Narrow Petit Le Mans IMSA finale victory for Michael Shank Racing

Michael Shank Racing claimed a narrow victory in the Petit Le Mans IMSA SportsCar Championship finale at Road Atlanta

Narrow Petit Le Mans IMSA finale victory for Michael Shank Racing

Shank drivers Olivier Pla, Oswaldo Negri Jr and John Pew took the chequered flag aboard their Ligier-Honda JSP2 by just 3.5 seconds over the identical Extreme Speed Motorsports car shared by Pipo Derani, Johannes van Overbeek and Scott Sharp.

Pla had a 13s lead over Derani when the safety car came out for the fifth and final time of the race with 14 minutes to go, but the Frenchman was able to extend a lead that stood at just under three seconds when the race went green to seal the victory.

The Shank Ligier had the edge on its rivals and was quickly able to come back from a lap down after slow first pitstop and the only stint in the car from amateur driver Pew.

Pla survived a late scare with just over an hour to go when he spun on the entry of the fast Turn 12 righthander after a touch from a GT Daytona Porsche.

Pla said: "The car has been amazing all week, so we always felt confident.

"This is so sweet for me because I feel I've had terrible luck this year."

Mazda Motorsports lost third place in the final 15 minutes with a fiery engine failure on its surviving SpeedSource-run Lola-Mazda B12/80 shared by Joel Miller, Tom Long and Spencer Pigot.

That promoted the Action Express Racing Coyote-Chevrolet Corvette DP of Dane Cameron, Eric Curran and Simon Pagenaud to third, but Jordan Taylor was able to nip past after the race went green for the final time to claim the final spot on the podium for the Wayne Taylor Racing Dallara-Chevrolet Corvette DP he shared with brother Ricky and Max Angelelli.

Fourth was more than enough to give Cameron and Curran the overall IMSA title.

They went into the race with a one-point advantage over team-mates Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa, but a puncture for the second of the Action Express Coyotes in which they were joined by Filipe Albuquerque cost them more than lap and left the car fifth at the finish.

FERRARI DEFEATS FORD IN GT BATTLE

The Risi Competizione Ferrari sqaud claimed a first GT Le Mans class victory with Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and team newcomer James Calado.

Their Ferrari 488 GTE finished just over 15s ahead of the Ganassi Ford GT shared by Joey Hand, Dirk Muller and Sebastien Bourdais.

The Ford finished with the Corvette Racing entry of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler on its tail.

Third position gave Gavin and Milner the GTLM title, which was more or less a foregone conclusion after their closest rivals, Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe, lost time early in the race with a wastegate problem in the Ford they shared with Scott Dixon

Tom Kimber-Smith, Robert Alon and Jose Gutierrez took victory in the Prototype Challenge class for the one-make ORECA-Chevrolet FLM09 with the PR1/Mathiasen squad.

That put them equal on points with Renger van der Zande and Alex Popow, who finished sixth together with David Heinemeier Hansson, but the Starworks drivers claimed the title on countback.

Magnus Racing Audi driver Andy Lally appeared to have sealed victory in the GT Daytona class after passing Jeroen Bleekemolen's Riley Dodge Viper on the penultimate lap.

But a drive-time violation for the Audi R8 LMS that Lally shared with Marco Seefried and John Potter handed victory to Bleekemolen and team-mates Ben Keating and Marc Miller.

The GTD title went to the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari team for a second season in a row with Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan.

RESULTS - 412 LAPS:

Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 P J.Pew, O.Negri, O.Pla Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ligier/HPD 10h00m30.023s
2 P S.Sharp, P.Derani, J.van Overbeek Tequila Patron ESM Ligier/HPD 3.524s
3 P R.Taylor, J.Taylor, M.Angelelli Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette/Chevrolet 11.745s
4 P E.Curran, D.Cameron, S.Pagenaud Action Express Racing Corvette/Chevrolet 14.258s
5 P J.Barbosa, C.Fittipaldi, F.Albuquerque Action Express Racing Corvette/Chevrolet 2 Laps
6 PC R.Alon, J.Gutierrez, T.K.-Smith PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA/Chevrolet 8 Laps
7 PC J.French, K.Marcelli, K.Koch Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA/Chevrolet 9 Laps
8 P T.Long, J.Miller, S.Pigot Mazda Motorsports Lola/Mazda 11 Laps
9 GTLM G.Fisichella, T.Vilander, J.Calado Risi Competizione Ferrari 14 Laps
10 GTLM J.Hand, D.Muller, S.Bourdais Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford 14 Laps
11 GTLM O.Gavin, T.Milner, M.Fassler Corvette Racing Chevrolet 14 Laps
12 GTLM A.Garcia, J.Magnussen, M.Rockenfeller Corvette Racing Chevrolet 15 Laps
13 PC M.Goikhberg, C.Miller, S.Simpson JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA/Chevrolet 17 Laps
14 GTLM E.Bamber, F.Makowiecki, M.Christensen Porsche North America Porsche 17 Laps
15 PC M.Kvamme, R.Bradley, M.Hanratty Starworks Motorsport ORECA/Chevrolet 19 Laps
16 GTLM J.M.Edwards, L.Luhr, K.Wittmer BMW Team RLL BMW 21 Laps
17 GTD B.Keating, J.Bleekemolen, M.Miller Riley Motorsports Dodge 27 Laps
18 GTD C.Nielsen, A.Balzan, J.Segal Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 28 Laps
19 GTD M.Marsal, M.Palttala, C.Lawrence Turner Motorsport BMW 28 Laps
20 GTD B.Sellers, M.Snow, B.Miller Paul Miller Racing Audi 29 Laps
21 GTD M.Bell, L.Aschenbach, D.von Moltke Stevenson Motorsports Audi 29 Laps
22 GTD P.Ruberti, L.Persiani, C.Sbirrazzuoli Dream Racing Lamborghini 29 Laps
23 GTD R.Liddell, A.Davis, M.Skeen Stevenson Motorsports Audi 30 Laps
24 PC D.Yount, T.Drissi, J.Mowlem BAR1 Motorsports ORECA/Chevrolet 33 Laps
25 GTLM R.Briscoe, R.Westbrook, S.Dixon Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford 40 Laps
26 GTD I.James, M.Farnbacher, A.Riberas Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche 46 Laps
27 GTD B.Curtis, J.Klingmann, A.Freiberg Turner Motorsport BMW 48 Laps
28 GTLM D.Serra, A.P.Guidi, A.Bertolini Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 62 Laps
29 GTD C.Lewis, S.Pumpelly, R.Antinucci Change Racing Lamborghini 62 Laps
30 GTD J.Potter, A.Lally, M.Seefried Magnus Racing Audi 63 Laps
31 GTD J.Bergmeister, M.McMurry, P.Lindsey Park Place Motorsports Porsche 28 Laps
32 GTLM B.Auberlen, D.Werner, A.Farfus BMW Team RLL BMW 95 Laps
33 PC R.van der Zande, A.Popow, D.H.Hansson Starworks Motorsport ORECA/Chevrolet 125 Laps
34 GTLM P.Pilet, N.Tandy, R.Lietz Porsche North America Porsche 183 Laps
35 P R.Dalziel, M.Goossens, R.H.-Reay Visit Florida Racing Corvette/Chevrolet 214 Laps
36 P K.Legge, S.Rayhall, A.Meyrick Panoz DeltaWing Racing DeltaWing/Elan 243 Laps
37 P T.Nunez, J.Bomarito, S.Pigot Mazda Motorsports Lola/Mazda 298 Laps
38 PC J.Dayson, Q.Lall, S.Coletti Starworks Motorsport ORECA/Chevrolet 362 Laps

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