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GRAND-AM 2013: Road Atlanta - Pruett wins once, Liddell twice

 

Qualifying for the Rolex Series race was rained out, with the field set by team points. Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett started at the front of the grid in the Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates No. 01 BMW/Riley, with Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney in the No. 99 Gainsco Corvette DP starting P2. The GT field was led by John Potter and Andy Lally in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche, followed by Jeff Westphal and Alessandro Balzan in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 and Emil Assantato with Anthony Lazzaro in the No. 69 Italian Grand-Am Ferrari 458.

Rojas got off to a great start from the DP pole, with Westphal  clipping Potter from behind at the GT start. The No. 59 Brumos Porsche driven by Andrew Davis moved into GT third. Fogarty followed Rojas with Jordan Taylor in third for DP.

Westphal passed Potter 4 min into the race, with Brumos moving up to P2 and John Edwards in the Stevenson Camaro to P3.   

A full course caution came out shortly after. The DP running order remained intact up front. Westphal, Davis and Edwards, remained 1-2-3 in GT as well, in what will be Brumos’ last race of the year due to economics. The team is going to take 2014 off and then see what it and Porsche can do together in 2015.

Taylor passed Fogarty with 2:12 to go for overall P2 as Rojas stretched his lead to 4 sec. The 01 pitted with 1:55 to go, changing drivers from Rojas to Pruett. J. Taylor stayed out and assumed the race lead in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing entry, with Fogarty second and Gustavo Yacaman moving up to third in the No. 6.

Taylor pitted at 1:51 after losing speed behind a GT pack, with Max Angelelli taking over as driver. Fogarty stayed behind the wheel when the 99 came in at 1:49. Westphal continued to lead GT followed by Davis and new driver Robin Liddell in the No. 57 Camaro.

At the 1:34 mark Pruett had cycled back to the race lead following completion of the first round of pit stops. With 1:14 to go Pruett still led Angelelli, with Joao Barabosa having moved up to the P3 in the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP. The 01 came in from the lead at 1:09, leaving the need to make one more stop before the end.

Angelelli came in with 1:07 left. Pedro Lamy drove the No. 3 DP into the No. 5 after the 5 failed to release safely. The collision effectively removed the Action Express machine from contention. Fogarty pitted at the 1:01 mark, with Alex Gurney taking over behind the wheel. The No. 9 Action Express car took the lead, piloted by Brian Frisselle, with the Ganassi and Wayne Taylor cars second and third.

Frisselle made his final stop with 53 min. left. Scott Pruett held an 11-sec lead over Angelelli, with Ryan Dalziel running another 9 sec back third in the No. 2 Starworks Corvette DP. At the 43-min mark, Liddell had taken the lead, chased by two of the Ferraris (No. 63 Balzan, and No. 61 Max Papis). Pruett and Angelelli both pitted, with the 01 retaining the lead.

Liddell pitted from the GT lead at 40-min to go. The No. 99 came in from the lead with 37 min to go, taking fuel only on what would be its last stop.  Leh Keen led GT in the Brumos Porsche but needed to make one more stop. With 18 min. left Pruett led Dalziel by 12.5 sec. with Gurney running third in the 99.

Liddell had reclaimed the GT lead with 8:30 left, followed by Balzan and Keen.

Pruett beat Dalziel to the finish by 17.781 sec. The No. 57 Camaro won GT, with the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche GT3 coming in second. The win by Liddell and Edwards was their second of the day, the duo having earlier driven Stevenson’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge car to victory in that race. Liddell and Edwards were the second GRAND-AM team to pull off two victories on the same weekend this season, Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana having done so in Turner Motorsports BMW M3s at Circuit of the Americas.

 

Posted in: Sports
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