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Continental Tire Lime Rock Post-Race Notebook

Ryan Myrehn’s Continental Tire post-race notebook from Watkins Glen…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

***Corvette Racing extended its lead in the GT Le Mans class championship with a fourth place run for Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in the Northeast Grand Prix. The duo now leads BMW Team RLL drivers Bill Auberlen and Alexander Sims by seven points with four rounds to go.

***Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner climbed to fifth in the standings with their breakthrough win in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR. The top five in the drivers’ championship in GTLM are separated by 17 points. Chevrolet, meanwhile, holds the top spot in the GTLM manufacturer’s championship by 14 tallies over Ford. BMW is three points further back in third, followed by Porsche and Ferrari.

***Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s bid to run the entire race on one pit stop came up less than five minutes short as Ryan Briscoe was forced to pit for fuel from third in the final laps. The strategy may have worked had the race not run caution-free, the first time an IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race ran without a yellow since the 2015 season.

***Joerg Bergmeister claimed his seventh Lime Rock class win out of nine attempts at the Connecticut bullring, taking Park Place Motorsports back to victory lane for the first time since Petit Le Mans 2015. Bergmeister’s most recent victory at Lime Rock up until Saturday came in 2012, alongside Patrick Long in a Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

***Dion von Moltke made a surprise appearance in the SunEnergy1 Mercedes-AMG GT3 on race day, replacing team owner Kenny Habul, who was under the weather. Von Moltke had been on site helping the team as a spotter this weekend. Von Moltke, who turned his first laps in the car during the race, previously drove a SunEnergy1-supported Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS in the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona, co-driving with Habul, Vautier and Boris Said.

“I didn’t wake up race day at Lime Rock thinking I’d be driving a Mercedes-AMG GT3, fighting to stay on the lead lap here,” Von Moltke told Sportscar365. “My first time ever driving the car was the recon lap and then we were racing. It was the first time I’ve ever had to do that in my life, but it was really fun.”

***It was a rough-and-tumble opening stint for the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 of Katherine Legge, who was forced to serve two drive-through penalties for deemed avoidable contact. Legge made contact with both the No. 16 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Corey Lewis and von Moltke’s No. 75 SunEnergy1 Mercedes, resulting in spins for both cars.

***Legge and co-driver Andy Lally recovered from early the penalties to finish fifth in class. The result unofficially moves Acura to within six points of the GTD Manufacturers’ Championship lead and both drivers to within six points of second in the Drivers’ Championship

***The No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, which was sporting “Tacos” graphics, was also in the penalty box after contact with the championship-contending No. 33 Riley Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Jeroen Bleekemolen, whose race ended with suspension failure linked to the contact.

***Bleekemolen and co-driver Ben Keating maintained their second place position but lost ground in the GTD title race as a result of the retirement. “He ran into the back of me twice, hit me in the left-rear,” Bleekemolen told FOX Sports. “It’s very disappointing because they mot only ruined our day today but it’s a big blow to our championship.”

***Alegra Motorsports’ third-place finish was the team’s first podium result since its class win in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Daniel Morad, who drove alongside Porsche factory ace Patrick Long this weekend, moved up the sixth in the tight GTD championship chase. Second through sixth in the standings are covered by just 19 points.

***The No. 007 TRG Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 of James Davison and Brandon Davis was en route to a fourth place class finish until the car stopped on track with less than ten minutes remaining. Davison briefly led the class during the final round of pit stops.

Continental Tire Challenge

***Bodymotion Racing drivers Trent Hindman and Cameron Cassels extended their lead in the GS championship from three to five points with a fifth-place finish from pole position in Saturday’s Lime Rock Park 120.

***The RS1 tandem of Dillon Machavern and Dylan Murcott jumped from fifth into a tie for second with their runner-up finish, pulling even with the C360R duo of Paul Holton and Matt Plumb. The top five in GS points are all within 12 points with four races remaining.

***Despite a challenging day and a tenth-place result, Murillo Racing’s Eric Foss and Jeff Mosing still hold a solid points lead in the ST class with second-place RS1 drivers Nick Galante and Spencer Pumpelly 21 points in arrears despite their fourth-place run at Lime Rock.

***Britt Casey Jr. and Matt Fassnacht overcame a pit lane penalty and late race contact to take home second-place in the No. 27 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5. The team was assessed a drive-through penalty for leaving the pits with equipment still attached to the car with just over an hour to go, and Casey managed to recover from his spin and contact with the No. 34 Murillo Racing MX-5 of Christian Szymczak in the final 15 minutes to secure a 1-2 for Freedom Autosport.

***It was an up-and-down day for the Motorsports In Action squad. Chris Green started the car and climbed to third before contact with the KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang dropped him back to 22nd overall. The team climbed back to third, only to have the engine drop a cylinder late in the race, ultimately finishing a hard-fought fourth.

***MIA once again loaned one of their McLaren 570S GT4 chassis to the C360R squad, and drivers Matt Keegan and Nico Rondet turned in a solid ninth-place performance. The arrangement was first struck at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park when a last-minute mechanical issue for the No. 77 C360R McLaren.

John Dagys contributed to this report

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is the lead announcer for SRO America's TV coverage as well as a pit reporter for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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