MONTEREY, Calif. — With a hard-charging performance on Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Alvaro Parente helped deliver another IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory for Meyer Shank Racing and bring co-driver Katherine Legge closer to a potential GT Daytona (GTD) championship.
Following the team’s final pit stop with 30 minutes remaining in the America’s Tire 250, Parente powered the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 from fourth position to the lead during the final 10 minutes of the race.
“When you’ve got a competitive car like that, such a competitive car, it makes it a lot easier,” said Parente. “I think we took the right risks on the setup. We were super quick. Kat putting it on pole and doing a perfect first stint. When I went out with the gap to the front guys and I was a bit worried, but I knew we could go faster…I managed to pass the guys in the front, they had their tires a little bit more used than mine. What a great weekend for everyone. I look forward to (Motul) Petit (Le Mans).”
While the victory marked Meyer Shank Racing’s 10th victory in IMSA – six WeatherTech Championship, four GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series – it also allowed Legge to make strides in the GTD championship hunt. Legge entered the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix weekend second place in the standings, 13 points behind Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers. She now sits just six marks back (303 – 297) heading into the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Oct. 13.
“He kept my championship hopes alive,” said Legge, whose Motul Pole Award on Saturday was the first of her IMSA career. “I think we deserved this one. We all went completely nuts on the timing stand. That was the difference between having a championship and not having a championship. Thanks AP. Six points. It’s still some work to do. But we’re still in it. It’s not over until the fat lady sings.”
Legge also dedicated the race victory to Sheena Monk, who is recovering at a local hospital following an accident in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America race on Saturday and whom Legge coaches.
Playing a fuel strategy game that ultimately paid off was the runner-up No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Patrick Lindsey and Joerg Bergmeister. The team – based in Bakersfield, California – has run a partial schedule in 2018 and while the car will be on the grid at the Motul Petit Le Mans, Lindsay and Bergmeister will not be behind the wheel due to a prior commitment. The team’s lineup will be announced in the coming weeks.
The last spot on the podium went to Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, who are also still in mathematical contention for the championship being 27 points back in third.
It was another GTD race highlighted by manufacturer diversity in the final results – Sellers and Snow finished fourth in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3; the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 GT3 of Andy Lally and John Potter finished fifth; the No. 51 Sqaudra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari 488 GT3 of Ozz Negri and Francesco Piovanetti wound up sixth; and the No. 15 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 of Jack Hawksworth and David Heinemeier Hansson finished seventh.
The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD championship will be decided at Road Atlanta during the Motul Petit Le Mans weekend on Oct. 13. The ten-hour season finale kicks off on FS1 at 10:30 a.m. ET.
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