Fourth 2021 podium moves Veloster N TCR team back to the IMSA points’ lead
Bryan Herta Autosport Veloster N TCR drivers Michael Lewis and Taylor Hagler retook the lead of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge standings with their fourth podium of the season as the series completed back-to-back events at Watkins Glen International (July 1-2). The pair had to come from the rear of the class during the two-hour race after a minor issue in qualifying, and took full advantage of a short sprint to the chequered flag that remained after a late caution to take third position.
The podium trip put them at the head of the Hyundai customers in the race. Copeland Motorsports’ Mason Filippi and AJ Muss finished fourth ahead of Stephen Simpson and Michael Johnson. Parker Chase and Gabby Chaves – the latter returning to the team for a one-off drive – finished sixth as the best of the pair of the Hyundai-USA supported Elantra N TCR. The event had started strongly for the drivers of the newer design. In qualifying Harry Gottsacker gave the car its first IMSA pole in the #33 he shared with Mark Wilkins with Chase and Chaves’ #98 in third.
Gottsacker would lead the early laps before the #98 entry picked up to lead the Bryan Herta Autosport Elantra N TCR. However, their race was derailed through no fault of their own when Chase was forced to avoid a car released directly into his path in pitlane. The resulting delay to their driver change stop knocked them off the lead lap in class, keeping them from challenging for the major positions.
Overall podium from Iberian weekend
Gustavo Moura and Luis Cidade shared the former’s Elantra N TCR in the second round of the new-for-2021 Supercars Endurance series at Estoril (July 10-11). Moura took pole overall position for Race 2 of the weekend and Cidade – starting the race – led the first half of the event on before finishing second in class and third overall in the 45-minute challenge.