IMSA: Disappointment at Elkhart Lake
Round eight of the IMSA SportsCar Championship took place at Elkhart Lake. Qualifying didn’t exactly go to plan for Porsche with its 911 RSRs lining-up in fourth and eighth places. However, in what is becoming the story of the season, Briton Nick Tandy put in a storming drive early into the race to move the No911 machine he shares with Patrick Pilet from eighth on the rid into the lead of the GTLM field.
In the sister No912 RSR, Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor started from fourth on the grid, but fell back to eighth place. A number of caution periods didn’t stop the driver pairing working their way up through the GTLM ranks, but they ultimately missed out on a podium finish.
The No911 Porsche stayed at the front of the pack until one hour before the finish. After a close battle with a pursuing competitor, the No911 RSR was handed a drive-through penalty, meaning that at the end of the 2:40-hour race, Tandy crossed the finish line in fifth one place behind the sister No912 911. In the GTD class, Porsche works driver Patrick Long and Porsche Selected Driver Christina Nielsen from Denmark celebrated their first win together in the 911 GT3 R.
Pascal Zurlinden, Director GT Factory Motorsport, said: “That was a tough race for the team. We knew that the track characteristics with its long straights would make it difficult for us here. We really struggled in the qualifying, but we made up for this in the race with a perfect strategy and optimal pit stops for our #911 car. But then we were handed a drive-through penalty and we went backwards from that point on. In two weeks we’ll be in Virginia, where we’ll attack again.”
Nick Tandy said: “In terms of strategy we were very well sorted. And everything else worked perfectly. I was just a little surprised by the penalty from the race director. Of course you have to accept such a drive-through penalty, which is what we did, but it meant we had to bury our dreams of a top podium finish.”
Round nine of IMSA SportsCar Championship takes place at Virginia Raceway from 17-19 August.