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Three Takeaways from Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen

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Bad weather, title battle and non-stop action make for a weekend to remember

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John Oreovich

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Preliminary race results

Watkins Glen, New York – In golf, random and unpredictable outside interference is called “green rubbing”. The bottom line: if something happens that the competitor cannot control, he must grin and endure it.

BMW M Team RLL and Winward Racing must be feeling out of sorts after losing the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD PRO and GTD class wins respectively at Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen due to a driving time violation. These penalties were the indirect result of unpredictable outside interference – a brief storm that caused lightning in the area of ​​Watkins Glen International – which caused the race to be abandoned with just over 90 minutes left.

During the one-hour stoppage of the race, the six-hour clock of the race froze with 35 minutes remaining. And although the rules have not changed, they have been adapted to the circumstances. A minimum of one hour and 30 minutes of driving for each rider in every class other than Daytona Prototype International (DPi) for six hours of racing, adjusted to one hour and 17 minutes instead of what became five plus hours. This ruined a carefully crafted pit stop strategy for several teams that, under normal circumstances, would have complied with this requirement.

Unfortunately, inclement weather on Sunday put the two aforementioned teams, as well as the Andretti Autosport team, which crossed the finish line third in Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3), into a situation they could not overcome.

Call it the first takeaway from Watkins Glen weekends: sometimes they don’t end even after they’ve ended.

Here are two more:

The DPi battle heats up: Rampant emotions were palpable after the tough battle for DPi and overall honors in Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen between Ricky Taylor’s Acuras and Filipe Albuquerque (No. 10 Konica Minolta) and Tom Blomkvist and Oliver Jarvis (No. 60). Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian).

Blomkvist and Jarvis set the pace at every practice and claimed the Motul Pole Award with a record lap, but their white and pink Acura ARX-05 again failed to keep up with the same black and blue one put up by Wayne Taylor Racing.

When the race was restarted after an hour delay, Albuquerque snatched the lead from Blomkvist with an aggressive move in a Watkins Glen “inside loop” sequence similar to the one Bill Auberlen used on his way to winning the Tioga Downs Casino Resort 120 in the race. IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge the day before.

“I knew this was my only chance to overtake Blomkvist,” Albuquerque said. “I just pressed the gas pedal, we were side by side, and I just sent the car into a corner. He flew over the curb, but in the end it worked.

No. 60 won the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, but Blomkvist and Jarvis have since stalled with four consecutive second-place finishes. In three of these bridesmaids results, the No. 10 Acura finished on the top step of the podium. The disappointment of coming home second behind No. 10 again showed up at Watkins Glen.

“It’s just a tough road to the finish line, especially after we’ve been so strong all weekend,” Blomkvist said. “They had less wing than us so they were fast there and it just meant we were vulnerable to restarts. Fortunately, there is very little time left before the next race.”

The DPi Championship lead changed hands again at The Glen, from a 13-point lead for #60 to a 17-point lead for #10.

This is a single class championship that will run until the last lap of the Motul Petit Le Mans final season in October.

The action never stops: Sahlen’s Six Hours weekend featured five different IMSA sanctioned racing series spanning 15 classes of competition. From 9:00 Thursday to 17:00 Sunday there was non-stop action on the track.

And the races were exciting, thanks to a series of individual models featuring Mazda, Porsche and Lamborghini, the Michelin Pilot Challenge and, of course, the flagship WeatherTech championship.

It’s no surprise that almost every acre of Watkins Glen’s sprawling 3.4-mile stretch was packed with vacationers—racing fans who arrived before the first Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, who hit the track to ignite the action and party until Sunday. . night, reluctant to raise rates after a (mostly) sunny weekend.

While the Porsche Carrera Cup North America, represented by the Cayman Islands, and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series were iconic moments during the weekend, Saturday’s two-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge was the most memorable.
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Auberlain bolstered his status as an IMSA legend with a winning fifth-to-first charge in the last laps of the Grand Sport (GS) race, while Robert Wickens celebrated a milestone in his inspiring comeback from severe spinal cord injuries from co-driving. with Mark Wilkins to victory in the Touring Car (TCR) class.

After all this brilliance, the six-hour WeatherTech Championship race was just an added bonus.


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