Filipe Albuquerque revealed that he not only was in fuel save mode but also had to deal with a “wrecked” Acura ARX-05 following a collision with a GTD car in the closing stages of Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
Albuquerque and co-driver Ricky Taylor claimed their third IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory of the season, retaking the DPi points lead as a result of a frantic final 20 minutes of the race that saw the Portuguese ace make a daring move around the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura of Tom Blomqvist for the lead.
However, it was a coming together with the No. 42 NTE Sport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo of Marco Holzer with about seven laps to go that put Albuquerque’s drive to victory in doubt.
“You take decisions on where to go, especially in Turns 2 and 3,” Albuquerque explained. “I decided to go to the outside. I could see that he was not seeing me, this Lamborghini.
“If I would brake and go left, Tom [Blomqvist] was too close and he would have passed me.
“I just kept my foot down, closed one eye and braced for impact and really hit hard this rail in the car.
“It’s just decisions you take in this split second. It was tricky for me.”
Albuquerque said he initially wasn’t sure if his race was over because of the damage sustained.
“The car was very damaged,” he said. “I think Blomqvist was a bit shaken. He backed up. I was looking in the mirrors and the left mirror was gone. The car was bent.
“I just went full throttle to try to go to the Bus Stop and the car was going sideways.
“Then Brian [Pillar, WTR technical director] said you need to save fuel. I said, ‘I have bigger problems than that now!’
“I didn’t know if I could finish this race because the car was quite bent. The steering wheel was going to the left and turning was a bit funny.
“But somehow the car was still good afterwards.
“I was saving fuel and then at the end when he said I could go, I was so happy because I think going flat [out] I had a little better car because I had less fuel than him.
“It came out together perfectly. I think it was meant to be for us to win. I think they were a little bit better on the strategy but then we had a little bit of luck align on our side.”
Taylor said he was “so proud” watching his co-driver not only make the race-winning move but also keeping everything together in a chaotic closing laps.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy with a teammate,” he said. “I was so proud watching to see how hard he fought to make the move. It’s so much more difficult than the race start.
“He had to make the pass in the Bus Stop from the outside and then save fuel because the race got extended by 10 minutes. It was all so tight and all the stars had to align.
“And then the car being broken as well. From the outside, he was so cool and so calm. But it was so fun to watch him do his thing.
“It’s so exciting. The team is so pumped.”