Long Beach battleground!
Long Beach battleground!
It was a day of wildly fluctuating fortunes in the GTLM class today with contact, penalties, crashes and a wildly controversial finish which stopped the No.3 Corvette Racing squad from scoring its third consecutive victory of 2016.
BMW’s Bill Auberlen led off the start but soon reeled in by both Porsches. Oliver Gavin was the first to enter the pits after suffering a punctured tire but then the penalties started to fly.
Both Porsches were hit with pit lane speeding penalties and then the BMW of Auberlen received a drive-through for contact with the CORE autosport PC car.
Ford also had their share of troubles including a door that wouldn’t close properly on the No.66 car of Dirk Mueller. The second BMW of John Edwards also suffered heavy contact after losing a wheel.
At one stage late in the race it was looking like a Corvette Racing 1-2 but Antonio Garcia suffered a spin which put he and Jan Magnussen out of contention and Tommy Milner was forced to hold off the Porsches of Fred Makowiecki and Nick Tandy.
It came down to three laps to go when Makowiecki tried to dive underneath Milner and spun the race leader. Both cars were stuck on course as Nick Tandy snuck through into the lead.
Milner was eventually able to continue to grab second while the No.922 received a penalty but retired to the pit lane anyway.
The only car which seemed to have a trouble free race was the Risi Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander who finished third.
After the race, Milner was less than pleased with the race finish.
“It was fairly well under control until I had a wiggle apparently. But that wiggle was tiny. I just got wrecked basically,” Milner said.
“Two Porsches running nose to tail… it is pretty clear what happened there. It is pretty disappointing that is the kind of racing here where we are better than that for sure. At the end of the day, it could have been worse for us for sure. Second place is obviously great points. Oliver was unlucky there with the puncture (tire) and it was looking pretty bleak for us for a little bit there.
“But with the yellow, and we were at the right spot there at the end. But very difficult conditions there after the yellow flag I was locking fronts all over the place and then the tires came back and they were good. Then with three to go, just taken out.
“Disappointing but certainly could have been a lot worse. I don’t mind finishing second if it is clean and it is the right way, but that wasn’t the right way. It hurts a little bit to be second the way it happened, but again, end of the day second place is good points for us. We can hold our heads high that we raced as hard as we could today, the right way.”
The victory for Tandy made up for the fact he missed last year’s race while on FIA WEC duty at Spa-Francorchamps.
“It was probably the most eventful win we’ve had, coming from things going badly and very badly, to then coming back with a victory,” he said.
“We’re not sure why we got called speeding. It looks like it was driver error in the end. The middle of the race was very interesting, lots of traffic, but I think it helped us because we weren’t able to take our pace, so it forced us to look out after our tires.
“You know there wasn’t anything I could do, so I was just waiting on the 912 to make a move on the Corvette. Unfortunately the two cars collided and it’s unfortunate they collided and stopped, but it made up for the stuff that happened earlier in our race. It’s great to win on a street circuit, and a great win at Long Beach.”
Wow a crazy race today in Long Beach, & we won! Feels great to be back in victory circle with @PatrickPilet #Team911 pic.twitter.com/xvbtnuKPy7
— Nick Tandy (@NickTandyR) April 17, 2016
What can I say. P2 is good points. Nobody won there. Not the fans. Not anyone. Ready for Laguna! @CorvetteRacing
— Tommy Milner (@TommyMilner) April 17, 2016
Your #bubbagp #gtlm podium. @toni_vilander @OfficialFisico @FerrariRaces @ferrarihouston pic.twitter.com/oS81dRERvV
— Risi Competizione (@risicomp) April 17, 2016