The WeatherTech Racing duo of Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella were handed a gift of a GTD PRO victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Course de Monterey, while first-time winners Alan Metni and Kay van Berlo celebrated a hard-fought GTD and overall GT victory at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Metni started the No. 91 Kellymoss with Riley Porsche 911 GT3R ninth in GTD, but strategy and driving saw them marching forward. On the final restart, van Berlo was behind the No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage with Andy Lally at the wheel. Van Berlo trailed the Aston for a while, but finally found his opportunity.
“After all the strategies played out, everyone was on a different strategy, we had an idea where we were at,” said van Berlo. “I realized that we were P2 behind the No. 44 which was on old tires, but they were really good in straight line, so it wasn’t easy to pass them after the restart. And obviously the BMW behind me was pretty quick as well. So I have to defend for them at the same time. And then I had one opportunity coming out of Turn 11; I was able to pass. It was pretty tight into Turn 2 for the lead, but it worked out. Alan, this weekend, has been pretty quick, so that has certainly contributed to the success, and the Kellymoss Riley guys have given us a really quick car.”
Lally had pitted earlier than everyone else, and thus was in fuel-saving mode. He continued to move backward when first Bill Auberlen pushed the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BM M4 GT3 he shared with Chandler Hull past, and then Julien Andlauer took third in the No. 91 Kellymoss with Riley Porsche that Alec Udell had qualified on pole. Lally and John Potter ended up fourth.
Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers saw their winning streak come to an end at two as they finished ninth in GTD in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW. They maintain a 62-point lead over the Inception Racing McLaren squad of Brendan Iribe and Frederik Schandorff, who finished fifth.
The GTD PRO competitors generally shot themselves in the foot. First, Klaus Bachler drove the polesitting No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche out of the pits past the red light, incurring a stop-plus-60s penalty. Then both Antonio Garcia and Ross Gunn took a wave-around when they shouldn’t have and were hit with massive penalties for the No. 3 Corvette and the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin. That left Jules Gounon out front in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG started by Danial Juncadella.
“It was was quite a crazy race,” said Gounon. “At one point it looked like we were fighting for P5 in class, which is last position for us. And then suddenly we were in the lead, so I’m not sure we had the best pace today, but we just stayed out of trouble, did a great pit sequence and then we were there.”
Despite the penalty early in the race, Patrick Pilet was right behind Gounon in the latter stages, but couldn’t hand on. Ben Barnicoat got past Pilet in the end to put the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F into second and maintain the points lead for he and Jack Hawksworth.
This was another race that, due to the vagaries of the wave-around rules, the GTD PRO cars all ended up behind the GTD runners, leading to quite the scrum as they were racing each other, trying to move forward through the GTD field. The GTD PRO winners ended up eighth among the GT cars overall.