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van Overbeek converts pole in to Laguna TUSC win

Polesitter Johannes van Overbeek won the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Polesitter Johannes van Overbeek took his Extreme Speed Motorsports's HPD ARX-O3b to a hard-fought win in the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

After a neck and neck battle for the last fifteen minutes with runner-up Jordan Taylor in the No.10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP Chevrolet, van Overbeek took victory in the latest round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship by 5.833 seconds. “I'm trying to absorb it all, my first overall win. Thanks to [co-driver] Ed [Brown] for putting us where we needed to be,” van Overbeek said.

Team owner Brown added: “It was intimidating out there. I started having fun out there by the second lap.”

van Overbeek had to pass Taylor – who co-drove with brother Ricky – late in the race for the win, snatching the lead at Turn Four. Taylor said he was saving fuel, the only Prototype doing so, and struggled to get through debris in Turn Two: “I felt something on the tires and it kind of messed me up from turn two to three and that's where he got me.”

Behind that lead scrap, the podium was completed by Scott Pruett in the No.01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley DP Ford, co-driving with Memo Rojas.

The GT Le Mans class also saw a winner from pole but had plenty of drama which led to penalties. Pole sitter Antonio Garcia (No.3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R Chevrolet) took victory by 4.710 seconds ahead of Bill Auberlen (No.55 BMW RLL BMW Z4 GTE BMW). Auberlen was battling Nick Tandy in the No.911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR Porsche, and dove under Tandy in Turn Eleven on the last lap to grab runner-up.

However, after the race Tandy saw himself relegated to ninth in class after a stewards review in to an earlier incident, with IMSA Race Director Paul Walter saying: “We have an extensive review process, including bringing in team members from No.55 and No.911, reviewing video, etc. The No.911 was assessed a sixty-second penalty for on-track incident – which is not the same as avoidable contact, which gets a 55-second penalty.

“If the incident had happened earlier in the race, the penalty would have been assessed during the race. The penalty means Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer (No.62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia) move up to third finishing position.”

On the last lap incident which left Tandy unhappy, Walter added: “We had insufficient evidence to assess responsibility.”

by Lynne Huntting

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