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Michelin Pilot Challenge

Heylen Sets Pace in Red Flag-Affected Opening Session

Wright Motorsports driver Jan Heylen quickest in opening practice for Pilot Challenge season finale…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Jan Heylen paced a twice red flag-affected opening practice session for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

A pair of stoppages interrupted the opening hour of running for the Pilot Challenge field due to incidents for different TCR cars near the start and end of the session.

New German Performance Audi driver Tristan Herbert went off into the gravel near the bottom of the Esses to bring out the first red flag after five minutes, while the other halt occurred when Van der Steur Racing’s Rory van der Steur went off at Turn 7.

Heylen posted the fastest overall lap time of 1:26.307 shortly before the 15-minute mark to put the Wright Motorsport Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport on top.

He remained at the head of the timing charts until the end of the session, with the previous fastest lap holder Bill Auberrlen settling for second on a 1:26.538 set behind the wheel of the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4.

Trent Hindman ran third in the VOLT Racing/Archangel Porsche, ahead of Scott Andrews aboard one of two Riley Motorsports Toyota GR Supra GT4s in the field.

KohR Motorsports’ Kyle Marcelli completed the top-five with the only major improvement of the session’s second half.

The driver of the No. 59 Ford Mustang GT4 rose from the depths of the GS order to fifth with a time of 1:26.646 which moved him above Owen Trinkler of Team TGM.

Bryan Herta Autosports Hyundai driver Mark Wilkins set the pace in the TCR category with a 1:28.201 effort that beat the second-best time from Copeland Motorsports’ Tyler Gonzalez by three-tenths of a second.

The second one-hour Pilot Challenge practice session takes place on Thursday at 10:40 ET.

RESULTS: Practice 1

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

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