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IMSA: Road America – Action Express posts third straight 1-2, Corvette wins GTLM

Jonathan Bomarito (#55 Mazda Prototype) started on the pole and by the 2 hr 27 min mark of the 2:40 race had built a 3-sec lead on Christian Fittipaldi (#5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP) and Ricky Taylor (#10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP).

Dirk Mueller (#66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing GT) won the GT Le Mans pole but suffered damage early and fell back into the field. Patrick Pilet (#911 Porsche North America 911) led the class in the early running, followed by Giancarlo Fisichella (#62 Risi Competitzione Ferrari 488) and Pilet’s teammate Earl Bamber (#912).

Bamber and the #3 Corvette (Antonio Garcia) passed Fisichella coming out of a caution period with 2:14 to go, as the Ferrari ran wide in an early corner. Fisichella took the spot back 4 min later and passed Bamber for second at 2:10. He was pushing Pilet for the lead with 2:03 to go and made the pass shortly after the 2-hr mark.

The #5 moved to the front in the first pit-cycle, Joao Barbosa taking over, with the #55 (Tristan Nunez) falling to second, and the #31 Action Express entry (Dane Cameron) taking third. Fisichella pitted from the GTLM lead with 1:42 remaining. With the full cycle complete, Richard Westbrook (#67 Ford GT), Nick Tandy (#911), and Toni Vilander (#62) ran 1-3.

A Prototype Challenge car left the track and brought out a caution immediately after the GTLM field finished pitting. Most of the Prototype leaders came in under the caution to top off with fuel, some taking tires as well. The #55 remained on track to return to the lead. Green-flag racing resumed at 1:27.

The #55 pitted with 1:11 to, but was likely going to need one more stop without significant time spent under caution. The #10 moved into the lead followed by Cameron and Barbosa. The #10 did not make a tire change in the previous stop. Cameron passed him for the lead at 1:02.

Vilander took second in GTLM from Tandy with 48 min to go. Race officials were investigating the pass which included a good deal of contact between the two. Tandy pitted immediately afterwards. The #10 and #5 made their final stops from the front of the overall field at 43 min.

The #55 assumed the overall lead but still needed to pit one more time. Cameron ran second ahead of Barbosa and Taylor. Westbrook led Vilander and Tandy in GTLM. Nunez pitted the #55 with 36 min to go, taking just fuel but still falling through the field.

A full-course caution came out with 11 min to go following contact between two of the PC competitors. The green flag flew with 5 min left. Tandy spun trying to pass Vilander and Westbrook. Tommy Milner (#4 Corvette) rose to third. Milner took second with less than 2 min in the race and passed Westbrook for the lead during the final lap. John Edwards (#100 BMW Team RLL M6) finished third.  

Cameron beat Barbosa and Jordan Taylor for the overall victory. It was the third straight 1-2 finish for Action Express Racing.

 

 

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