Jeroen Bleekemolen survived late-race attacks by Joerg Bergmeister and Alessandro Balzan to win the GT Daytona battle in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Belle Isle for Riley Motorsports and with co-driver Ben Keating.
After a hectic first half, Bleekemolen assumed the lead halfway through the 100-minute race, the only street course that the GTD field visits on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar.
He remained out front in his No. 33 Dodge Viper GT3-R, but had to defend from Bergmeister and Balzan until the end.
Bleekemolen finished 2.489 seconds ahead of Bergmeister’s Park Place Motorsports-run Porsche 911 GT3 R, and the Dutchman set the class’ fastest lap of the race on his penultimate circuit, a 1:30.626.
Bergmeister and Patrick Lindsey hit problems in the pit lane with a refueling delay costing the team valuable seconds, but nonetheless the No. 73 Porsche came through to finish second, aided by multiple caution periods.
Alessandro Balzan would go on to bring the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 home in third, the car he shared with Christina Nielsen.
Bryan Sellers had led the race from the pole position, but the Paul Miller Racing driver lost the lead at the first restart. He and Madison Snow could only continue to finish eighth in class, in their Lamborghini Huracán GT3.
Fourth went to the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche of Alex Riberas and Mario Farnbacher, while Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell brought the best of the Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS entries to fifth.
Corey Lewis and Spencer Pumpelly secured sixth in the only Change Racing Lamborghini present this weekend. Next to finish was the second Alex Job Porsche of Leh Keen and Cooper MacNeil, in seventh.
Matt Bell hit troubles in his No. 6 Audi quite early on in the race, and was the only one of the GTD runner to finish out of the main pack.
RESULTS: Chevrolet Sports Car Classic