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Parker Chase and Harry Gottsacker avoid incidents to claim Mid-Ohio win

Parker Chase and Harry Gottsacker emerged victorious from the two-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Mid-Ohio, as pole-sitter Tiago Monteiro got caught up in a first lap mêlée which eliminated his Honda.

Monteiro, making a guest appearance for the event in the #37 LA Honda World Racing Civic, had put the car he was sharing with Mat Pombo on pole position for the fourth race of the season.

However, Monteiro’s race came undone at the very start when there was an incident in the GS-class cars ahead of him on the opening lap.

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It resulted in broken left-front suspension for the FIA WTCR ace, and he was out of the race on the spot.

The chaos allowed the #98 Hyundai Elantra of Chase to take the lead, having started from fifth on the grid, as cars darted left and right to avoid the dramas.

From there, Chase lead the opening 13 laps of the race before things heated up at the front. There were frequent changes of lead with the #99 VGMC Honda of Victor Gonzalez and the #19 Hyundai Veloster of Rory van der Steur, each driver managing to muscle in some time leading the pack.

Gonzalez stayed out longer than the Hyundais and so was leading the race with 32 laps to go, before he pulled in to hand over to co-driver Karl Wittmer. When the Canadian took the wheel, he emerged down in eighth.

That left Gottsacker leading the way, and thereafter the race calmed down, allowing the American to notch up his fifth win in the series, which he eventually claimed by a margin of 0.692 seconds over team-mates Michael Lewis and Taylor Hagler.

For Lewis and Hagler, it is their third second-place finish of the season, which means the duo still lead the drivers’ championship – despite yet to score a win – by a margin of 130 points over Van der Steur and co-driver Tyler Gonzalez.

The podium was completed by the Road Shagger Racing Audi of Gavin Ernstone and Jonathan Morley, who came through from 13th on the grid, but lacked the ultimate pace to take the fight to the leading Hyundais.

Van der Steur and Gonzalez were fourth in their Hyundai Veloster, whilst Wittmer managed to regain some ground lost in the pitstop phase to finish in fifth in the best Honda which he shared with Victor Gonzalez.

In what is only their second race in the series this year, due to clashing commitments, Mike LaMarra and Ryan Eversley were sixth in the sole finishing LA Honda World Civic Type-R.

Click here to view the complete TCR race result.

The next Michelin Pilot Challenge race takes place at Watkins Glen International on 23 – 26 June.

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