The #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette of Jordan Taylor led the way at the Sahlen’s 6 Hours of The Glen after three hours of racing.
A fast pit stop from the WTR crew brought Taylor out four seconds ahead of Joao Barbosa in the pole-sitting #5 Action Express Racing Corvette and Scott Pruett in the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford-Riley.
Heavy rain on Saturday forced the postponement of qualifying, meaning that the grid would be formed by the Tudor United Sportscar Championship standings.
Christian Fittipaldi (#5) maintained his pole position advantage by stretching out a 2.5 second lead on the opening lap, while Dane Cameron (#31 Action Express Corvette) managed to find a way past Richard Westbrook (#90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette) early on to take second place.
The gap between Fittipaldi and Cameron continued to fluctuate for several laps until Westbrook found a way past Cameron at the boot. By this time the lap-times of the leading cars had begun to tumble as a dry line started to emerge around the 3.4 mile Watkins Glen circuit.
Four safety car interventions for separate incidents interrupted the green flag running during the first three hours. The first two cautions were called for incidents between Prototype and Prototype Challenge machinery, while the third was for a stopped Mazda in the second hour. With 20 minutes to go before the halfway point, BMW Team RLL driver John Edwards brought out the fourth full course yellow following a heavy shunt at Turn Six. Edwards, who had been contesting the GTLM class lead with Nick Tandy in the #911 Porsche, was able to extricate himself from the terminally damaged car.
Action Express Racing controlled much of the race until the third full course caution, when a timely stop for the Chip Ganassi squad allowed Scott Pruett to take over the car and cycle through to the lead of the race. Pruett maintained his advantage throughout his first stint, while Max Angelelli battled to reduce the gap in the #10 machine.
Angelelli’s driver change near the end of the third hour allowed Jordan Taylor to emerge as the race leader, while the #5, #10 and #01 cars all remain in the hunt. All four of the leading DPs have been running similar strategies so far.
In GTLM, a frantic first few laps set the scene for a thrilling lead battle. Bill Auberlen (#25 BMW) spun early on and clipped the innocent #912 Porsche of Le Mans winner Earl Bamber, while Oliver Gavin also had an off-track moment in the early stages as he lost control of the #4 Corvette C7.R on slick tyres.
As the halfway mark approached it was Nick Tandy (#911 Porsche) leading the category by a second over Milner, with the #17 Falken Tires Porsche of Bryan Sellers in third. Tandy had led the class earlier on in his opening stint, although he was lucky to escape a penalty after making contact with a PC car in traffic.
Renger van der Zande currently leads the PC field in the Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09, while Martin Plowman is seven seconds adrift in the BAR1 entry.
Plowman’s team-mate Daniel Burkett had led the class earlier on in his first TUSCC outing. The single seater convert inherited the lead after Jerome Mee (#38 Performance Tech Motorsports) made heavy contact with the Turn Six wall in the second hour. Mee’s predecessor, occasional IndyCar campaigner Conor Daly, produced one of the most memorable opening stints in recent memory by opening up a 40 second lead in just five laps. However, the 23 year old’s work was undone as the damage incurred by Mee’s shunt was too extensive to keep the #38 car in contention.
While the PC class lead stagnated somewhat after Daly’s stint, the GTD battle has been fierce from the outset. Marc Goosens (#93 Viper) leads the field at halfway, just 0.8 seconds ahead of Townsend Bell in the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari. The class had initially been led by Christopher Haase in the Paul Miller Racing Audi, but his advantage was slashed by Madison Snow in the #58 Wright Motorsports Porsche. The Porsche squad opted to change to wet tyres before the race start in order to gain a pace advantage, and despite starting from the back of the grid Snow was able to carve his way to the head of the pack after half an hour. The #58 Porsche remains in the running, and currently lies fifth in class.
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