Team RLL Z4s finish sixth and tenth in GTLM
Dane Cameron and Markus Palttala scored a convincing GTD class win in the Sahlen Six Hours of the Glen, taking the lead early and leading the class for most of the six hours of the race.
The BMW Team RLL Z4s qualified well; Andy Priaulx took the GTLM class pole in the #55 Z4 that he shared with Bill Auberlen, and Dirk Müller qualified third in the #56 Z4 that he shared with John Edwards. But the RLL Z4s were not able to match their qualifying pace in the race; the Corvettes and Vipers used their horsepower advantage to move to the front of the pack. In the end, the #3 Corvette driven by Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia won the class, with two Vipers rounding out the podium; they were #91 driven by Dominic Farnbacher, Marc Goosens, and Jon Bomarito, and #93 driven by Kuno Wittmer, Goosens, and Bomarito.
The #56 Z4 finished sixth, on the lead lap, while #55 finished tenth, a lap down. The car lost a lap because of three stops to repair punctured tires and a stop to serve a penalty for avoidable contact. Auberlen and Priaulx remain second in drivers’ points behind Magnussen and Garcia.
There were only two full-course yellows until the final 25 minutes of the race. At that point two cars went into the wall at the final turn, bringing out a yellow that lasted for fourteen minutes. With eleven minutes left the track went green, but it soon went back to yellow because of another two-car incident. That caution period set up a final one-lap shootout for the win. Cameron held on to finish just two seconds ahead of the Ferrari driven by Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler.
The overall win went to Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante in a Corvette DP. They had battled with the Morgan-Nissan P2 car driven by Gustavo Yacaman, Alex Brundle, and Ho-Pin Tung, taking the lead from them for the last time just before the final yellow came out.
Bill Auberlen said, “That was a weird and very challenging day and it makes it much, much worse when you have a great car, but a lot of bad things go against you. I can’t remember the last time the car was that good and felt so connected. However, nothing went our way. We just hope it is now behind us. We leave with second in the points, but at least we are still near the top.”
Tudor United Sports Car Championship competition resumes on July 13 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.—Brian S. Morgan