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IMSA: Long Beach – WTR takes third straight, Milner grabs GTLM victory

Ricky Taylor (#10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi) started on pole and kept the lead from the start. GTLM pole-sitter Jan Magnussen (#3 Corvette Racing C7.R), however, was part of a three-car pileup behind Ed Brown in the #22 Extreme Speed Motorsports Nissan DPi. Toni Vilander in the Risi Competitizione Ferrari and Joey Hand in one of the Ford GTs were also involved.

As the field circulated under caution with 1 hr 30 min remaining (of 1:40), Taylor led Tristan Nunez (#55 Mazda Racing DPi) and Christian Fittipaldi (#5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi). Laurens Vanthoor (#912 Porsche Team 911) led GTLM, followed by Bill Auberlen (#25 BMW Team RLL M6) and Oliver Gavin (#4 Corvette).

A second caution flew at the 1:20 mark to clear debris from the track. Racing restarted with 1:15 to go, Nunez briefly challenging Taylor for the lead. Fittipaldi got spun by a Riley Motorosports Mercedes GTD entry, losing his rear wing and ceding third to Tom Long in the second Mazda (#70). Caution was called.

Green-flag action resumed with 1 hr remaining. Vanthoor pitted from the GTLM lead with 55 min left, Kevin Estre taking over. Eric Curran (#31 Action Express) passed long for third overall. Two minutes after pitting, Estre was under attack from the #25 BMW, the Porsche emitting tire smoke from rear-fender body rub.

Caution No. 4 came out when Dirk Werner (#911 Porsche) spun Dirk Mueller (#66 Ford GT) in the hairpin. The Ford had difficulty straightening itself out on track and block a number of other competitors from multiple classes as it tried to get underway. Martin Tomczyk led GTLM in the #24 BMW, followed by Antonio Garcia (#3 Corvette) and Ryan Briscoe (#67 Ford).

All of the prototype leaders pitted under caution with 44 min to go. Jordan Taylor replaced Ricky in the #10, but got leap-frogged by Ryan Dalziel in the #2 ESM Nissan. Dane Cameron took over in the #31 and ran third when racing resumed 7 min later. Cameron passed Taylor on track for second in prototype with 34 min left.  

Taylor retook prototype P2 2 min later and Cameron hit the fence hard at the 31-min mark, bringing out the race’s fifth caution. The incident moved Stephen Simpson (#85 JDC Paul Miller Racing Oreca-Gibson) into third. Jonathan Bomarito took third in the #55 Mazda on the restart.

Taylor started pressuring Dalziel for the lead with 12:30 to go. Garcia, Tommy Milner (#4 Corvette), and Briscoe all passed Tomczyk in one move as the BMW slowed dramatically, to take 1-3 in GTLM. Taylor passed Dalziel in traffic for the lead with 5:30 left.  

Taylor, Dalziel, and Bomarito finished 1-2-3. In GTLM, however, a last-lap GTD pileup at the hairpin caught Garcia out, with Milner, Briscoe, and the rest of the field inching by the stationary #3 Corvette. Estre finished third in the #912 Porsche. 

Gunnar Jeanette and Cooper MacNiel won GTD in the #50 Riley Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3.

 

 

 

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