Mazda fastest, tempers flare in P2 at Laguna Seca

Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Mazda fastest, tempers flare in P2 at Laguna Seca

IMSA

Mazda fastest, tempers flare in P2 at Laguna Seca

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Oliver Jarvis was fastest in Saturday afternoon’s final IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice, turning the fastest lap of the day (1m15.692s) in the No. 77 Mazda Motorsports RT-24P moments before the checkered flag fell at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Temperatures had risen 32 degrees from the morning practice, and tempers flared at the beginning of the afternoon session with an incident involving the co-drivers of the two cars caught in a late-race fracas at the recent Motul Petit Le Mans.

Teams were setting off in the DPi session when Helio Castroneves, in the No. 7 Acura ARX-05, cut in front of Felipe Nasr, just getting up to speed in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R but unable to avoid in Turn 3. Both cars were damaged but were able to return to the pits.

Nasr headed back on track after 15 minutes in the pits for repairs, but then had to serve a drive-through penalty for improperly exiting the pits. Castroneves was assessed a stop-plus-60s penalty, and then pulled the Acura behind the wall for repairs after only three slow laps.

The incident comes on the heel of a contentious finish to the Petit Le Mans event: With 11 minutes remaining at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Ricky Taylor in the Acura made an optimistic dive to the inside of Pipo Derani in the race-leading Cadillac, taking both cars out of competition.

Saturday morning, Derani was fastest and Castroneves third in opening IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice in preparation for Sunday’s Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship. Nasr was only sixth fastest in the afternoon session after repairs to the Cadillac; the No. 7 Acura didn’t turn a quick lap.

With temperatures in the afternoon Practice 2 up from the 30s to the 70s, the track slowed dramatically, although Jarvis (photo above) was able to get in a quick lap during the final minute.

“We’re still not happy with the car, we’re struggling with some balance issues,” Jarvis said. “The car was quite good at the end, but there’s still a lot more to come. I don’t think our competitors all got the perfect lap. We’re delighted to be fastest, but it doesn’t mean much. Tomorrow is when it counts.”

Juan Pablo Montoya was second in the session, +.185s in the No. 6 Team Penske Acura ARX-05, followed by Jonathan Bomarito, +.345s in the No. 55 Multimatic-prepared Mazda RT-24P, and points leader Ryan Briscoe, +.450s in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R.

Jordan Taylor was fastest in GTLM, with a late lap of 1m22.279s in the No. 3 Corvette C8.R that had the fastest lap of the day at the hands of Antonio Garcia earlier in the day.

Connor De Phillippi was second, +.304s in the No. 25 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE, +.684s over the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Nick Tandy.

The No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 led GTD for the second-consecutive session, this time with Robby Foley at the wheel with a lap of 1m224.806s. Second was Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 30 Audi R8 LMS GT3, +.582s, followed by Aaron Telitz, +.638 in the No. 13 Lexus RC F GT3.

The session was red flagged with 21 minutes remaining to retrieve the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac of Matheus Leist, who went off in Turn 2 and sustained rear suspension damage. Practice resumed after a 13-minute delay.

Foley was fastest of the Pro-Am drivers in the restricted opening 15 minutes of the GT session, clocking a 1m24.806s in the Turner Motorsport BMW.

The No. 30 Team Hardpoint Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Pumpelly and Rob Ferriol participated in the session after failing to record a competitive lap this morning due to a broken drive shaft.

The lone entry in the LMP2 class – the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07-Gibson – did not participate in the session due to gearbox issues. The team can clinch the LMP2 title for Patrick Kelly by starting Sunday’s race.

RESULTS

UP NEXT: WeatherTech Championship qualifying begins at 8:30 a.m. PT, with 15-minute sessions for GTD, GTLM and DPi/LMP2. The two-hour, 40-minute race begins at 4:05 p.m. PT.

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