Luhr & Graf Prevail At Laguna Seca
ESM’s No. 01 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b of Guy Cosmo and Scott Sharp finished third after two early stops to change flat tires, the last of which occurred while the car was leading.
“The overall mood of the team was really good,” Tucker said. “Things went really well at the start. We didn’t have a lot of issues. I was really pleased with the performance of both cars and with these guys. It was one of those weekends where things go well.”
PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports won for the second time in three races in Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire. Luis Diaz got around CORE autosport’s Colin Braun on the final restart in the No. 52 Molecule ORECA FLM09 he shared with Michael Guasch.
Braun took the lead near the two-hour, 15-minute mark and led until the restart in the No. 05 Composite Resources ORECA. Guasch led the PC portion in the event’s opening half but had a tense moment when he collided with a GT car near the end of his stint. The car continued undamaged, and Diaz drove the final two-and-a-half hours.
“Our pace was not a quick as Colin’s but I tried to drive really hard in traffic, keeping the pressure on,” Diaz said. “Finally on the restart he had the big mistake and we took the lead. Now we are stretching the lead for the championship and we’ll have time to work hard on the car until (the next round at) Lime Rock.”
Guasch won the opening ALMS round at Sebring with David Cheng and David Ostella. The PR1/Mathiasen entry also finished second in Long Beach last month and is off to its strongest start since joining the series in 2010.
“I knew we could do well here, but we just didn’t get the setup for qualifying,” Guasch said. “I tangled with a Ferrari in Turn 10, but we both got back in, and I brought it back in with the lead under yellow. And Luis did a great job keeping pressure on Colin, even under yellow.”
Tristan Nunez and Charlie Shears placed third in PC driving Performance Tech Motorsports’ No. 18 VisitFlorida.com/Ric Man/Signature MSAP entry.
Not long after Diaz made his winning move, Nick Tandy did the same Andy Lally near the halfway point of the final lap to win GT Challenge for NGT Motorsport in the No. 30 MOMO Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Tandy, who drove with Henrique Cisneros, was three seconds behind Lally at the restart. NGT won for the second race in a row.
“Today was tough,” Cisneros said. “It was one of those nail-biting races. The strategy was to get to the front, but things happen. We had a speeding violation in the pits from first, but we were able to get the car back up front. Then we got the final yellow, and Nick was not going to settle for second.”
Tandy got around a GT-class Corvette on the final green flag and moved directly behind Lally’s Dempsey Del Piero Racing No. 27 Tully’s Coffee Porsche. Tandy set up the winning pass using an on-coming prototype that forced Lally wide at Turn 4. The NGT Porsche followed for the victory.
“There were about 12 cars in about 12 feet between turns 3 and 4. It was really just a free-for-all,” Tandy said. “Andy is a top-class driver; he knows what he’s doing, but all those laps behind the safety car, I think he knew I’d be behind him. I just kind of stuck my nose in, and we went three-wide into Turn 4, with a GT and prototype car. I went in the middle and Andy had to back off a little. I managed to get the run on the exit. There was so much going on that lap, halfway through I came out in first and it was over from there.”
Lally was looking to give co-driver and team owner Patrick Dempsey his first major sports car race victory. Instead, it was Dempsey’s fourth career podium finish in professional series.
Alex Job Racing’s Cooper MacNeil and Jeroen Bleekemolen were third in the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche.