LAKEVILLE, Ct. – The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s lone Prototype Challenge/GT Daytona round of the season saw a pair of surprise winners.
PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports benefited from the demise of the two top PC cars to score its third win of the season, while Turner Motorsport parlayed a fuel strategy gamble to perfection to win its first race of 2015.
Polesitter Stephen Simpson dominated the first half of the race in the No. 85 JDC/Miller Motorsports entry, banking a 40-plus second gap on the 1.474-mile short track. But a fuel pressure issue forced the car to stop on track and Simpson was left stranded.
Shortly thereafter, new leader Conor Daly collided with GTD class-leading Christopher Haase on the run to the downhill, Turn 7, in a heavy accident that took both the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09 and No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS out of the race.
It left the lead to the No. 52 PR1 entry driven by Tom Kimber-Smith, who took over from Michael Guasch after a stellar first stint from him. “TKS” made a move on Lap 133 of the 173-lap, two-hour, 40-minute race to pass Bruno Junqueira for the lead, ultimately the win. Junqueira co-drove with Chris Cumming at RSR Racing, while Starworks Motorsport (Renger van der Zande, Mirco Schultis) completed the PC podium.
Turner’s pair of Michael Marsal and Dane Cameron managed to hold on for the GTD win, with Cameron running some 95 laps on a single fuel stint after its lone pit stop on Lap 67.
The No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R scored a season-best second-place finish (Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating driving) with the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 completing the class podium (Kuno Wittmer, Christina Nielsen).
The Prototype and GT Le Mans classes resume alongside PC and GTD at the series’ next round at Road America, August 9.
Valtteri Bottas nipped Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Silverstone qualifying Saturday to maintain the team’s hammerlock on F1 results this season while Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise in third.
Hulkenberg is filling in for Sergio Perez for the second consecutive race while the Racing Point driver recovers from coronavirus.
It’s the best F1 start since 2016 for Hulkenberg, who was left without a full-time ride after the 2019 season. He finished 20th at Silverstone last week when an engine problem on the grid prevented him ftaking the green.
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“The last seven to eight days have been crazy,” Hulkenberg said after qualifying. “This weekend I felt much better prepared. Q3 was just head down, full beans, and give it whatever I had.
“I’m a bit surprised to be standing here, but there’s a big smile on my face.”
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fourth and will be among the field trying to derail the Mercedes duo that has won the first four races of an F1 season delayed because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Feels good,” Bottas said after nipping Hamilton by a few hundredths of a second on his final lap for his 13th career pole position. ” I just love qualifying especially, when it goes well. Proud to drive this car. The race pace is there, so our first job is to get a good start off the line tomorrow and go from there.”
The impressive lap came two days after Bottas, who won the season opener in Austria, announced a one-year contract extension with the team.
Mercedes also is set to begin negotiating a new deal with Hamilton, who has won the past three races in F1 but was disappointed Saturday.
“Valtteri did a great job, but for me, it wasn’t a perfect last lap,” he said. “I don’t think many teams will be doing a one-stop race tomorrow so let’s wait and see how things turn out.”