Roy block and Tim Lewis Jr claimed their second IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge victory of the season at Laguna Seca, as they put in a late charge to be in a position to benefit from a rival’s penalty.
Block and Lewis had qualified their KMW Motorsports Alfa Romeo in third on the grid earlier in the day, and put in a solid drive to be in a position to pounce late in the race, having not led until the final laps.
Pole position had gone to the Bryan Herta Hyundai Harry Gottsacker (sharing with Parker Chase), but at the start of the race it was the second-place starting Chris Miller who leapt into the lead for the first 17 laps.
The #17 Audi of Miller, later taken over by Mikey Taylor, then ran in second for much of the race until it suffered from a loss of drive with 20 minutes to go, leaving them classified last in the ranking.
That too promoted the KMW Alfa Romeo, now being driven by Lewis late in the race, into second, which then became first when the leading Audi RS3 of Jonathan Morley made contact with the lapped car of Ryan Norman at Turn 2 with eight minutes to go and resulted in the #61 Road shagger Racing entry being handed a drive-through penalty.
That penalty dropped Morley and Gavin Ernstone’s entry to eighth, handing the lead of the race and a second win of the season to Block and Lewis.
“The field is so good and the talent is so good,” said Block. “I really have the utmost respect for all the competitors. You saw how hard everybody was racing, but everybody was racing clean.”
Block and Lewis have been on a run of form in the series of late – having won two races already in 2022, they have now won four of the last seven races, having only claimed their first win in the category at road America last year.
Second went to Denis Dupont, returning to the series this weekend, and Eric Rockwell in the #15 Audi RS3.
However, they only just claimed second, as Dupont charged past Tyler Gonzalez for the place on the approach to the finish line, claiming the place by just 0.052 seconds.
Thus, Gonzalez and Rory van der Steur had to settle for the final podium place in their Hyundai Veloster N.
After starting on pole, Parker Chase brought the #98 Hyundai Elantra home in fourth, having run in second in the first stint with Gottsacker at the wheel and then briefly leading. When Chase took over, the car was running in fourth.
Click here to view the full race results.
The next round of the Michelin Pilot Challenge takes place at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on 14 May.