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Michelin Pilot Challenge

Cindric, Priaulx Win at Road Atlanta as CarBahn Clinches Title

Cindric, Priaulx take the Pilot Challenge win at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta…

Photo: Scott LePage/IMSA

Multimatic drivers Austin Cindric and Seb Priaulx claimed victory in Friday’s Fox Factory 120 as Jeff Westphal and Tyler McQuarrie clinched the Michelin Pilot Challenge title.

Cindric took the lead of the two-hour race with an overtake on Ben Waddell in the No. 99 first-generation Aston Martin Vantage GT4 during the final stint, and maintained his lead until the checkered flag in the No. 15 Ford Mustang GT4.

It marked Cindric’s first victory in the series since 2015, while 18-year-old Priaulx won on his first outing in North American competition.

Cindric crossed the line 3.2 seconds clear of Tom Long in the No. 09 Automatic Racing new-gen Aston Martin which Akhil Rabindra started from pole.

The Automatic Aston controlled the opening stint and was a regular fixture in the top-five until it slipped to the outer reaches of the top-10 following a slow final pit stop.

Long then made a brilliant recovery, overtaking multiple cars and taking second place with a move on Jesse Lazare’s Motorsports In Action McLaren 570S GT4 into Turn 1 with just over 15 minutes remaining.

However, the Aston Martin was stripped of its podium finish because Long fell 3 mins 53s short of the 40-minute minimum drive time requirement.

Lazare and his co-driver Corey Fergus were therefore classified in second after finishing third on the road, while the Team TGM Mercedes-AMG GT4 pairing of Owen Trinkler and Hugh Plumb picked up a podium result.

Trinkler started third on the grid and overtook Priaulx into Turn 1, before getting past Rabindra during the opening round of pit stops which were held under Full Course Yellow conditions.

Trinkler went on to lead through to the final round of stops, during which time he handed over to Plumb, who came out in third behind Cindric and race leader Waddell.

Automatic driver Waddell was put on an aggressive one-stop strategy and initially did well to hold off the chasing pack behind, but the first-gen Aston eventually faded to 21st overall.

Spencer Pumpelly and Rob Ferriol ended up fourth in the No. 18 Moorespeed Audi R8 LMS GT4, while Chris Green and Orey Fidani rounded out the top five in their AWA McLaren.

Paul Holton and Kuno Wittmer, who drove the Compass Racing McLaren, were classified in sixth position. 

In the championship stakes, Tyler McQuarrie and Jeff Westphal scooped the GS drivers’ title by merely rolling off the grid at the start of Friday’s race.

However, their Audi’s race was compromised by an early incident which resulted in the loss of 11 laps to the winning car.

While CarBahn clinched the drivers’ and teams’ titles, the manufacturers’ championship went the way of Mercedes-AMG, which beat Audi by 304 points to 299.

Wilkins, Lewis Win to Secure TCR Title

Bryan Herta Autosport drivers Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis were crowned champions in the TCR class after taking their third victory of the season in their No. 98 Hyundai Veloster N TCR.

The race was decided with 20 minutes to go when Wilkins overtook his teammate Mason Filippi into the Turn 10 complex to acquire the lead.

This settled the drivers’ championship with Wilkins setting off to take the checkered flag, but there was a catch as Filippi was also passed by Audi RS 3 LMS TCR driver Britt Casey Jr.

Casey Jr’s progression to second, which the JDC-Miller Motorsports racer held until the end, was enough to secure the TCR manufacturers’ title for Audi by a single point.

James Vance also got by Filippi in the closing stages to put a second Audi on the podium for the FastMD Racing team.

RESULTS: FOX Factory 120 (Provisional)

Story updated following the No. 09 Automatic Racing car’s penalty.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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