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Michelin Pilot Challenge

Plumb Snatches Victory at Laguna Seca

Hugh Plumb, Owen Trinkler claim dramatic final lap win after leaders run out of gas…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Hugh Plumb claimed a last-gasp victory in Saturday’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca after the GS leaders ran out of fuel on the final lap.

The Team TGM driver managed to preserve a single tank of fuel for the last 1 hour and 15 minutes of the two-hour contest to clinch his and Owen Trinkler’s third win of the season.

Dillon Machavern led going into the final combination of corners until his No. 28 RS1 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR slowed coming out of the Corkscrew.

That presented Plumb, who was less than two seconds behind, with an open door to take a dramatic win, beating Scott Maxwell to the line by 0.333 seconds.

Maxwell’s No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 started the final lap in fourth position but moved up a spot when Christian Hohenadel’s second-placed Mercedes also ran out of fuel.

The Canadian driver, who shared driving duties with Ty Majeski, then progressed to second when Machavern lost drive.

Jeff Westphal was another beneficiary of the late commotion, with the CarBahn Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT4 driver moving up to the podium alongside co-pilot Tyler McQuarrie after carrying out a one-stop strategy. 

The early stages of the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 were controlled by pole-sitter Jesse Lazare, but he was eliminated from contention 35 minutes in when the left-rear wheel broke free from his McLaren 570S GT4.

That incident, which caused the race’s only Full Course Caution, promoted Machavern’s co-driver Spencer Pumpelly to the lead although the Porsche slipped down the order with a slow first stop.

McQuarrie inherited the lead during the pit call but was later overtaken by Majeski on the run down to the first corner, while the RS1 Porsche recovered through the field in the second hour.

Machaveren had reclaimed the lead by the final 20 minutes, but couldn’t make his closing tank of fuel last as he and Pumpelly ultimately slipped to seventh.

The result gives Plumb and Trinkler and substantial advantage heading into the season finale at Road Atlanta, with the TGM pair now 28 points ahead of nearest rivals Nate Stacy and Kyle Marcelli, who finished 10th.

Long, Casey Jr Take TCR Win

In TCR, Tom Long and Britt Casey Jr scored their fourth win of the season in the No. 77 Compass Racing Audi RS 3 LMS TCR.

Long took the class lead just after halfway with a measured pass on Kuno Wittmer’s Compass Audi heading into Turn 2.

He then drew out his lead when Wittmer lost ground following contact with an ST-class Mini, enabling Stephen Simpson to close in and take second in the No. 54 JDC-Miller Motorsports Audi.

Simpson crossed the line 11 seconds down on Long, while Kenton Koch and Tom O’Gorman completed the podium in their eEuroparts.com Racing Audi.

ST honors went to Nick Galante and Devin Jones, who shared the pole-sitting No. 81 BimmerWorld Racing BMW 328i.

Jones came out best in a close second half with the Mini Cooper JCW of Mark Pombo and Mike LaMarra, to claim the BMW squad’s fourth win of 2018.

RESULTS: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

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