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Michelin Pilot Challenge

Foley, Barletta Lead Turner BMW Sweep at Sebring

Turner Motorsport claims first win for G82-model BMW M4 GT4 in Thursday’s second round of season…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Robby Foley took the lead after a restart with a little more than 20 minutes remaining in the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 at Sebring International Raceway, and his No. 96 Turner Motorsport teammate Cameron Lawrence followed him home to complete a 1-2 finish overall and in GS class for Turner and the new G82-model BMW M4 GT4.

Vin Barletta ran the first 47 minutes of the two-hour contest in Turner’s No. 96 BMW before handing off to Foley in a green flag pit stop.

The timing of the stops worked well, because as other teams’ strategies played out during a series of full-course cautions, Foley found himself running second and in position to attack leader Christian Szymczak (No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4).

Foley passed Szymczak with 22 minutes left on the race clock, then held on through one final restart to win by 0.601 seconds over Turner’s No. 95 entry shared by Lawrence and Robert Megennis.

Robin Liddell rallied from seventh to third in the closing laps in the No. 71 Rebel Rock Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.

It was the first race win in Michelin Pilot Challenge action for the G82-generation of the BMW M4, and the second for Barletta, for whom Foley serves as a mentor and driving coach.

Barletta noted that he is benefitting from also competing for Turner in the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge, a series of sprint races for GT4 sedans and LMP3 prototypes. The VP Racing Challenge was in action at Sebring last weekend.

Late Pass Puts Lewis and Block Back in Victory Lane

The TCR class win went to Florida-based KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering.

Tim Lewis made his move to the lead in the No. 5 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR after several corners of intense side-by-side racing with Bryan Herta Autosport driver Robert Wickens – pulling ahead just before the race’s final full-course caution came out – with a little more than ten minutes remaining in the two-hour event.

Wickens had taken the race lead with about an hour remaining when his No. 33 BHA Hyundai pitted ahead of a caution period near the race’s midpoint.

While the rest of the TCR class came in for driver changes during that ensuing yellow, the No. 33 had already completed its service and driver change and assumed the lead.

Wickens held off Lewis and the 15-car TCR field by nearly a second at one point with Lewis fighting back and ultimately pulling up to challenge Wickens corner after corner as the caution flag came out.

Wickens said IMSA told the Bryan Herta team that the overtake “was in progress before the yellow” so that’s why Lewis was allowed to keep the position, ultimately taking a 1.671-second victory.

The No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Elantra N finished third with drivers Mark Wilkins and Mason Filippi.

Lewis said there was no question he had made the pass prior to the yellow flag, noting his team also called into race control during the caution period to verify his position out front.

RESULTS: Alan Jay Automotive Network 120

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