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Jeremy Shaw

IMSA Laguna Seca: Wayne Taylor Racing Acura wins after fierce duel

The nimble Acura ARX-05 proved the class of the field on the Monterey circuit's fast, flowing contours, and there was just 1.080s separating the two machines after two hours and 40 minutes of flat-out racing - with the WTR pair claiming a first win of the year.

Taylor laid down the gauntlet in the very first practice session on Friday, eschewing the normal weekend strategy by simulating a qualifying run and comfortably topping the timing charts with a time that was faster than the qualifying lap record set last autumn by Albuquerque.

Taylor went faster again in the second session on Saturday morning, then blitzed the old standard in qualifying by more than a half-second to secure his series record-extending 14th pole position.

Jarvis qualified alongside on the front row, less than tenth of a second adrift, while fellow Englishman Alex Lynn benefited from major overnight improvements to Chip Ganassi’s #02 Cadillac DPi-V.R to take a close third, almost half a second clear of in-form team-mate Sebastien Bourdais.

After the Frenchman’s car was sidelined by electrical woes early in the race, Lynn ran third through the opening stint, albeit slipping more than 15 seconds adrift of race leader Taylor when the only full-course caution of the day precipitated the first round of pit stops after 25 laps.

Both Acuras teams elected to change drivers at the earliest opportunity, with Albuquerque resuming ahead of Blomqvist. Behind, an uncharacteristically slow stop from the Ganassi team caused Lynn to fall behind the similar Cadillacs of Tristan Vautier (JDC-Miller Motorsport) and Pipo Derani (Action Express Racing). The problem later was compounded when Lynn pushed too hard on his final in-lap before handing over to Earl Bamber and slid off the road at Turn 6.

The two leading Acuras were rarely split by more than a second during the final one hour and 50 minutes as they duelled for the win. Blomqvist grasped an advantage by undercutting Albuquerque on the next round of stops, then scything past on lap 61 as the Portuguese ace struggled to get his fresh Michelin tyres up to temperature.

Race winner #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 Acura DPi: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque (Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images)

But Albuquerque refused to be flustered and eventually regained the lead with an opportunist move amid heavy traffic six laps later at the famed Corkscrew. That proved to be the decisive move as he held on to take Acura’s fourth consecutive win at the track, WTR's victory putting the two Acura crews level on points atop the standings.

Derani and Tristan Nunez emerged as best of the out-classed Cadillacs in third, 26s adrift, ahead of Vautier and Westbrook in fourth.

Following the altercation with the tyres, Lynn and Bamber were the last of the Daytona Prototype international cars home, a lap down in fifth.

In LMP2, Louis Deletraz replaced Tower Motorsport’s John Farano at the earliest possible opportunity at the one-hour mark, a strategic decision that paid dividends as the Swiss ace claimed the team’s first LMP2 class win of the season over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel (Era Motorsport).

Just as the Acuras blitzed the opposition in DPi, so did the Porsches take control in GTD.

Mathieu Jaminet/Matt Campbell bounced back from a freakish incident at Long Beach, when their Pfaff Motorsports machine's radiator was punctured by a loose wheelnut from the rival Corvette, to score a 31 second GTD Pro victory.

The VasserSullivan Lexus of Englishmen Jack Hawksworth/Ben Barnicoat was a distant second ahead of the Team RLL BMW M4 of Connor De Phillippi and John Edwards, with the Corvette of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor just over a second off the podium in fourth.

#9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R: Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet (Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images)

GTD pole-winner Jan Heylen took over from Ryan Hardwick in the Wright Motorsports 911 GT3 R and mounted a late charge to take control after an all-BMW battle for GTD honours in the early stages between the Paul Miller Racing and Turner Motorsport teams.

Heylen passed Turner driver Bill Auberlen to win the class in the closing 10 minutes, while Jeff Westphal pipped Auberlen to second by 0.037s in the CarBahn with Peregrine Lamborghini Huracan.

IMSA Laguna Seca results - 117 laps

Cla Class Driver Chassis Gap
1 DPi United States Ricky Taylor
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Acura DPi  
2 DPi United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
Acura DPi 1.080
3 DPi Brazil Pipo Derani
United States Tristan Nunez
Cadillac DPi 26.744
4 DPi France Tristan Vautier
United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
Cadillac DPi 33.375
5 DPi New Zealand Earl Bamber
United Kingdom Alex Lynn
Cadillac DPi 1 Lap
6 LMP2 Canada John Farano
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
ORECA LMP2 07 3 Laps
7 LMP2 United States Dwight Merriman
United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
ORECA LMP2 07 3 Laps
8 LMP2 Sweden Henrik Hedman
Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
ORECA LMP2 07 4 Laps
9 LMP2 United States Josh Pierson
United States Patrick Kelly
ORECA LMP2 07 4 Laps
10 LMP2 United States Thomas Steven
United States Jonathan Bomarito
ORECA LMP2 07 4 Laps
11 LMP2 Denmark Dennis Andersen
Denmark Anders Fjordbach
ORECA LMP2 07 4 Laps
12 GTD PRO Australia Matt Campbell
France Mathieu Jaminet
Porsche 911 GT3 R 10 Laps
13 GTD PRO United Kingdom Jack Hawksworth
United Kingdom Ben Barnicoat
Lexus RC F GT3 10 Laps
14 GTD PRO United States Connor de Phillippi
United States John Edwards
BMW M4 GT3 10 Laps
15 GTD PRO Spain Antonio Garcia
United States Jordan Taylor
Corvette C8.R GTD 10 Laps
16 GTD United States Ryan Hardwick
Belgium Jan Heylen
Porsche 911 GT3 R 10 Laps
17 GTD United States Robert Megennis
United States Jeff Westphal
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 10 Laps
18 GTD United States Robby Foley
United States Bill Auberlen
BMW M4 GT3 10 Laps
19 GTD PRO United Kingdom Ross Gunn
Spain Alex Riberas
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 10 Laps
20 GTD United States Bryan Sellers
United States Madison Snow
BMW M4 GT3 10 Laps
21 GTD Germany Dirk Muller
United Kingdom Stevan McAleer
Mercedes-AMG GT3 10 Laps
22 GTD Marco Holzer
United States Jaden Conwright
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 10 Laps
23 GTD PRO United States Cooper MacNeil
Spain Daniel Juncadella
Mercedes-AMG GT3 10 Laps
24 GTD Canada Roman De Angelis
Belgium Maxime Martin
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 10 Laps
25 GTD United States Frankie Montecalvo
United States Aaron Telitz
Lexus RC F GT3 10 Laps
26 GTD United States Michael de Quesada
Canada Daniel Morad
Mercedes-AMG GT3 11 Laps
27 GTD United States Rob Ferriol
United Kingdom Katherine Legge
Porsche 911 GT3 R 11 Laps
28 GTD Kyle Washington
United States James Sofronas
Porsche 911 GT3 R 12 Laps
29 GTD United States Ryan Eversley
Australia Aidan Read
Acura NSX GT3 14 Laps
30 GTD United States Brendan Iribe
Switzerland Frederik Schandorff
McLaren 720S GT3 72 Laps
31 GTD United States Russell Ward
Switzerland Philip Ellis
Mercedes-AMG GT3 96 Laps
32 DPi Netherlands Renger van der Zande
France Sébastien Bourdais
Cadillac DPi 107 Laps
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