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Race report
IMSA Road Atlanta

IMSA Petit Le Mans: MSR Acura wins dramatic race, snatches title

Meyer Shank Racing Acura won the final IMSA SportsCar race of the DPi era, and claimed the championship after the Ganassi Cadillacs collided and WTR's Acura hit a GT car.

#60 Meyer Shank Racing W/Curb-Agajanian Acura DPi: Oliver Jarvis, Tom Blomqvist, Helio Castroneves

Tom Blomqvist converted his pole into the early advantage in the title-leading Acura ARX-05, running ahead of Earl Bamber in the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R.

But Blomqvist's lead didn't last long, Bamber getting ahead on lap six, before it was then the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac of Sebastien Bourdais that cycled into the lead following several full course yellow periods.

However, the Ganassi crew's chances then took a turn for the worse when, with Scott Dixon at the wheel approaching mid-distance, it was handed the first of two drivethrough penalties for not meeting tyre pressure requirements, which dropped Dixon back to sixth.

Up at the front, there was a close battle between Loic Duval in the JDC Miller Cadillac and Mike Conway in the similar Action Express car.

But several other crews were still firmly in the mix with the Wayne Taylor Racing Acura - which had pitted on the very first lap of the race after Ricky Taylor damaged its tyres with a qualifying spin - cycling into the lead on an alternate strategy.

However, Filipe Albuquerque was then delayed by a spinning LMP2 car, which handed the advantage back to Pipo Derani in the Action Express Cadillac.

But Albuquerque was content to remain in second, given his rival for the title was down in fourth at this stage. 

#10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 Acura DPi: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Brendon Hartley

#10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 Acura DPi: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Brendon Hartley

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

With around  two hours to go, the #01 Cadillac of Bourdais appeared to improve its chances, with the sister car of Alex Lynn falling off the track briefly just ahead before it pitted and Lynn gave up his ride to Bamber. Bourdais then pitted, and CGR got his replacement Renger van der Zande out ahead of Meyer Shank Racing’s #60 Acura, in which Blomqvist had replaced Helio Castroneves.

Olivier Pla also had a brief off in the #31 Action Express Cadillac but he had second place in his hands, 13 seconds behind Albuquerque, but being pressured heavily by Bamber.

But one of the key moments of the race came with with 50mins to go, when the two Ganassi Cadillacs collided. Bamber got held up by the Korthoff Mercedes GTD car, allowing van der Zande to get a run on him on the outside approaching Turn 1, and the pair made side-by-side contact that sent them both into the gravel on the outside and into the tyre wall.

That of course brought out the full course yellow, and when the Acuras pitted, Meyer Shank Racing got Blomqvist out ahead of Albuquerque, who then pitted for a second time to top up fuel without losing position.

At the restart, with little more than half an hour to go, Blomqvist retained the lead from Albuquerque, and they were now being pursued by Derani.

Blomqvist briefly stretched out a small lead on the restart, before he came under intense pressure from Albuquerque as they encountered GT traffic. But it was that very traffic that also proved the WTR car’s undoing, Albuquerque making contact with the Winward Racing Mercedes.

The car trickled slowly to the pits with a dozen minutes to go, leaving the MSR Acura to triumph - Blomqvist and Castroneves sharing with Oliver Jarvis - by four seconds from Derani, Conway and Pla.

Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Rockenfeller and Jimmie Johnson came home third in the second AXR Cadillac, one lap down having been penalised for spinning its wheels while the car was up on its jacks during one of Johnson's stops.

#14 VasserSullivan Lexus RC F GT3: Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat, Kyle Kirkwood

#14 VasserSullivan Lexus RC F GT3: Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat, Kyle Kirkwood

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

There was drama after the race in GTD Pro class, the Risi Competizione Ferrari of Daniel Serria, James Calado and Davide Rigon having seemingly triumphed having snuck ahead of the leading Lexis and the Pfaff Porsche in a double move down the inside of both at Turn 10.

But Serra had driven four hours and 11 minutes in the last six hours of the race, a violation of IMSA’s drive-time rules, meaning Risi Competizione was moved to the back of the lead lap.

Thus Jack Hawskworth, Ben Barnicoat and Kyle Kirkwood clinched victory for the Vasser Sullivan Lexus, ahead of the RLL BMW and the Pfaff Porsche - the latter's Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet taking the class title by virtue of simply starting the race.

There was more success for Acura in the GTD division, as the Gradient Racing NSX of Kyffin Simpson, Tim Bechtolsheimer and Mario Farnbacher took the spoils.

However, seventh in class was enough for Heart of Racing Aston Martin driver Roman de Angelis to clinch the GTD drivers' title.

In LMP2, Louis Deletraz, Rui Andrade and John Farano of Tower Motorsport (ORECA) clinched the win ahead of rival teams DragonSpeed and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, giving Farano the drivers' crown.

In LMP3, Andretti Autosport's Ligier won with Jarett Andretti, Gabby Chaves and Josh Burdon at the wheel ahead of Jr III Motorsports and Sean Creech Motorsport, but title honours went the way of Colin Braun and Jon Bennett of CORE Autosport in fifth place.

Petit Le Mans result:

Cla Class Num Driver Chassis Laps Time
1 DPi 60 United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
Brazil Helio Castroneves
Acura DPi 423 10:00'14.591
2 DPi 31 France Olivier Pla
Brazil Pipo Derani
United Kingdom Mike Conway
Cadillac DPi 423 10:00'18.960
3 DPi 48 Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
United States Jimmie Johnson
Cadillac DPi 422 10:00'28.165
4 DPi 01 Netherlands Renger van der Zande
France Sébastien Bourdais
New Zealand Scott Dixon
Cadillac DPi 419 10:00'26.366
5 LMP2 8 Canada John Farano
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
Portugal Rui Andrade
ORECA LMP2 07 418 10:00'29.473
6 LMP2 81 Sweden Henrik Hedman
Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
Colombia Sebastian Montoya
ORECA LMP2 07 418 10:00'30.422
7 LMP2 11 United States Thomas Steven
United States Josh Pierson
United States Tristan Nunez
ORECA LMP2 07 418 10:00'31.404
8 DPi 02 New Zealand Earl Bamber
United Kingdom Alex Lynn
United States Ryan Hunter-Reay
Cadillac DPi 418 10:00'49.881
9 DPi 10 United States Ricky Taylor
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Acura DPi 414 9:47'08.006
10 LMP2 20 Denmark Dennis Andersen
Denmark Anders Fjordbach
Switzerland Fabio Scherer
ORECA LMP2 07 414 10:00'46.370
11 LMP3 36 United States Jarett Andretti
Colombia Gabby Chaves
Josh Burdon
Ligier JS P320 401 10:00'40.338
12 LMP3 30 United States Ari Balogh
Canada Garett Grist
Nolan Siegel
Ligier JS P320 401 10:00'42.747
13 LMP3 33 Portugal Joao Barbosa
Malthe Jakobsen
Nicolas Pino
Ligier JS P320 401 10:00'51.175
14 LMP3 74 United States Gar Robinson
Brazil Felipe Fraga
Netherlands Kay van Berlo
Ligier JS P320 400 10:00'36.953
15 LMP3 54 United States Jon Bennett
United States Colin Braun
United States George Kurtz
Ligier JS P320 399 10:00'47.201
16 LMP3 76 Canada Anthony Mantella
Canada Kyle Marcelli
Josh Sarchet
Duqueine D08 397 10:00'18.144
17 LMP3 13 Canada Orey Fidani
United Kingdom Matthew Bell
Germany Lars Kern
Duqueine D08 395 10:00'48.366
18 GTD 66 Kyffin Simpson
United States Till Bechtolsheimer
Germany Mario Farnbacher
Acura NSX GT3 387 10:00'38.972
19 GTD 70 United States Brendan Iribe
South Africa Jordan Lee Pepper
United Kingdom Sebastian Priaulx
McLaren 720S GT3 387 10:00'40.915
20 GTD 96 United States Robby Foley
United States Bill Auberlen
Michael Dinan
BMW M4 GT3 386 10:00'16.919
21 GTD 16 United States Ryan Hardwick
Canada Zacharie Robichon
Belgium Jan Heylen
Porsche 911 GT3 R 386 10:00'19.798
22 GTD 1 United States Bryan Sellers
United States Madison Snow
Sweden Erik Johansson
BMW M4 GT3 386 10:00'20.915
23 GTD PRO 14 United Kingdom Jack Hawksworth
United Kingdom Ben Barnicoat
United States Kyle Kirkwood
Lexus RC F GT3 386 10:00'34.816
24 GTD PRO 25 United States Connor de Phillippi
United States John Edwards
Finland Jesse Krohn
BMW M4 GT3 386 10:00'35.428
25 GTD PRO 9 Australia Matt Campbell
France Mathieu Jaminet
Brazil Felipe Nasr
Porsche 911 GT3 R 386 10:00'37.837
26 GTD PRO 23 United Kingdom Ross Gunn
Spain Alex Riberas
United Kingdom Tom Gamble
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 386 10:00'41.599
27 GTD PRO 3 Spain Antonio Garcia
United States Jordan Taylor
Netherlands Nick Catsburg
Corvette C8.R GTD 386 10:00'44.460
28 GTD 32 United States Mike Skeen
United Kingdom Stevan McAleer
Germany Dirk Muller
Mercedes AMG GT3 385 10:00'15.696
29 GTD 27 Canada Roman De Angelis
Belgium Maxime Martin
United Kingdom Ian James
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 385 10:00'24.848
30 GTD 21 France Simon Mann
Argentina Luis Perez Companc
Finland Toni Vilander
Ferrari 488 GT3 385 10:00'27.234
31 GTD PRO 79 Germany Maximilian Buhk
Canada Mikael Grenier
Maximillian Goetz
Mercedes AMG GT3 385 10:00'49.389
32 GTD PRO 62 Brazil Daniel Serra
Italy Davide Rigon
United Kingdom James Calado
Ferrari 488 GT3 386 10:00'33.808
33 GTD 42 United States Jaden Conwright
Marco Holzer
United States Don Yount
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 385 10:00'52.173
34 GTD 47 Italy Roberto Lacorte
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Ulysse De
Ferrari 488 GT3 384 10:00'22.139
35 GTD 57 United States Russell Ward
Switzerland Philip Ellis
Germany Marvin Dienst
Mercedes AMG GT3 383 10:00'23.545
36 LMP3 38 Daniel Goldburg
Australia Cameron Shields
Tyler Maxson
Ligier JS P320 355 10:00'28.757
37 GTD 99 United States Rob Ferriol
United Kingdom Katherine Legge
United States Nicholas Boulle
Porsche 911 GT3 R 264 6:58'52.065
38 LMP2 18 United States Dwight Merriman
United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
Christian Rasmussen
ORECA LMP2 07 249 6:32'05.927
39 DPi 5 France Tristan Vautier
United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
France Loic Duval
Cadillac DPi 170 4:19'04.773
40 GTD 12 United States Frankie Montecalvo
United States Aaron Telitz
United States Richard Heistand
Lexus RC F GT3 158 4:17'25.443
41 LMP2 52 United States Ben Keating
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
United States Scott Huffaker
ORECA LMP2 07 102 2:37'02.443
42 GTD 44 United States John Potter
United States Andy Lally
United States Spencer Pumpelly
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 62 1:39'47.789
43 GTD 39 United States Robert Megennis
United States Corey Lewis
United States Jeff Westphal
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 22 40'31.335

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