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Corvettes Rule Lime Rock

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, July 23 2016
The Chevrolet Corvette Racing C7.R driven by Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner came up a winner at Lime Rock on Saturday.

The Chevrolet Corvette Racing C7.R driven by Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner came up a winner at Lime Rock on Saturday. (File photo)

RacinToday.com

Corvette Racing C7.Rs went 1-2 in the GT Le Mans class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Saturday at Lime Rock.

Getting the victory was the No. 4 Corvette which was driven by Tommy Milner and, in the final stint, Oliver Gavin.

The victory was No. 100 for the Corvette Racing program.

It was the third victory of the 2016 WeatherTech season for the co-drivers of the No. 4 Corvette and the first since back-to-back class victories in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

The victory enabled Milner and Gavin to extend their lead in the GTLM standings to 10 points, 228-218, over No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT co-drivers Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, who saw their three-race GTLM win streak come to an end with a third-place run.

“Brilliant job by the Corvette Racing team giving me a great car today and Tommy for driving a great first stint,” Gavin said. “Brilliant day all around. We extended our lead in the championship, so it’s all good. It’s amazing to get the 100th win today. I’ve been a part of the Corvette Racing team for a long time, and this team has done an amazing job throughout my career. I just have to thank them and my great teammates.”

“Racing here at Lime Rock is always tough with all the traffic,” Milner added. “Fortunately, it seemed like there was just enough separation between the three classes in certain spots to really allow some passing to happen. For sure, I was frustrated at some points, and others were frustrated as well, but we all seemed to manage to make it through. There were a couple of guys racing super hard. I knew the race was going to get that way.”

Finishing second was the No. 3 C7.R of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen.

Winning in the Prototype Challenge class was the No. 8 Starworks car driven by Renger van der Zande and Alex Powpow. It was the team’s third victory of the season.

“I’m very happy with the win, it’s another advantage for the championship,” said van der Zande, who joined Popow in winning for the third time in four races. “Lime Rock is a crazy place, because it’s a small track and you’re always wrestling your way through the traffic. It’s a fair fight here, because you can easily lose position coming through traffic. I love coming to Lime Rock, and I’m very happy with my team.”

Tom Kimber-Smith came up just 0.815 seconds short of repeating at Lime Rock in the No. 52 ORECA. Robert Alon led twice for extended periods during his double stint, losing the lead on a pair of pit stops. Kimber-Smith took over with one hour, four minutes remaining, and ran second behind van der Zande the rest of the way.

“I really got held up in a lot of traffic,” said Kimber-Smith, a resident of nearby Pleasant Valley, New York who scored his sixth podium finish of the season. “That gave Renger a gap. Then I was able to pull back from a 14-second deficit. But Renger had a good race, and he had a fast car. This year we seem to be quite quick, but just not reaching the top step of the podium enough.”

In GT Daytona, Andy Lally drove to victory with teammate John Potter in No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3.

Lally passed Jeroen Bleekemolen with 22 minutes remaining and went on to score his second GT Daytona class victory of the season

“That was one of the most fun but frustrating drives of my life,” said Lally, who led the final 20 laps. “You have to make picks and pass on the outside to make that work. Really, it’s so special because these guys worked so hard after the wreck at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. We talked about putting a special setup for Lime Rock to make this thing turn right. We planned for the end of the stint to be loose. We dialed like 80 degrees of wing into this thing and stuck a billboard on the back and it stuck, and that’s what let us come through with the win there.”

Robin Liddell took second in the No. 6 Audi LMS GT3 started by Andrew Davis, followed by Bleekemolen and Ben Keating in the No. 33 Dodge Viper GT3-R.

“I was leading, but I think we had the slowest car out there today,” Bleekemolen said. “It was difficult to hang on to. I got hit a few times, but we were still able to finish third. That’s an amazing job by the team, to get us this far up, and a great drive by Ben. Absolutely the maximum we could do.”

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, July 23 2016
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