IMSA Watkins Glen: Albuquerque beats Blomqvist after red flag for lightning

Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis were set for victory for Meyer Shank Racing at the IMSA Six Hours of Watkins Glen, only for a red flag for lightning to set up a late shootout won by Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor for Wayne Taylor Racing.

IMSA Watkins Glen: Albuquerque beats Blomqvist after red flag for lightning

With 90 minutes of the race remaining the red flags were shown when lightning struck, but with the clock still running the race resumed for a 21-minute sprint finish.

The two leading Acuras had been at the front all race long, with Albuquerque and Taylor seemingly in control when the caution flags waved due to a nasty crash for the Carbahn with Peregrine Racing GTD Lamborghini of Jeff Westphal, who was the innocent victim of a squabble between two LMP2 drivers on the downhill plunge toward Turn 7.

But before the wreckage could be cleared away, the red flags were displayed when some nearby lightning strikes triggered an immediate halt to the proceedings.

The thunderstorm passed close by with little precipitation, but it took almost an hour before the threat of electrical strikes had passed and the race was able to resume.

Albuquerque knew his best opportunity to take the win would come at the restart, when he took advantage of Blomqvist’s draft on the main straight to get alongside.

Albuquerque hadn’t entirely cleared his rival as he headed toward the chicane, but he threw his car into the right-left complex anyway, making significant contact with Blomqvist as he barged past, leaving a disgruntled British driver to settle for his team’s fourth consecutive second-place finish.

Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande took the flag only 1.4s back in third place in the lead Cadillac for Chip Ganassi, followed by team-mates Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who barely held off the Whelen Engineering Cadillac of Olivier Pla, Mike Conway and Pipo Derani.

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In LMP2, Scott Huffaker took a fine victory with co-drivers Mikkel Jensen and Ben Keating, as the PR1-Mathiasen Motorsports squad held off a late charge from the identical Tower Motorsport ORECA of Louis Deletraz, John Farano and Rui Andrade by just 0.107s.

Riley Motorsports with Gar Robinson, Felipe Fraga and Kay van Berlo claimed the team’s third straight Watkins Glen victory in LMP3.

Both GTD Pro and GTD featured tremendous battles throughout the race, although both were ultimately decided by the red-flag stoppage causing teams not to meet the minimum drive-time requirements.

The BMW Team RLL of Connor De Phillippi, John Edwards and Augusto Farfus and Winward Racing Mercedes of Russell Ward, Mikael Grenier and Philip Ellis were relegated to the back of their respective classes due to the drive-time penalty.

That saw Heart of Racing Aston Martin to take a clean sweep with the #23 of Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas winning in GTD Pro and the #27 sister car of Roman De Angelis, Maxime Martin and Ian James taking victory in GTD.

The #25 RLL BMW had been running fourth in the closing stages, but late pitstops for the leading Risi Ferrari of Daniel Serra, Mathieu Jaminet's Pfaff Porsche and the Vasser Sullivan Lexus of Kyle Kirkwood delivered Edwards to first - although the win proved short-lived.

RLL technical director Brandon Fry explained: "The red flag came with roughly 90 minutes remaining. John Edwards had entered the car some time before that. If not for the interruption, during which the race time continued to run down, but the drive time did not, John would easily have been within the original minimum drive time of 90 minutes.

"However, when this was adjusted to just 1:17 hours, despite the longer break, it meant John was no longer able to meet the requirement after the restart. Our strategy was solid and a proven winner. The adjustment to the minimum drive time came too late for us to be able to react and adapt our strategy."

IMSA Watkins Glen - Race Results

Cla   Class Num Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval
1   DPi 10 United States Ricky Taylor
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Acura DPi 162 -    
2   DPi 60 United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
Acura DPi 162 0.861 0.861 0.861
3   DPi 01 Netherlands Renger van der Zande
France Sébastien Bourdais
Cadillac DPi 162 2.267 2.267 1.406
4   DPi 02 New Zealand Earl Bamber
United Kingdom Alex Lynn
Cadillac DPi 162 4.176 4.176 1.909
5   DPi 31 France Olivier Pla
Brazil Pipo Derani
United Kingdom Mike Conway
Cadillac DPi 162 4.211 4.211 0.035
6   DPi 48 Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
United States Jimmie Johnson
Cadillac DPi 161 1 lap    
7   DPi 5 France Tristan Vautier
United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
France Loic Duval
Cadillac DPi 160 2 laps    
8   LMP2 52 United States Ben Keating
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
United States Scott Huffaker
ORECA LMP2 07 160 2 laps    
9   LMP2 8 Canada John Farano
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
Portugal Rui Andrade
ORECA LMP2 07 160 2 laps    
10   LMP2 29 Netherlands Frits van Eerd
Netherlands Giedo van der Garde
United States Dylan Murry
ORECA LMP2 07 160 2 laps    
11   LMP2 20 Denmark Dennis Andersen
Denmark Anders Fjordbach
Switzerland Fabio Scherer
ORECA LMP2 07 160 2 laps    
12   LMP2 81 Sweden Henrik Hedman
Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
Colombia Sebastian Montoya
ORECA LMP2 07 159 3 laps    
13   LMP2 11 United States Thomas Steven
United States Josh Pierson
United States Jonathan Bomarito
ORECA LMP2 07 159 3 laps    
14   LMP2 18 United States Dwight Merriman
United Kingdom Kyle Tilley
United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
ORECA LMP2 07 158 4 laps    
15   LMP3 74 United States Gar Robinson
Brazil Felipe Fraga
Netherlands Kay van Berlo
Ligier JS P320 154 8 laps    
16   LMP3 54 United States Jon Bennett
United States Colin Braun
United States George Kurtz
Ligier JS P320 153 9 laps    
17   LMP3 36 United States Jarett Andretti
Josh Burdon
Colombia Gabby Chaves
Ligier JS P320 153 9 laps    
18   LMP3 38 Daniel Goldburg
Sweden Rasmus Lindh
Australia Cameron Shields
Ligier JS P320 153 9 laps    
19   LMP3 40 Nico Varrone
United States Max Hanratty
Canada James Vance
Duqueine D08 151 11 laps    
20   GTD PRO 25 United States Connor de Phillippi
United States John Edwards
Brazil Augusto Farfus
BMW M4 GT3 148 14 laps    
21   GTD 57 United States Russell Ward
Switzerland Philip Ellis
Germany Marvin Dienst
Mercedes AMG GT3 148 14 laps    
22   GTD 27 Canada Roman De Angelis
Belgium Maxime Martin
United Kingdom Ian James
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 148 14 laps    
23   GTD 70 United States Brendan Iribe
United Kingdom Ollie Millroy
South Africa Jordan Lee Pepper
McLaren 720S GT3 147 15 laps    
24   GTD 96 United States Robby Foley
United States Bill Auberlen
Michael Dinan
BMW M4 GT3 147 15 laps    
25   GTD 12 United States Frankie Montecalvo
United States Aaron Telitz
United States Richard Heistand
Lexus RC F GT3 147 15 laps    
26   GTD PRO 23 United Kingdom Ross Gunn
Spain Alex Riberas
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 147 15 laps    
27   GTD 47 Italy Roberto Lacorte
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Italy Antonio Fuoco
Ferrari 488 GT3 147 15 laps    
28   GTD PRO 62 Brazil Daniel Serra
Italy Davide Rigon
Ferrari 488 GT3 147 15 laps    
29   GTD 44 United States John Potter
United States Andy Lally
United States Spencer Pumpelly
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 147 15 laps    
30   GTD PRO 9 Australia Matt Campbell
France Mathieu Jaminet
Porsche 911 GT3 R 147 15 laps    
31   GTD PRO 14 United Kingdom Ben Barnicoat
United States Kyle Kirkwood
Lexus RC F GT3 147 15 laps    
32   GTD PRO 79 United States Cooper MacNeil
Germany Maro Engel
Canada Mikael Grenier
Mercedes AMG GT3 147 15 laps    
33   GTD 42 United States Jaden Conwright
Marco Holzer
United States Don Yount
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 147 15 laps    
34   GTD PRO 3 Spain Antonio Garcia
United States Jordan Taylor
Corvette C8.R GTD 147 15 laps    
35   GTD 16 United States Ryan Hardwick
Canada Zacharie Robichon
Belgium Jan Heylen
Porsche 911 GT3 R 146 16 laps    
36   GTD 59 Jon Miller
United States Paul Holton
United States Patrick Gallagher
McLaren 720S GT3 146 16 laps    
37   GTD 99 United States Rob Ferriol
United Kingdom Katherine Legge
United Kingdom Stefan Wilson
Porsche 911 GT3 R 145 17 laps    
38   GTD 1 United States Bryan Sellers
United States Madison Snow
Sweden Erik Johansson
BMW M4 GT3 144 18 laps    
39   GTD 32 United States Mike Skeen
United Kingdom Stevan McAleer
Germany Dirk Muller
Mercedes AMG GT3 138 24 laps    
40   LMP3 33 Portugal Joao Barbosa
Malthe Jakobsen
United States Lance Willsey
Ligier JS P320 132 30 laps    
41   GTD 39 United States Robert Megennis
United States Corey Lewis
United States Jeff Westphal
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 129 33 laps    
42   LMP3 30 United States Ari Balogh
Canada Garett Grist
Nolan Siegel
Ligier JS P320 126 36 laps    
43   LMP3 58 United States Dakota Dickerson
Josh Sarchet
Tyler Maxson
Ligier JS P320 108 54 laps    
44   GTD 21 France Simon Mann
Argentina Luis Perez Companc
Finland Toni Vilander
Ferrari 488 GT3 76 86 laps    
45   LMP3 7 Canada Anthony Mantella
United Kingdom Matthew Bell
United Kingdom Wayne Boyd
Duqueine D08 67 95 laps    
46   GTD 66 Kyffin Simpson
United States Till Bechtolsheimer
Germany Mario Farnbacher
Acura NSX GT3 44 118 laps    
47   LMP3 13 Canada Orey Fidani
Canada Kyle Marcelli
Germany Lars Kern
Duqueine D08 43 119 laps    
48   LMP3 6 Ugo De
Danny Formal
United States Dillon Machavern
Duqueine D08 35 127 laps    
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IMSA Watkins Glen: Blomqvist takes pole in Meyer Shank Acura
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