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VisitFlorida Has Successful Visit To The Glen

| , RacinToday.com Monday, June 29 2015

Tudor logoThe No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP driven by Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante were awarded the victory at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International Sunday under yellow after a stalled GT car could not be towed off the track in time to allow the race to finish under green.

After a 14-minute stoppage for rain with less than two hours remaining, then-race leader Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP made contact with the tire barrier at the exit of Turn 10. Needing fuel to make it to the finish, Christian Fittipaldi pitted the No. 5 Mustang Sampling/Cedar Tree Corvette DP under green anticipating a caution due to the large debris left on the track from No. 10. The caution did not come until later, and the No. 5 team also was penalized issued for speeding through pit lane.

The No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost/Riley DP of Joey Hand inherited the lead. He led under a lengthy full-course caution in wet conditions and took the the green flag on a restart with 16 minutes left, running low on fuel.

Hand lost the lead to Westbrook when he pitted for fuel. Shortly thereafter, the race’s final full-course caution came out for an incident involving the No. 007 Aston Martin Vantage GT Daytona car of Kuno Wittmer. Westbrook took the checkered flag under caution.

“When Michael pitted the last time when he came in under his own, I knew we’d be in good shape and that was it until the end,” Wesbrook said. “It was super fun out there, especially when it was raining out there and we were on slicks. I think the officials did a great job today, with the red flagging and the standing water. They made some great tough calls today. But without the wiper at the end, it was tough to even see the safety car at the end. Then when it came out with the caution at the end, it was all about keeping if off the paint and just bringing it to the end.”

Hand and co-driver Scott Pruett finished second, followed by Fittipaldi and co-driver Joao Barbosa in the No. 5 entry. The result enabled the No. 5 team to continue to lead the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup Prototype standings after three of four races.

“We ran dry,” Hand said. “We couldn’t have done our last lap. We did as much as we could leading up to the yellow. So at that situation we decided to try and build a gap and they told me to build one as big as possible. But it was so bad with the water on the mirrors, you couldn’t see out the back. It was so weird in the wet, I really like the rain, when they said go for it, I could just go for it. When I woke up this morning, I thought, today’s the day. It was crazy and it was hectic, but that’s what I live for, that’s why I like to race.”

Prototype Challenge class

Starworks Motorsport won the Prototype Challenge class at The Glen

Renger van der Zande joined forces with Alex Popow and Mike Hedlund for the victory, as regular co-driver Mirco Schultis was unavailable. It was van der Zande’s fifth career TUDOR Championship victory and Popow’s ninth victory across TUDOR Championship, American Le Mans Series and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series competition. It was the first win for Hedlund.

“I knew we were strong in the wet, you could see that in the race,” van der Zande said. “We had a 30-second gap, up until the pit stop. We replaced a rear wing, because we had confidence we could get it back. (Team owner) Peter Baron is a master at tactics for the race. For the next race we are really sorted with the car. The speed is in there, we are on a roll and if nothing happens we can fight here for the championship.”

Mike Guasch, Tom Kimber-Smith and Andrew Palmer finished second in the No. 52 Cuttwood/Spyder ORECA FLM09 for PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports; followed by Martin Plowman, Daniel Burkett and Matt McMurry in the No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports ORECA FLM09. The PR1/Mathiasen team continues to lead the Patrón Endurance Cup standings heading to the season-ending Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda in October.

GT Le Mans

Team Falken Tire rolled the dice and came up a winner in Sunday’s rain-plagued Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, taking the checkered flag in the GT Le Mans class with virtually no fuel in the tank.

The No. 17 Porsche 911 RSR of Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers went to the lead at Watkins Glen International as the other contenders in the GTLM class pitted following a 14-minute red flag delay.

When racing resumed with one hour remaining, Henzler managed to keep the advantage while a competitive battle raged for second. Running low on fuel, Henzler was saved by a final caution with eight minutes, 40 seconds remaining that caused the race to finish under the yellow flag. That preserved the team’s first TUDOR Championship triumph of 2015, and also gave them the victory in the third round of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

“We were out of fuel at the end,” Sellers said. “We took a chance, staying out after everyone elected to pit following the red flag. I don’t think it was the rain that got us here today, it was all about our team’s execution.”

Said Henzler, “But we struggled a bit in the race, a bit behind the pace. It was kind of a gamble, we saved one pit stop and we tried to save fuel at the end. It was very tight. We didn’t know if we could make it. The 912 was close at the end. I was worried, but the last caution period made it less worrisome.”

Coming off an overall victory in the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans, Earl Bamber rebounded from a pair of spins to finish second in the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR co-driven by Joerg Bergmeister. Bamber passed Auberlen to take second following a final restart with 16 minutes remaining, and closed to within two seconds of Henzler at the final caution.

Auberlen and Dirk Werner took third in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL IHG Rewards Club BMW Z4 GTLM. It was the third consecutive podium finish, unofficially putting them into a tie for the GTLM points lead with Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, who finished fourth in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. Each team has 157 points.

GT Daytona

Running a second car in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup events, Riley Motorsports approached the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen as two races for the No. 93 ViperExchange.com Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R driven by Al Carter, Cameron Lawrence and Marc Goossens. They won both of them, backing up the team’s victory in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Andy Lally, John Potter and Marco Seefried finished second in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Flex-Box Porsche 911 GT America, giving Lally his third runner-up finish in the event in addition to three victories.

Christopher Haase, Dion von Moltke and Bryce Miller took third in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Castrol Edge Audi R8 LMS. That allowed Haase and von Moltke to extend their lead in the GTD standings to 10 points over Leh Keen and Cooper MacNeil, who finished fifth joined by Andrew Davis in the No. 22 Alex Job Racing WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America, 149-139. Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler are another point behind after placing fourth in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia.


| , RacinToday.com Monday, June 29 2015
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