2016 Petit Le Mans – Hours 6-12 Update: Michael Shank Racing wins

by James Thompson

The Michael Shank Racing Ligier-Honda of Ozz Negri, Olivier Pla and John Pew dominated the closing hours of the 19th Petit Le Mans to claim a well deserved race win.

The #60 had comfortably lead 230 of the 412 laps but in the final 15 minutes, Pla was forced to hold off a charging Pipo Derani in  the Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier-Honda to ensure victory went the way of pole-sitting team. In the end, the margin of victory was 3.5 seconds after 10 hours of racing.

Wayne Taylor Racing’s Jordan and Ricky Taylor, and Max Angelelli, managed to round out the podium in their Corvette DP after a low starting position because of a penalty after qualifying.

Jordan Taylor managed to overtake the #31 Action Express Racing Whelen Corvette DP of Dane Cameron and Eric Curran in the final laps to squeeze themselves onto the last step of the podium.

However, fourth place secured the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship title for Dane Cameron and Eric Curran.

It was a fitting finale for Daytona Prototypes final race before their replacement with LMP Prototypes.

The #70 Mazda of Joel Miller, Tom Long and Spencer Pigot was right in the lead battle until its last pit stop with less than 15 minutes to go. A failed fuel injector caused the car to set alight, losing a well deserved third place.

The reigning champions in the #5 Corvette DP of Christian Fittpaldi and Joao Barbosa were Michael Shank’s main competitors at the six hour mark, but several problems left them fifth by the end.

A drive through penalty for blocking was then followed by a puncture following contact with their teammate the #31 car, meaning the reigning champions finished fifth.

Yet sixth place at the eight-hour mark was enough for the team to clinch their third consecutive Patrón Endurance Cup.

Risi & Fisi Dominate GTLM

In GTLM the Risi Competizione Ferrari sqaud claimed a first GT Le Mans class victory with Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and team newcomer James Calado.

Their Ferrari 488 GTE dominated throughout and finished just over 15s ahead of the Ford Chip Ganassi Ford GT shared by Joey Hand, Dirk Muller and Sebastien Bourdais.

Third place was enough for the Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner to clinch their fist GTLM championship.

Prototype Challenge championship goes down to count back

In Prototype Challenge, Tom Kimber-Smith, Robert Alon and Jose Gutierrez continued their dominant performance in Georgia, leading all but 65 of the 404 laps.

The result tied the PR1/Mathiasen squad with Starworks Motorsport drivers Renger van der Zande and Alex Popow, who were classified sixth together with David Heinemeier Hansson, at the top of the PC championship.

However, Starworks clinched the title on countback due to their greater number of victories.

Officialdom decides GTD result

There was last minute drama in GT Daytona as Andy Lally in the Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS took the lead on the penultimate lap from Jeroen Bleekemolen’s Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper.

However, a drive-time violation for Lally’s teammate John Potter, gave the win to Bleekemolen and team-mates Ben Keating and Marc Miller.

The result was a fitting sendoff for the Viper in it’s final race.

Patrick Lindsey, Joerg Bergmeister and Matt McMurry finished second in the #73 Park Place Porsche Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Third place was enough for Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan to secure the GTD title in their Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488.

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