Friday, January 18, 2019

Van der Zande Swipes Petit Win in Final Moments


After 10 hours of racing, the final seconds of the 443rd lap at Road Atlanta decided the winner of the concluding IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race of 2018 as one Cadillac DPi-V.R was traded for another in the lead.

Filipe Albuquerque ran the closing segment of the morning-to-night race in the overall lead in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi, carefully saving fuel along with his closest competitors.

As the minutes ticked off and a few cars surrendered their positions to receive splashes of fuel on pit lane, Albuquerque remained out front as the team daringly opted to conserve fuel.

Albuquerque took the white flag but victory for he and co-drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Tristan Vautier wasn’t assured. With the checkered flag just around the corner, Albuquerque turned from driver to passenger as the No. 5 Cadillac ran out of fuel, allowing Renger van der Zande and Wayne Taylor Racing’s Cadillac to pass by and steal the victory.

The triumph is shared between van der Zande, Jordan Taylor and endurance driver Ryan Hunter-Reay — who also won the season finale for the IndyCar Series — and comes after the No. 10 Cadillac began the race 11th.

Dramatically securing Wayne Taylor’s first win of the year, van der Zande won by a margin of 5.306 seconds over Oliver Jarvis in the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest car — not Albuquerque.

Instead of coasting across the start-finish line in second, Albuquerque dropped to fourth as Jarvis and Spencer Pigot in the second Mazda RT24-P assumed the final two podium positions.

Mazda DPi laps Road Atlanta during Petit Le Mans
Mazda Team Joest finished second and third with its Mazda RT24-P duo in their final competitive outing in 2018. | Photo: Jake Galstad / IMSA

Ricky Taylor brought the only Acura ARX-05 running at the end, the No. 7, home in fifth, 20.992 seconds behind Albuquerque and 30.450 seconds away from the victorious van der Zande.

The pole-sitting Nissan Onroak DPi took the checkered flag 45 seconds from the lead in sixth at the hands of Pipo Derani in the final race of Extreme Speed Motorsports’ partnership with Tequila Patron ESM.

After darting in and out of pit lane during the final minutes, Colin Braun finished seventh in the cockpit of CORE autosport’s No. 54 ORECA 07. With Felipe Nasr taking the checkers one position behind, Action Express leaves Road Atlanta as the Prototype champions with its No. 31 Whelen-backed machine.

The premier-class entries from AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports and Performance Tech Motorsports, along with the No. 6 Acura DPi, ended the day near the bottom of the overall results among 37 cars after mishaps including a heavy crash early on for Penske driver Juan Pablo Montoya.

Following the season finale in Georgia, the WeatherTech Championship will take a break for less than three months before returning to action at Daytona in January.

Aaron Durant
Aaron Durant
Aaron Durant leads The Apex as its editor-in-chief. When not bringing his racing journalism vision to life at The Apex, Durant enjoys snowboarding, playing the drums, reading and trudging through an endless queue of podcasts.


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