WeatherTech Mercedes Wins GTD PRO on Namesake Track
May 14, 2023
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
MONTEREY, Calif. – Kay van Berlo used patience to his advantage Sunday.
Van Berlo caught and passed Andy Lally for the lead with 23 minutes remaining and went on to win the Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) class Sunday in the Motul Course de Monterey Powered by Hyundai N, the fourth race of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
With 45 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute race, van Berlo and the No. 91 Kellymoss with Riley Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) he co-drove with Alan Metni emerged from the pits behind Lally in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 he shared with John Potter.
Shortly after that, van Berlo passed Lally for the lead.
“With one hour to go, everything settled and I was like, ‘Oh, we’re in P2 and the car in front of us is on slightly older tires,’” van Berlo said. “I thought we could actually go and win here. … I was just waiting and waiting and waiting while defending the car behind me. I had one opportunity and went for it.”
Bill Auberlen eventually passed Lally to finish second in the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 he co-drove with Chandler Hull.
“We’re on a little bit of a roll,” Auberlen said. “The Porsches had us, but at least I could race somebody. I could get in there and get close. I wasn’t just getting dropped.”
The Kellymoss with Riley sister car, the pole-winning No. 92 Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) co-driven by Alec Udell and Julien Andlauer, rallied to finish third, securing a banner weekend for a team that expanded into the WeatherTech Championship this season from the Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America.
“It’s just amazing,” van Berlo said. “I’ve had probably the roughest three months of my racing career ever. Setback after setback above everything else. I said before the weekend, I would be happy with a podium at this stage, and then we saw we were quick.”
Lally and Potter wound up fourth in GTD, while Brendan Iribe and Frederik Schandorff completed the top five in the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 EVO. No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 co-drivers Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow saw their GTD class winning streak snapped at two but retain the lead in the WeatherTech Championship point standings. They have a 62-point advantage over Iribe and Schandorff.
Sunday’s race was also the second in the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup for GTD. By finishing eighth, Roman De Angelis, Marco Sorensen and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 pulled into a one-point lead over Sellers, Snow and the No. 1 Paul Miller BMW.
The season resumes June 25 with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International.
WeatherTech Mercedes Wins GTD PRO at WeatherTech Raceway
Jules Gounon took advantage of others’ missteps to claim victory in GTD PRO.
Gounon moved into first place with 37 minutes left when Ross Gunn in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R GTD were issued penalties of stop plus two minutes and 50 seconds for taking improper wave-bys during the race’s final full-course caution period.
The penalties pushed Gounon and the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 he co-drove with Daniel Juncadella into the lead.
“We knew we would have difficulty on pace this weekend,” Gounon said. “We know we were not the fastest car, so we focused on what we could control. It was not one fast lap, but the entire race.
“The WeatherTech and Proton (Competition) guys did a great job with strategy and car prep. I am proud of the team. We had a tough race at Long Beach and were able to come back and get the win today. I think we just drove and took the mistakes of our competition and were able to get the win.”
Ben Barnicoat held on for second place with co-driver Jack Hawksworth, keeping the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 atop the GTD PRO standings with its 14th consecutive podium finish. The No. 79 Mercedes teammates are second, 41 points behind the leaders.
The pole-winning No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) co-driven by Klaus Bachler and Patrick Pilet rallied from an early penalty to finish third.
Categories: IMSA WeatherTech Championship, Race Recap
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