WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) — Filipe Albuquerque gave Wayne Taylor Racing its third consecutive IMSA sports car victory by holding off rival Acura team Meyer Shank Racing in the six-hour endurance race Sunday at Watkins Glen International.
The race was red-flagged for an hour because of a lightning strike near the track and IMSA returned under a yellow flag with 35 minutes remaining. The green waved with 20 minutes to go and Albuquerque used an aggressive restart to snatch the lead from Tom Blomqvist of Shank.
The two were in a spirited battle until the final five minutes, when Sebastien Bourdais in a Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing made a run on Blomqvist. The two were battling for second on the final lap but Bourdais had to bail out on an attempted pass because of lapped traffic clogging the track ahead.
That race for position gave Albuquerque breathing room. Albuquerque had been trying to save fuel in the No. 10 Acura to get to the checkered flag, so the challenge Bourdais put on Blomqvist helped.
The Wayne Taylor team is in a tight championship battle with Shank in the DPi class and consecutive wins at Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio and now Watkins Glen has given Albuquerque and co-driver Ricky Taylor a 17-point lead in the standings.
Bourdais and Renger van der Zande completed the podium in their Cadillac, and were followed by the sister Ganassi car driven by Alex Lynn and Earl Bamber.
The Ally-backed Cadillac of Jimmie Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller and Kamui Kobayashi finished sixth. The car only runs the four endurance races on the IMSA schedule, and Johnson missed the Twelve Hours of Sebring because of an IndyCar conflict.
Defending class champion PR1 Mathiasen won the LMP2 class in part because of a late penalty on DragonSpeed, which was on its way to its third victory in five races this season. IMSA said Juan Pablo Montoya left the pit stall with equipment on a stop prior to the weather delay; he had turned the car over to his 17-year-old son, Sebastian, when the race resumed and Sebastian had to pit from the lead to serve the penalty.
His father was incensed and seen yelling at an IMSA official on pit road as Sebastian surrendered the lead. DragonSpeed, which won the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a different lineup and then at Mid-Ohio last month when Montoya drove the day after racing the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, fell to fifth.
The elder Montoya had recovered from a penalty in the final hour at Mid-Ohio to win the race, but his son didn’t have the same amount of time to make up the lost ground.
Scott Huffaker closed the LMP2 win for PR1 Mathiasen and teammate Ben Keating, who won the GTE Am at Le Mans two weeks ago.
The LMP3 class win went to Riley Motorsports with drivers Felipe Fraga, Gar Robinson and Kay van Berl.
BMW M Team RLL and Winward Racing were both stripped of their class victories in a post-race audit that found drive-time infractions. The disqualifications promoted The Heart of Racing to a double win in both GTD Pro and GTD class.
The penalties shuffled the finishing orders and put a GTD car ahead of the class-winning GTD Pro entry for the first time since the category was introduced this season.
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