oliver Jarvis at the same time. Simultaneously, van der Zande was applying pressure to leader Vautier, and only half a second back Albuquerque was watching his mirrors for Ganassi debutant Lynn.

The two Ganassi cars pitted on Lap 18, van der Zande giving the wheel to Sebastien Bourdais and Lynn being replaced by Earl Bamber. Next time by Vautier stopped to let Westbrook in, handing the lead to Albuquerque. A couple of laps later, both Ganassi cars had to serve drive through penalties for exceeding the pitlane speed limit.

Once everyone had stopped, the early stoppers MSR and AXR were in front, Jarvis leading Derani by 2.5sec – depending on traffic – with Ricky Taylor pedaling the WTR Acura a further 6 sec back and under pressure from Westbrook. Kamui Kobayashi had taken over the Ally Cadillac from Johnson but was fifth, 22sec off the lead.

On Lap 26, Westbrook passed Taylor for third as they negotiated traffic, and started trying to close the 5sec gap to the Jarvis vs Derani battle up front.

Derani would then make his second stop with 40mins to go, leaving Jarvis with a 2.3sec ahead of Westbrook and Taylor. But two laps later, MSR pitted Jarvis and the rest of the DPi cars swiftly followed suit. They would shake out with Westbrook leading Jarvis, but with Taylor’s Acura ahead of both, and Derani in fourth. Kobayashi was still trying to play catch-up, while Bourdais and Bamber in the Ganassi cars sat at the back of the class, praying for a yellow.

Taylor and Westbrook pulled away from the pack to enjoy a thrilling battle up front, each showing great judgment as they picked their way through traffic. Derani passed Jarvis for third with less than 15mins remaining, and Kobayashi also passed the MSR car as Jarvis desperately tried to fuel save. Derani could not, however, and ducked into the pits with four laps remaining, dropping to the back of the class, and promoting Kobayashi to third.

On the very last lap, Westbrook saw a Cadillac-sized hole down the inside of Taylor at Turn 1, and nudged the Acura, causing Taylor to wiggle and Westbrook to spin. The JDC-Miller driver recovered in time to beat Kobayashi for second, with Jarvis beating the two Ganassi cars and Derani.

LMP2

#52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca of Ben Keating, Mikkel Jensen

#52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca of Ben Keating, Mikkel Jensen

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

In LMP2, Steven Thomas beat PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports teammate Ben Keating at the start to claim the lead, the pair of them leading the High Class Racing entry of Denis Andersen, with Fritz van Eerd fourth for Racing Team Nederland and Eric Lux fifth for DragonSpeed. On Lap 6, Keating took the lead from Thomas, while the pair of them dropped Andersen by more than eight seconds.

However, Lux was making strong progress, and had moved the DragonSpeed car into third by Lap 10 and started closing on Thomas.

Once all the LMP2 cars had made their pitstops, Mikkel Jensen and Jonathan Bomarito continued their teammates’ good work in a PR1/Mathiasen 1-2 ahead of Devlin DeFrancesco in the DragonSpeed car. Further back, James Allen ran fourth for G-Drive by APR ahead of Dylan Murry in the Racing Team Nederland car, but these two exchanged places on Lap 26.

In the second half of the race, Jensen kept pulling away from teammate and 40th birthday boy Bomarito, whose nearest pursuers following their second stops were Fabio Scherer in the High Class car, and Rene Rast of G-Drive. The DragonSpeed car had dropped to fifth.

In the closing laps, Rast demoted Scherer and closed up on Bomarito but was never close enough to try and grab runner-up spot, with Jensen holding on to win.

LMP3

#36 Andretti Autosport Ligier JS P320 of Jarett Andretti, Josh Burdon

#36 Andretti Autosport Ligier JS P320 of Jarett Andretti, Josh Burdon

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Cameron Shields of Muehlner Motorsport led from the start Andretti Autosport and Gar Robinson’s Riley Motorsports entry, but the car went behind the wall within the first six laps, allowing Orey Fidani of Forty7 Motorsport into third. However, with barely more than 40min to go, Shields pitted, apparently terminally, handing the class lead to Josh Burdon who was now driving the Andretti car.

Burdon came home 65sec ahead of the other Muehlner car, shared by Moritz Kranz and Ayrton Ori, with Kuno Wittmer bringing the Forty7 car home third, albeit three laps down.

GTD Pro

TR3 Racing Lamborghini Huracan of Andrea Caldarelli, Mirko Bortolotti

TR3 Racing Lamborghini Huracan of Andrea Caldarelli, Mirko Bortolotti

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Mathieu Jaminet led GTD Pro for Pfaff Motorsport at the start, beating polesitter Alex Imperatori of KCMG in the similar Porsche 911 GT3 Rs, while Ross Gunn of Heart of Racing Aston Martin ran third ahead of Andrea Caldarelli (TR3 Racing Lamborghini) and Ben Barnicoat on his Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F debut. They were chased by WeatherTech Racing pair – Maro Engel’s Mercedes AMG GT3 passed Julien Andlauer’s Porsche on Lap 5.

Caldarelli passed Gunn to claim third, while by Lap 18 Andlauer had not only re-passed Engel but was up to fifth ahead of Barnicoat’s Lexus.

Following the pitstops at around half distance, Pfaff continued to lead with Felipe Nasr in the driving seat, and it was still pursued by another Porsche but it was now Alessio Picariello in the #79 WeatherTech Porsche who was in second, 3sec adrift. The KCMG Porsche had tumbled to 10th in class with Patrick Pilet at the wheel, IMSA Radio reporting a refueling issue that had cost the team half a minute. In third was Mirko Bortolotti’s TR3 Lamborghini ahead of Alex Riberas in the Heart of Racing Aston Martin and Kyle Kirkwood’s VSR Lexus.

The battle for the lead between Nasr and Picariello closed right up with 30mins to go and finally the WeatherTech car got past with less than 25mins remaining, leaving Nasr to try and fend off Bortolotti. He succumbed to the Lambo driver with 19mins remaining and Bortolotti claimed the lead on their 47th lap with 14mins remaining.

Further back, Kirkwood had dropped to seventh, so that Jules Gounon’s WTR Mercedes ran fourth ahead of Riberas in the Aston, and the second WTR Proton Mercedes in the hands of Dirk Muller was sixth. Muller would pass Riberas for fifth in the final few minutes.

GTD

Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Russell Ward, Lucas Auer

Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Russell Ward, Lucas Auer

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

In GTD, Winward Racing’s Mercedes led in the hands of Russell Ward, chased by John Miller in the Crucial Motorsport McLaren 720S, while Kenny Habul retained his remarkable third place from qualifying ahead of Michael De Quesada in the Alegra Motorsport Mercedes. However, Mike Skeen’s Gilbert Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes charged in the opening stint, and climbed to third ahead of Habul.

After the stops, Lucas Auer kept Winward up front, with Paul Holton chasing him from behind the wheel of the Crucial McLaren. Townsend Bell ran third in class in the #12 VSR Lexus, just ahead of Guy Cosmo in the GKM Benz.

However, Jan Heylen, taking over the Wright Motorsports Porsche from Ryan Hardwick, had been charging hard throughout his stint and passed Bell for third at the last gasp, while Raffaele Marciello claimed fifth in the SunEnergy1 Mercedes ahead of Cosmo. Up front, Auer held on to claim class honors by a mere half second ahead of Holton.

Race results:

Cla Class Num Driver Chassis Laps Gap
1 DPi 10 United States Ricky Taylor
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
United States Alexander Rossi
United Kingdom Will Stevens
Acura DPi 61  
2 DPi 5 France Tristan Vautier
United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
France Loic Duval
United States Ben Keating
Cadillac DPi 61 7.900
3 DPi 48 United States Jimmie Johnson
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Cadillac DPi 61 9.569
4 DPi 60 United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
Brazil Helio Castroneves
France Simon Pagenaud
Acura DPi 61 15.643
5 DPi 01 Netherlands Renger van der Zande
France Sébastien Bourdais
New Zealand Scott Dixon
Spain Alex Palou
Cadillac DPi 61 22.680
6 DPi 02 New Zealand Earl Bamber
United Kingdom Alex Lynn
Sweden Marcus Ericsson
Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Cadillac DPi 61 25.550
7 DPi 31 Brazil Pipo Derani
United States Tristan Nunez
United Kingdom Mike Conway
Cadillac DPi 61 56.737
8 LMP2 52 United States Ben Keating
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
Scott Huffaker
France Nicolas Lapierre
ORECA LMP2 07 60 1 Lap
9 LMP2 11 Thomas Steven
United States Josh Pierson
United States Jonathan Bomarito
United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
ORECA LMP2 07 60 1 Lap
10 LMP2 68 France François Heriau
Oliver Rasmussen
United Arab Emirates Ed Jones
Germany René Rast
ORECA LMP2 07 60 1 Lap
11 LMP2 20 Denmark Dennis Andersen
Denmark Anders Fjordbach
Switzerland Fabio Scherer
Nico Mueller
ORECA LMP2 07 60 1 Lap
12 LMP2 81 United States Eric Lux
Canada Devlin DeFrancesco
Mexico Patricio O'Ward
United States Colton Herta
ORECA LMP2 07 60 1 Lap
13 LMP2 29 Netherlands Frits van Eerd
Netherlands Giedo van der Garde
Murry Dylan
Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout
ORECA LMP2 07 60 1 Lap
14 LMP2 69 United States John Falb
Australia James Allen
Italy Luca Ghiotto
Tijmen van
ORECA LMP2 07 59 2 Laps
15 LMP2 8 Canada John Farano
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
Rui Pinto
Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
ORECA LMP2 07 59 2 Laps
16 LMP2 22 United States Jim McGuire
United Kingdom Guy Smith
United Kingdom Philip Hanson
United States Will Owen
ORECA LMP2 07 59 2 Laps
17 LMP3 36 United States Jarett Andretti
Josh Burdon
Sweden Rasmus Lindh
Colombia Gabby Chaves
Ligier JS P320 57 4 Laps
18 LMP3 6 Efrin Castro
Germany Moritz Kranz
Ori Ayrton
United States Joel Miller
Duqueine D08 56 5 Laps
19 LMP3 13 Canada Orey Fidani
Canada Kuno Wittmer
Germany Lars Kern
United Kingdom Matthew Bell
Duqueine D08 56 5 Laps
20 GTD PRO 63 Italy Marco Mapelli
Italy Andrea Caldarelli
Italy Mirko Bortolotti
Switzerland Rolf Ineichen
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 56 5 Laps
21 GTD PRO 79 United States Cooper MacNeil
Julien Andlauer
Italy Matteo Cairoli
Belgium Alessio Picariello
Porsche 911 GT3 R 56 5 Laps
22 GTD PRO 9 Australia Matt Campbell
France Mathieu Jaminet
Brazil Felipe Nasr
Porsche 911 GT3 R 56 5 Laps
23 GTD 57 United States Russell Ward
Switzerland Philip Ellis
Canada Mikael Grenier
Austria Lucas Auer
Mercedes-AMG GT3 56 5 Laps
24 GTD 59 Lance Bergstein
Jon Miller
United States Patrick Gallagher
United States Paul Holton
McLaren 720S GT3 56 5 Laps
25 GTD PRO 97 United States Cooper MacNeil
Spain Daniel Juncadella
Germany Maro Engel
France Jules Gounon
Mercedes-AMG GT3 56 5 Laps
26 GTD PRO 15 Germany Dirk Muller
Germany Patrick Assenheimer
United States Austin Cindric
Mercedes-AMG GT3 56 5 Laps
27 GTD PRO 23 United Kingdom Ross Gunn
Spain Alex Riberas
Belgium Maxime Martin
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 55 6 Laps
28 GTD PRO 14 United Kingdom Jack Hawksworth
United Kingdom Ben Barnicoat
United States Kyle Kirkwood
Lexus RC F GT3 55 6 Laps
29 GTD 16 United States Ryan Hardwick
Canada Zacharie Robichon
Belgium Jan Heylen
Austria Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 GT3 R 55 6 Laps
30 GTD 12 United States Frankie Montecalvo
United States Aaron Telitz
United States Richard Heistand
United States Townsend Bell
Lexus RC F GT3 55 6 Laps
31 GTD 75 Australia Kenny Habul
Germany Luca Stolz
Italy Raffaele Marciello
Germany Fabian Schiller
Mercedes-AMG GT3 55 6 Laps
32 GTD 32 United States Mike Skeen
United States Guy Cosmo
United Kingdom Stevan McAleer
Australia Scott Andrews
Mercedes-AMG GT3 55 6 Laps
33 GTD PRO 3 Spain Antonio Garcia
United States Jordan Taylor
Netherlands Nick Catsburg
Corvette C8.R GTD 55 6 Laps
34 GTD 28 United States Michael de Quesada
Canada Daniel Morad
Linus Lundqvist
Maximillian Goetz
Mercedes-AMG GT3 55 6 Laps
35 GTD 70 Brendan Iribe
Switzerland Frederik Schandorff
United Kingdom Ollie Millroy
South Africa Jordan Lee Pepper
McLaren 720S GT3 55 6 Laps
36 LMP3 7 United States Mark Kvamme
United States Austin McCusker
United States Trenton Estep
Antoine Doquin
Duqueine D08 55 6 Laps
37 GTD 39 United States Robert Megennis
United States Corey Lewis
United Kingdom Sandy Mitchell
United States Jeff Westphal
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 55 6 Laps
38 GTD PRO 4 United States Tommy Milner
United Kingdom Nick Tandy
Denmark Marco Sorensen
Corvette C8.R GTD 55 6 Laps
39 GTD 44 United States John Potter
United States Andy Lally
United States Spencer Pumpelly
United Kingdom Jonathan Adam
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 55 6 Laps
40 GTD 98 Canada Paul Dalla Lana
David Pittard
Charlie Eastwood
Denmark Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 55 6 Laps
41 GTD PRO 2 Belgium Laurens Vanthoor
France Patrick Pilet
Norway Dennis Olsen
Switzerland Alexandre Imperatori
Porsche 911 GT3 R 55 6 Laps
42 GTD 47 Italy Roberto Lacorte
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Italy Antonio Fuoco
Italy Alessio Rovera
Ferrari 488 GT3 55 6 Laps
43 GTD PRO 62 Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
United Kingdom James Calado
Brazil Daniel Serra
Italy Davide Rigon
Ferrari 488 GT3 55 6 Laps
44 GTD PRO 25 United States Connor de Phillippi
United States John Edwards
Brazil Augusto Farfus
Finland Jesse Krohn
BMW M4 GT3 55 6 Laps
45 GTD 19 United States Bill Sweedler
John Megrue
Italy Giacomo Altoè
United States Jeff Segal
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 55 6 Laps
46 GTD PRO 24 Austria Philipp Eng
Germany Marco Wittmann
United Kingdom Nick Yelloly
South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde
BMW M4 GT3 55 6 Laps
47 GTD 99 Rob Ferriol
United Kingdom Katherine Legge
United Kingdom Stefan Wilson
United States Nicholas Boulle
Porsche 911 GT3 R 55 6 Laps
48 GTD 34 Kyle Washington
United States James Sofronas
Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen
Austria Klaus Bachler
Porsche 911 GT3 R 55 6 Laps
49 GTD 66 Kyffin Simpson
United States Till Bechtolsheimer
United States Marc Miller
Germany Mario Farnbacher
Acura NSX GT3 55 6 Laps
50 GTD 21 Mann Simon
Argentina Luis Perez Companc
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Finland Toni Vilander
Ferrari 488 GT3 54 7 Laps
51 LMP3 33 Portugal Joao Barbosa
Malthe Jakobsen
Seb Priaulx
United States Lance Willsey
Ligier JS P320 54 7 Laps
52 GTD 42 United States Don Yount
Benja Hites
United States Jaden Conwright
Finland Markus Palttala
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 53 8 Laps
53 LMP3 26 Nolan Siegel
Australia Cameron Shields
Charles Crews
Ugo De
Duqueine D08 53 8 Laps
54 GTD 64 United States Ted Giovanis
United States Hugh Plumb
United States Matt Plumb
United States Owen Trinkler
Porsche 911 GT3 R 45 16 Laps
55 LMP2 18 Dwight Merriman
United Kingdom Kyle Tilley
United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
France Paul-Loup Chatin
ORECA LMP2 07 38 23 Laps
56 GTD 96 United States Robby Foley
United States Bill Auberlen
Michael Dinan
Germany Jens Klingmann
BMW M4 GT3 28 33 Laps
57 GTD 27 Canada Roman De Angelis
United Kingdom Ian James
United Kingdom Darren Turner
Tom Gamble
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 27 34 Laps
58 LMP3 38 Dan Goldburg
Hikaru Abe
Canada Garett Grist
Nicolas Pino
Ligier JS P320 22 39 Laps
59 GTD 71 France Franck Perera
LLarena Mateo
Germany Paul Maximilian
Canada Mikhail Goikhberg
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 16 45 Laps
60 LMP3 74 United States Gar Robinson
Brazil Felipe Fraga
Netherlands Kay van Berlo
United States Michael Cooper
Ligier JS P320 5 56 Laps
  LMP3 54 United States Jon Bennett
United States Colin Braun
United States George Kurtz
Sweden Nic Jönsson
Ligier JS P320 0  

 

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