Saturday, July 20, 2019

Castroneves Paces Saturday Practice at Mid-Ohio

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A green flag after a day of rain at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course led to a slick, green track as Practice 3 began but, with times improving each lap, Helio Castroneves ended the 60-minute session with the fastest revolution of the 2.258-mile road course.

Looking to defend his Mid-Ohio victory with Ricky Taylor from a year ago, Castroneves’ 1:12.737 on his final lap bested teammate Dane Cameron’s last-lap effort by 0.826 seconds. These laps delivered a sweep of the third practice for the Acura ARX-05 at the brand’s namesake event.

The group of Cadillac DPi-V.Rs showed strength in numbers by locking out the third through fifth positions. Joao Barbosa led the group in Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Cadillac DPi ahead of his teammate Pipo Derani and JDC-Miller Motorsports driver Simon Trummer.

Mazda Team Joest’s Oliver Jarvis was sixth fastest but a full 2.170 seconds shy of Castroneves’ chart-topping lap. Colin Braun placed seventh for CORE autosport while Renger van der Zande, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Misha Goikhberg completed the top 10 of the 11-car class.

Notably, Hunter-Reay topped much of the session in the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P in a substitution role due to the unavailability of Harry Tincknell. The car fell down the order after the 2012 Indianapolis 500 winner was swapped out for regular driver Jonathan Bomarito.

Performance Tech Tops LMP2

With just two cars competing, possibilities are limited on the LMP2 results sheet. Continuing the weekend trend, the No. 38 ORECA 07 of Performance Tech Motorsports repeated its Practice 1 performance with the fastest lap in Practice 3.

The 1:16.586 by Kyle Masson denied PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports from claiming the top spot as it did in Friday’s second practice. With a 1:20.365, Matt McMurry was the team’s fastest driver but considerably off the pace of their only competitor.

Briscoe Fastest on Final Lap in GTLM

A jumbled order was the story for much of the hourlong practice for the eight-car group in GT Le Mans as lap times improved nearly every time the circuit was completed, including the final time for the No. 67 Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe.

Briscoe’s 1:20.100 wasn’t a runaway success, however, with the Porsche GT Team locking out the second- and third-fastest laps behind the speedy Ford. Laurens Vanthoor’s penultimate lap was just 0.038 seconds off Briscoe’s time while Patrick Pilet was a further 0.024 seconds back in the sister Porsche 911 RSR.

Jesse Krohn slotted the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE into the fourth position on his last lap, ahead of Oliver Gavin in the No. 3 Corvette Racing machine. Jan Magnussen, Connor de Phillippi and Sebastien Bourdais completed the order.

Hindman Puts Acura Out Front in GTD

Like GTLM, GT Daytona enjoyed a revolving door at the top of the class’ running order with Trend Hindman coming on strong late in the session to ensure Acura topped both GTD and DPi.

A 1:21.818 in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 placed Hindman first in class and 0.061 seconds quicker than Richard Heistand’s best effort in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 from the AIM Vasser Sullivan team, fielding the car that won last year’s Mid-Ohio event.

Lawson Aschenbach, Robby Foley and Zacharie Robichon made it five different manufacturers in the top five by adding Mercedes-AMG, BMW and Porsche cars to to the group.

Two red flags slowed the session, both brought out by the other Lexus. Townsend Bell went off course at Turn 2 early in the session, covering the car in mud and requiring assistance. Later, Bell’s co-driver Frankie Montecalvo had an off at Turn 12 but was able to continue.

All four classes will be back on track for qualifying beginning at 11:40 a.m. EDT Saturday, setting the grid for Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race.

Ben Hinc
Ben Hinchttp://www.benhinc.com
Ben's executive editor title is purposefully broad to encompass the bottomless list of roles he fills for The Apex, which includes webmaster, graphic designer, quality consultant and writer. Ben's technical background and progressive media distribution approach set The Apex apart technologically and philosophically.

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