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Porsche Penske Motorsport takes third IMSA win of the season at Watkins Glen

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Porsche Penske Motorsport won its third IMSA race of the season at Watkins Glen, with the #7 car of Felipe Nasr and Dane Cameron winning a wild, rain-effected race to extend their championship lead.

Cameron and Nasr lead the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship by 93 points with three races to go, adding the rollercoaster Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen on Sunday to the season-opening 24 Hours of Daytona in their portfolio of victories.

Started by Nasr, the #7 had struggled to stay in contention after qualifying sixth and falling back after the first pitstops, which led the team to pit again to fill up with fuel to open up strategy options.

It meant for the first half of the race the #7 was often off strategy with rivals, until rain hit at the perfect time when the team had elected to stay on dry weather tyres as others switched to wets. Dane Cameron pulled off a masterful restart where he went from sixth to having a huge lead at the front of the field in a single lap.

After a red flag forced a restart inside the last 20 minutes, the #7 was in second and Nasr launched an overtake down the inside of Turn 1, a brave move that paid off for the crew which has only finished one of the six races this year off the podium, and that was a fourth.

The #6 also made late overtakes to move into a podium position, taking third which also moves it into the same position in the championship standings, as Porsche holds the manufacturers' and teams' championships.

The #6 car had led for a significant period with Nick Tandy behind the wheel only for a gamble to switch to wet tyres failing and that shuffled the team back, before another resurgence was halted for being stuck in their pitbox behind the #7 at the last stop.

Mathieu Jaminet and Tandy did well to boost the car from fifth on the grid to third regardless.

Story of the race

Having started the #6 in fifth place, Jaminet hovered around the top five for the first hour which included a brilliant overtaking move around the outside of Turn 7 after the second caution triggered pitstops.

Jaminet continued to move forward in the second stint and had jumped to a net podium place before a couple of issues for the #31 Cadillac, combined with a rapid second pitstop under green flag conditions, gave Jaminet’s car - now taken over by Nick Tandy - the lead.

Nasr started the #7 and took a second stop immediately after his first, while under caution, because he had dropped positions and it was only a small on-track loss to return and fill his fuel tank again.

That meant he ran his next stint longer than his rivals, but lost time while others had stopped earlier and taken the benefit of fresh tyres, so it was back to ninth for Dane Cameron taking over the car from Nasr.

Cameron stayed out under the caution on lap 67 - having done 14 laps - while the rest of the GTP field pitted, putting the #7 firmly on a different strategy, while the #6 dropped to third after losing a spot in the pits.

The #6 was soon back to second with heavy rain just before the halfway point, and was the first of the leaders to switch for wets.

A caution came out for a huge crash while the #6 was in the pits, meaning it kept second, and then jumped into the lead when the #7 pitted for fuel only and stayed on the dry-weather tyres.

On those tyres though, on the first lap after the caution Cameron went from sixth to first and built a massive 2.2-second lead in addition, stretching that to 6.5 seconds the next lap.

Tandy immediately pitted the lap after the restart knowing the wet tyres were not the tyre to be on, but incredibly heavy rain then struck mere laps later, and a caution followed with just over 2 hours 30 minutes to go, for a crash.

Tandy restarted in sixth but after settling into the stint, he overtook five cars in a handful of laps and then took the lead, which he lost in traffic but then regained, before the worst rain of the day sent cars tumbling like pinballs into the barriers, going off track even when moving slowly behind the safety car.

Sadly, during the pits, Tandy got stuck in his box behind the #7 and both cars fell back, to fifth and sixth respectively, before a red flag with 1h20m to go. The cars returned to the pit but the clock ticked down.

The Grand Touring Prototype cars pitted before the restart with the #7 jumping to second and the #6 to fourth.

After a car lost a wheel while IMSA was trying to get the race underway, it finally began with 16 minutes to go and Nasr wasted no time diving down the inside of the #40 Acura at Turn 1 to take the lead. Later in the lap, Jaminet made a pass on the same car at Turn 6 to take a podium spot.

Despite tricky conditions, both cars held on to match their feat at Laguna Seca of both finishing on the podium.

The #6 is now only 39 points behind second in the championship, and combined, the Porsche Penske Motorsport #7 team is the first to win two races in IMSA this year.

Customer racing

Phil Hanson, having qualified in fourth with the #85 JDC-Miller 963, was the early star of the race

He was up to third on the opening lap around the outside of Turn 8 with an incredible move, and then passed the #01 Cadillac for the lead with a brave pass at the bus stop before handing the car to Tijmen van der Helm.

Sadly van der Helm was swamped on the restart and fell down the order, although a great restart from the lap 67/148 caution put the car back to fourth.

With Richard Westbrook taking over, it fell to seventh under the wild wet conditions mid-way through, and later got a five-minute penalty for wiping out the Michelin tyre scanning system near pit exit.

The other customer Porsche, the #5 of Proton Competition, managed seventh overall in the hands of Gianmaria Bruni and Bent Viscaal - in his third IMSA start with the team.

The GTP cars will be back in action at Road America on August 4. Before that, the WEC teams will be in action at Interlagos on July 14.


In GTD Pro, the AO Racing car of Laurent Heinrich and Seb Priaulx - nicknamed Rexy for its dinosaur livery - had a tough race but maintained its IMSA class championship lead.

The #77 Porsche 911 GT3 R had struggled to move forward - like many cars - early on and was stuck around eighth in class, before a well-timed early stop - often pulled off perfectly by the championship leaders - promoted the pair into second in class before a caution on lap 62/139 cemented their place at the front of the field.

However, with rain hitting hard with just over three hours to go the team gambled to put on rain tyres, but the rain passed quickly and Priaulx was left near the back of the field.

With multiple cautions and cars in and out of the pits, and with Heinrich finally in the car, he was able to make some progress and picked off a number of cars to run fourth before the red flag with just over an hour and 20 minutes left.

Emerging in fourth with Priaulx back behind the wheel, two cases of catching traffic at inopportune moments cost it two spots, so the team finished sixth in the GTD Pro class. They lead the championship by 49 points, having won the last two IMSA races.

“At least we defended our lead in the championship," said Heinrich.

In the GTD class, the #120 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Wright Motorsport finished the race second in class, but was stripped of that position for not fulfilling IMSA's rules on the minimum amount of time for each driver and finished 21st.

“We put in an outstanding performance as a team, and I think I drove my best stint ever today," said Adam Adelson, who blamed the red flags for causing the penalty.

The #86 MDK Motorsports car finished 9th in GTD while the #43 Andretti Motorsports car was 11th in the same class.

The GT cars will be competing at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park on July 14.

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