Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia grab second podium finishes in four IMSA races

Richard Prince/Chevrolet photo
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Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia earned their second podium of the season in the GT Le Mans class in Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Magnussen and Garcia finished third in class in the 24 Hours of Daytona International Speedway, but then failed to finish the 12 Hours of Sebring. A fourth-place finish in the Grand Prix of Long Beach got them back in their groove and brought some momentum to the highly anticipated return to Mid-Ohio.

Starting fifth, Garcia had to deal with heavy traffic early. He gained one position on the opening lap and then settled into a race rhythm that maintained his position through the middle stages of the race and a driver change.

“The whole race went according to plan,” Garcia said. “(Qualifying) fifth wasn’t good enough to be up front and fight for the win, but we started to make up positions like we always do. We started to see that strategy was a key thing here.”

Starting fifth in the eight-car class limited their options, while putting the Porsche 911 of Earl Bamber/Laurens Vanthoor (who scored the class victory) and the BMW M8 of Connor De Phillippi/Alexander Sims (second) in a much more enviable position.

“That is what probably allowed the 25 BMW to go crazy on strategy and that is when they went ahead of us,” Garcia continued. “We learned from that, too. We are usually the ones doing crazy strategies like they did. It paid off for them. When you are in the lead pack, you need to do what we did. We got some good points over our competitors.”

(Richard Prince/Chevrolet photo)

With 27 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute race, Magnussen passed Joey Hand for the final spot on the podium.

“For how things developed, this is not a bad result,” Magnussen said. “Obviously we would like to have had the pace of the Porsche and BMW today but we kind of got in the middle of them, so only one of each got ahead. It was a good race… good strategy and good pit stops from the crew as usual. We had a good race car. It was all-around fun.

“I had really a fun battle with Joey (Hand). We got a little racy but it was good fun. Hopefully we get to have more good racing like that throughout the year.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III