Smiles say it all for the #23 Heart of Racing GTD Pro crew after Long Beach California

Sunday, April 10, 2022

At last, something to cheer about within the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Racing team last night, although it did come with another bitter pill after the third round of the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship from Long Beach California.

After two ‘character testing’ opening rounds of the season at both Daytona and most recently at Sebring, this third round and also opening round of the Sprint Cup needed something positive to come from within the team in order to carry them forward into the now busy part of the 2022 season.

Being a Sprint race, only two drivers were required this time as Ross Gunn again partnered Alex Riberas within the #23 GTD Pro Class car with Roman De Angelis being partnered again by Maxime Martin within the #27 GTD Class Aston Martin Vantage.

Free Practice and Qualifying went reasonably well for both cars around the nearly two-mile street circuit but a pit exit blend line violation for Gunn during Qualifying did drop his car back to fourth for the Saturday evening race whist De Angelis placed his car P7 in class.

With twenty-six cars running, and with a mix of DPI, GTD Pro and GTD runners the opening laps ran surprisingly cleanly as Gunn actually started from P3 in class and maintained that position for the whole of his stint then on in following a post Qualifying penalty for a BMW ahead. De Angelis progress was slow but steady as he cruised up to the back and calculated his way past rivals to eventually finish his stint tight to the rear of the then P4 placed car after having also gained a position upon the grid from another post session penalty for a BMW.

Pitting earlier than Gunn, De Angelis was able to hand the #27 car over to Martin who came out second in class by the time all other GTD class cars had pitted whilst Riberas retained their P3 position although the leading GTD Pro had yet to stop.

With fifty minutes of the hundred-minute race remaining, both Aston Martins found themselves in P2 in both classes as Martin passed a McLaren for position and the GTD Pro Corvette served a drive through but with still the leading BMW owing a stop in first.

Half an hour to go and the first FCY for a loose kerb saw the #23 finally take the GTD Pro top place on the timing screen but upon the restart, disaster struck down the #27 car of Martin. With the traffic again all bunch and keen to get past the lumbering BMW, side to side contact was made between the two cars – breaking the Aston’s steering in the process and as a result, the #27 hit the outside wall at the next corner and into immediate retirement.

Eventually going back to green and another FCY in between for another car in the tyre wall, the #23 car of Riberas did hang on to each restart to eventually claim their first win of the season (and in the new for 2022 GTD Pro class) – something that went a long way we are sure to bolster confidence within the team (for both cars) after a disappointing start to the year.

Well done and much deserved!!

Photo credits – Heart of Racing

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes