It came close to a double Canadian win in the Michelin Pilot Challenge at Laguna Seca
THE 2-HOUR RACE CALLED FOR TIRE AND FUEL MANAGEMENT FOR SOME TEAMS AND IT CAME INTO PLAY AT THE END
Teams had to readjust their cars this morning before qualifying as not only the ambient temperature but more importantly the track temperature was much cooler than during Friday practice.
Tire strategy was to play a big role during the race as well as fuel in the GS class. And with only 2 short full course yellow, there was no breathing time on track.
In the early part of the race Compass Racing held on to second place with Paul Holton at the wheel and was even extending the gap with third behind. Then a wheel issue caused the #75 to come into the pits to fix it. This related the Compass Racing McLaren in last place of the GS class.
Jesse Lazare drove the first stint having qualified the car for MIA and was in the tick of the fight as was Kyle Marcelli’s teammate, Nate Stacey, in the KohR Motorpsort Mustang. Orey Fidani in the McLaren AWA Racing was also in the mix.
As the first yellow came out, a good majority of the leaders pitted to put fresh tires and fuel. This gave a chance to Compass Racing to make up some ground and have a chance at finishing high on the result sheet, even a podium might have been possible.
On the restart, as the cars were coming up to the infamous corkscrew Kuno Wittmer, now at the wheel of the Mclaren, was coming up the hill alongside a competitor when a third car joined the duo to the left of Kuno. The competitor to the right of Kuno, not seeing the third car turned the wheel left and this created a chain reaction and that ended Kuno Wittmer’s race.
All the while, the Hyundai Veloster N TCR of Mark Wilkins was keeping the pace and fighting for top spot. Third on the restart, Mark passed the sister car and started creeping up on the TCR leader.
Kyle Marcelli was enjoying a lead in GS until the late stages of the race. Having to make a late pitstop, Kyle crossed the finish line in sixth place. Motorsport In Action also fell behind and ended the race in ninth place. Unfortunately for AWA Racing they were not running at the end of the race.
In the GS class, the win went to Winward Racing / HTP Motorpsort Mercedes AMG of Ward/Bauman. Second place were CarBahn with Peregrine Racing audi R8 of McQuarrie/Westphal and third to Park Place Motorsport Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport of Brynjolfsson/Hindman.
In the TCR class, Mark Wilkins came 0.276s from taking the victory for the Bryan Herta Autosport / with CURB AGAJANIAN and teammate Michael Lewis. First place went to the Roadshagger Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR DSG of Ernstone/Morley and third to LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic TCR of O’Gorman/Blackstock.
As for James Vance, his Fast MD Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR DSG in eight place.
With this, Mark Wilkins/Michael Lewis are extending their lead in the TCR championship going into the last race of the season at Road Atlanta in October.
Image: Patrice Marchessault / PMstills Photography