It was a barnburner of a start for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, and a dramatic finish in the GTD class after a penalty was assessed to the Level 5 Motorsports’ No. 555 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 for what was deemed avoidable contact.
Markus Winkelhock, who benefited from the call in the class-winning No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8, explained his vantage point in the post-race press conference. Winkelhock was racing Alessandro Pier Guidi for the win.
“An incredible last lap,” said the German. “On the exit of the corner, (Pier Guidi) tried to push me in the grass, so it was not the way to win a race. (The call was a) fair decision and I’m absolutely happy being on the podium today.”
As for the other side, unsurprisingly, Level 5’s Townsend Bell took reaction to the decision.
“There was absolutely no contact. It was the last lap of the race,” Bell said. “This guy, Alessandro, he did an amazing job. He brought the Level 5 car home for the win. But I’m gutted for him and the entire team. I just don’t understand the logic.”
Some of the tweets that came into Bell’s Twitter feed from fans or racers voiced their opinion or displeasure.
@TownsendBell99 Hurts to see a call like that after 24h of HARD racing…
— Rising Star Racing (@RisingStarRcng) January 26, 2014
— jimmy vasser (@jimmyvasser) January 26, 2014
— Bobby Lauman (@Bobbylauman) January 26, 2014
— JR Means (@JRnIndy) January 26, 2014
@TownsendBell99 avoidable driving next to each other.
— Tony K. (@ALKCFA) January 26, 2014