Riley Motorsports and the #33 Dodge Viper SRT took their first win of the season at the 2015 Continental Tire Road Race Showcase with drivers Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen.
With 20 minutes to go, Christina Nielsen and Kuno Wittmer‘s #007 TRG-AMR team pitted from the lead for fuel, thus handing the GT Daytona lead to Bleekemolen. The Aston Martin finished second, placing Christina Nielsen into the championship lead.
“What an incredible weekend,” says Nielsen. “We said going in that we needed a solid qualifying effort and no mistakes during the race — and that is exactly what we did. We are now in the points lead by a narrow margin with only three races left in the season.
“I know anything can happen so we are not going to celebrate too much as we have another big race coming up at VIR in two weeks, but this performance today reinforces that we have a legitimate shot to win the championship.”
The first 24 laps were led by polesitter Patrick Lindsey in the #73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche, but in the end he and co-driver Spencer Pumpelly only managed make the podium, but for the first time since Laguna Seca.
Just missing out on the podium were Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell, whose #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari finished fourth, ahead of John Potter and Andy Lally in the #44 Magnus Racing Porsche.
Christopher Haase and Dion von Moltke (#48 Paul Miller Racing) lost their championship lead following a sixth place finish.
“P6 is as good as we could we can hope for with the package we’ve got and the strategy we followed,” von Moltke said. “It was a tough day for both Chris and I as we both had to save fuel. Overall, it’s a shame that we couldn’t really attack, and even when we did, we were over a second off the pace of the leaders.”
In an important weekend for sponsors WeatherTech, Alex Job Racing failed to take home the results they wanted, with the #22 of Cooper MacNeil and Leh Keen finishing seventh ahead of Ian James and Mario Farnbacher‘s #23 Porsche.
The final car to finish was Compass360 Racing‘s #76 Audi of Ray Mason and Pierre Kleinubing.
The only caution of the race came out when Turner Motorsport had to retire their #97 car. Markus Palttala had returned to the paddock following his Spa 24 Hours entry that meant he was replaced by Dane Cameron for the Lime Rock Park round, when the Action Express driver and Michael Marsal took the victory.
“No doubt, it has been a difficult season for the (No.) 33 car.” said Ben Keating. “We had a good car the entire season, but it feels great to finally stand on the top step of the podium. We ran the exact strategy that we expected to run. The race kind of came to us being green until the end. If a yellow came out in the last hour, I think we would have come out third.”