Connect with us

WeatherTech Championship

Juncadella Slams “Shocking” GTD Pro Driving Standards

Daniel Juncadella, Jack Hawksworth, Mirko Bortolotti react to fierce battle for GTD Pro podium in Sebring…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Daniel Juncadella criticized the standards of racing in the GTD Pro podium battle in the closing stages of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Cadillac after the Spaniard was taken out in the fight for third.

The No. 3 Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R, which Juncadella shared with Alexander Sims and Antonio Garcia, was classified tenth in the GTD Pro category after late-race contact with the No. 77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Juncadella and AO driver Laurin Heinrich came to blows battling for third place in the closing minutes, which resulted in a drive-through penalty for the German that dropped him to ninth.

Speaking post-race, Juncadella was vocally critical of the driving standards in the battle, which also included the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 of Jack Hawksworth and Daniel Serra’s No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3.

I just got fully rear-ended braking into turn three,” Juncadella told Sportscar365.

“I was just braking on the inside because I was defending from the Porsche. He was just right behind me and he just decided to, I don’t know.

“I haven’t spoken to him either, so… The driving standards at the end of the race [were] shocking.

“Seems like it gets dark, there’s not enough footage from all the cars so people just decide it’s time to go elbows out.

“I like racing and fighting but I like hard and fair racing.”

Juncadella also took aim at Hawksworth after the pair made contact in the battle for second place shortly after the race’s final restart.

The No. 3 Corvette initially overtook the Lexus before Hawksworth reclaimed the position in a move which Juncadella says caused aero damage to his car.

“The No. 14 fully dive-bombed me when I was in second behind Serra,” he said. “The full right side was off and all the dive planes on the right were broken.

“That’s why towards the end when I was behind him with two, three laps to go I lost a lot of pace because the front was not there anymore.

“I was trying to defend from Serra and the Porsche and then at some point they just decided to just drive me off.

“A bit disappointing because I would have rather finished on the podium. Still, a really good experience with the Corvette.”

After passing Juncadella, Hawksworth went on to charge past Serra’s No. 62 Ferrari at Turn 1 before taking Vasser Sullivan’s first win of the season.

When asked about the physical nature of the battle in the post-race press conference, Hawksworth commented that he did not believe any lines were crossed on track.

“It is what it is,” he said. “It’s hard racing at the end of the race. You’re racing for the Sebring 12 Hours and at the end of the day, we’re here to win.

“I don’t think it was anything which was beyond the line, if that makes sense. It was all rough, hard racing.

“I got roughed about a bit and lost positions and then other times, I won positions.

“This is IMSA racing. It’s hard fought. Rubbing is racing, right?  This is what we do over here and we came out on top.”

The contact between Juncadella and Heinrich and the subsequent penalty for AO Racing left the No. 19 Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 of Mirko Bortolotti, Jordan Pepper and Franck Perera clear to claim the final step of the GTD Pro podium.

Bortolotti, who was in the car for the final stint, explained that he was expecting an incident to take place in the closing stages, given how aggressive the racing was.

“To be honest, I had zero chance, but I know the guys in front of me, especially the guy in the Porsche,” he told Sportscar365.

“I saw how he was driving the whole race, and so I just tried to put him a little bit under pressure, and I expected what happened.

“I saw it coming, so for me, having no chance to really fight them on track, the only thing I could do is sit there, put him under pressure, and wait for the mistake. That’s what happened.

“The restarts are honestly mayhem. They are really wild, really wild.

“Everybody is going for it in the last restarts like it’s the final lap of the world championship. 

“So there is huge potential for crashes, contacts, debris and further yellows.”

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.

Click to comment

More in WeatherTech Championship