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Michelin Pilot Challenge

Rebel Rock Delivers First Win for Vantage GT4 Evo

Robin Liddell, Frank DePew lead Aston Martin 1-2 in Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Sebring…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Rebel Rock Racing delivered the first victory for the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 Evo by winning the second round of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season at Sebring International Raceway.

Robin Liddell, sharing the No. 71 car with Frank DePew, led a 1-2 for the British brand by finishing 1.817 seconds clear of the No. 19 Van der Steur Racing Aston Martin of Rory van der Steur and Valentin Hasse-Clot in Friday’s Alan Jay Automotive Network 120.

The Scottish racer sealed the race win by sweeping round the outside of Michael Cooper’s No. 44 Baby Bull Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS CS into Turn 1 with 34 minutes remaining.

Cooper had led after staying out during a round of stops under the race’s third Full Course Yellow, which was triggered after a collision between TCR leaders LP Montour and Taylor Hagler left debris on track.

The No. 44 Porsche, which itself had recovered after an earlier drive-through penalty for contact with the No. 66 CDR Valkyrie Toyota GR Supra GT4 Evo, led at the restart but soon came under pressure from both Liddell and Hasse-Clot.

The two Aston Martin drivers then completed a double pass at Turn 1 with just over half an hour left to go, with Liddell going around the outside to take the lead while Hasse-Clot moved up the inside and captured second place.

Cooper got back past Hasse-Clot to reclaim second, but saw a podium finish dashed when the No. 44 Porsche pulled off the track in the final minutes.

This allowed the No. 19 Aston Martin to move back up to second, while the No. 13 McCumbee McAleer Racing Ford Mustang GT4 of Jenson Altzman and Chad McCumbee was prom owed to third in class.

Matt Plumb and Paul Holton finished in fourth for Team TGM, taking advantage both a late puncture for RS1’s No. 28 Porsche as well as contact between Jeff Westphal and Michael de Quesada.

The two drivers were engaged in the battle for fifth when the No. 69 Motorsports In Action McLaren Artura GT4 lunged up the inside of Westphal’s No. 39 CarBahn Motorsports BMW M4 GT4 at Turn 3.

This resulted in contact that sent the BMW spinning round, while De Quesada was given a drive through penalty for the incident and finished in 13th.

Kenton Koch and Paul Sparta rounded out the overall top five aboard the No. 92 Random Vandals Racing BMW, ahead of the No. 96 Turner Motorsport machine of Robby Foley and Francis Selldorff.

JDC-Miller Takes Back-to-Back TCR Wins

In the TCR class, JDC-Miller Motorsports duo Mikey Taylor and Chris Miller captured their second win of the season aboard the No. 17 Audi RS 3 LMS TCR.

Taylor came home 3.271 seconds clear of the No. 80 Victor Gonzalez Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR of Morgan Burkhard and Chase Jones.

In the process, the No. 17 crew managed to extend their lead atop the TCR standings after already coming out on top in the BMW M Endurance Challenge at Daytona in January.

Miller started the race from second and traded the lead back and forth with Bryan Herta Autosport’s Harry Gottsacker in the early stages.

The No. 17 Audi then lost ground during the first round of stops under caution, but found itself back in contention when the No. 6 Montreal Motorsport Group Honda Civic FL5 TCR and the No. 77 BHA Hyundai took each other out battling for the lead.

Taylor then vaulted to the front during the proceeding stops under caution and was able to pull a gap as a fierce battle for the remaining podium spots raged behind.

Burkhard and Jones finished second, while Andy Lally secured a debut podium for the StarCom Racing squad with a late-race pass on Chad Gilsinger.

Lally and co-driver Nick Tucker finished third aboard the No. 12 Hyundai, while Gilsinger and Steve Eich came home in fourth aboard the No. 89 HART Honda.

Gottsacker and Robert Wickens completed the top five aboard the No. 33 Hyundai, while the No. 5 KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR was eliminated from the battle late on.

The Italian car, shared by Tim Lewis and William Tally, stopped on track in the closing moments and failed to finish.

RESULTS: Alan Jay Automotive Network 120

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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