Volt Racing take a fuel risk to eventually claim a Michelin Pilot Challenge race win at Laguna Seca

Sunday, May 01, 2022


Another enthralling IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race last night from the Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca that finally saw a ‘poachers’ win for the #7 Volt Racing Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 of Alan Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman.

Having had something of a disappointing Qualifying session for their standards earlier in the day, saw Brynjolfsson start down in tenth and four places further back than the #12 Corsa Horizon AMR Vantage GT4 of Manny Franco and Josh Hurley after that team enjoyed their best Qualifying session of the season so far.

The #09 Stoner Car Care AMR Vantage GT4 of Ramin Abdolvahabi and Rob Ecklin started further in back P25 in GS and fourth in their new for 2022 Bronze Cup class as the race went green for another two-hour event.

Unfortunately for the #09 car, their race would go ‘south’ as early as the first corner when their sveltely liveried car was turned around by others and into the dusty infield at turn one. Abdolvahabi would recover but he would run for most of his opening forty-minute stint towards the back of the pack such was the time lost.

Also dropping back at the start was the #12 car of Franco, losing a couple of places to lead Brynjolfsson around the opening laps but with the race leader (Kenton Koch) steaming off into the distance, an unseen event for the #7 car would drop them down to P11just ahead of the first, and inevitable Safety car.

Whilst recovering the stricken Toyota, the pit lane was then opened for GS runners with the then highest placed Aston (#12) taking the opportunity to take fuel which both the Volt and Stoner cars decided against taking track position over an early and maybe not sufficient splash.

Another stranded car twenty minutes before the hour mark saw another Safety Car and that allowed many to pit for a driver change as their forty-minute minimum drive time had now been served. Brynjolfsson stayed out and assumed second in the race overall before pitting just a few minutes before the hour as another car became beached in one of the many gravel traps.

Cycling through the remaining TCR class pit stops following the Safety Car, the #7 car of Hindman now assumed the lead overall but the question would be one of fuel endurance for them to the end and that problem was helped no end as a tangling Porsche and Mustang sent the Ford heavily into the wall for another extended Safety Car period.

Losing eleven minutes of race time to that as well as another five for yet more stranded cars with just fifteen minutes remaining was enough to give the #7 car the capacity, they needed to see out the race to claim their first win of the season from the RS1 Porsche of Stevan McAleer and Alex Premat.

The #12 Corsa Horizon car would finish the race a disappointing P12 after they lost time in mid field battles during the multiple restarts with the #09 Stoner car completing the trio of AMR finishes down in P25 in GS and P4 in their Bronze Cup. Their performance was obviously mainly due to the time lost at the opening corner followed by vibration issues and losing out with one on the Safety cars just a lap after their stop to miss out getting back on to the lead lap.

The series now moves onto Mid-Ohio in just two weeks’ time.

Photo credits – IMSA / Teams
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