Dodge Viper Wins In GTD As Bleekemolen Hangs On Despite Late Restart
Sunday, August 7, 2016

Jeroen Bleekemolen did not want to see a late-race restart Sunday at Road America, but found himself in that exact position in the closing stages of Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase. In the end, it didn’t matter for the driver of the No. 33 ViperExchange.com/Cruising with the Monkey Dodge Viper GT3-R, who despite admittedly making a mistake in five-minute sprint to the finish, beat the No. 73 Park Place Porsche 911 GT3 R of Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Lindsey to the stripe by 1.76 seconds

It was the second win of the season for Bleekemolen and co-driver Ben Keating, and closed their GT Daytona (GTD) points deficit to 21 points, 243-222, behind the series-leading No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE of Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan, who finished third.

“I didn’t like that last yellow,” said Bleekemolen. “I had Robin Liddell behind me, he was a little quicker. Then I got a break in the traffic and it was then that the yellow came out. It was like war out there; every class was fighting for position.”

Despite restarting second, Liddell and co-driver Andrew Davis wound up fifth following the closing laps in the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT3.

Andy Lally and John Potter finished fourth in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3. Entering the race second in GTD points, 13 points back, Lally and Potter enter the final three-race stretch still second in the standings, but now sit 15 points, 243-228, behind Scuderia Corsa and the duo of Nielsen and Balzan. 

NOTEBOOK

  • It was a rough day for the GT-class pole winners. Shortly after starting from the top spot in GTLM, Dirk Mueller reported a broken right-front suspension on the opening lap. He returned to the track five laps down in the No. 66 Ford GT and finished ninth. Meanwhile, the No. 23 Team Seattle / Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R of Alex Riberas and Mario Farnbacher led the race’s opening 22 laps in GTD, but a bid for a second win this season fell short following a penalty at the race’s halfway point. Farnbacher was penalized a stop, plus 60 seconds for running the red light and pit exit. He returned to the track 14th, two laps down, and ultimately finished 12th.
  • The GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes will be spotlighted in the next IMSA WeatherTech Championship race, the Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway on Sunday, August 28. The P and PC classes return to action in the Lone Star Le Mans at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas on Saturday, Sept. 17.

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