Action Express Racing takes a 1-2 win at Road America
Action Express racing took a well-deserved 1-2 victory after a rather exciting race at Road America. The rolling start began with Joey Hand on pole position in Prototype class, which was followed by PC, GT and GTLM formations. All pole bearers started the race on leading positions in a clean start.
The battle in the GTLM class started immediately, namely between Antionio Garcia in the Corvette C7.R and Ferrari 458 driver Giancarlo Fisichella and John Edwards in the BMW Z4. Fisichella eventually overtook Garcia, and in GTD, Christina Nielsen and Ben Keating battled for second while Patrick Lindsey was running in the lead.
After a disappointing qualifying session, Patrick Pilet was making great progress and soon climbed up to fourth in his class. Pilet then continued on to battle Garcia and eventually overtook him after a long battle. In Prototype class, Michael Valiante went to the lead by overtaking Joey Hand and Ricky Taylor, making some contact in the process.
With 2:17 to go, Turner Motorsport driver Michael Marsal hit the tyres with his BMW Z4 and slid back to the track, causing a full course caution. Majority of cars and all the Prototype drivers had gone to the pits. Joey Hand was facing mechanical issues and had a longer stop.
In that moment, the overall leader was Prototype Challenge class driver James French who chose not to pit and was followed by his classmate Matt McMurray. Ricky Taylor, who won the pit race against Richard Westbrook was leading in the Prototype class and was the de facto leader of the race. With 2:02 to go, the race restarted again, with an immediate spin by Richard Westbrook which didn’t cause caution.
A three way battle for first spot had the crowd cheering, but it had no immediate results. With 1:42 to go, PC driver Chris Miller went off track in the start-finish straight, causing a local yellow. Christina Nielsen took the lead in GTD class in her 007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage. After the GTLM pit stops at around 1:23 to go, Earl Bamber lost seconds and was followed by Nick Tandy in the Porsche.
With 1:22 to go, the pits were occupied by Prototype cars and Dane Cameron took the lead in the race with ten seconds over Joao Barbosa. Meanwhile, there’s been a battle between a Corvette driven by Tommy Milner and the BMWs. In GTLM Class, Nick Tandy has slid off track and Giancarlo Fisichella took advantage of the opportunity, jumping up to second in his class. Tandy returned to the pits for a refuel and a switch with Patrick Pilet. With 1:09 to go, Christina Nielsen went from the lead into the pits and was switched with Kuno Wittmer.
With around 57 minutes to go, Wayne Taylor Racing’s car made an unscheduled pit stop for undefined issues which kept it out of the race. In the Prototype Challenge class, Oreca number 8 driven by Mirco Schultis had to finish the race early. With 46 minutes to go, Scott Pruett was attacking Ozz Negri in the battle for third overall. With 40 to go, Joao Barbosa pitted from the lead and managed to maintain the position upon exiting. With 34 minutes to go, Patrick Pilet got to the lead by overtaking Pierre Kaffer’s Ferrari which exited the pits after a quick refuel. With 20 minutes to go, Kuno Wittmer pitted and returned to the track as GTD class leader and in GTLM class, the battle between the Corvettes and BMWs continued.
In the final ten minutes, Pierre Kaffer managed to overtake the Porsche 911 driven by Jorg Bergmeister and return to second and Kuno Wittmer lost the lead to Jeroen Bleekemolen in GTD class. During the closing laps all eyes were on Kaffer and Bergmeister who battled their GTLM cars for second.
Action Express Racing won 1-2 as Dan Cameron crossed the finish line. In Prototype Challenge, it was an Oreca number 11 driven by Bruno Junqueira who finished first after the leader Conor Daly spun in the last lap. In the GTLM and GTD, the winners were Patrick Pilet and Bleekemolen. The battle between Kaffer and Bergmeister finished with a contact, causing Ferrari driver Kaffer to slide off track and lose the second to Porsche driver Bergmeister.