Alex Riberas and Ross Gunn won IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship’s Northeast GP at Lime Rock Park, the GT-only race, with just 1.138 seconds separating the top 4.

Gunn started the car from pole and led early on from Jack Hawksworth in the #14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 and Antonio Garcia in the #3 Corvette C8.R, with the cars running line of stern at the short, narrow track in Conneticut.

However, Gunn lost the lead at the first round of stops, as the fuel hose took a few seconds to find the filler, demoting him down effectively to third, behind a now leading Hawksworth and Garcia.

In the lead was Patrick Pilet, onboard the #9 Pfaff Porsche 911 GT3 R, who decided to do something different and had not stopped with the other four GTD Pro cars.

The Frenchman, in his first season of racing in the US and therefore still learning at Lime Rock Park, stayed out considerably longer than expected to try and overcut the others. He started fifth and jumped #79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3’s Jules Gounon early on, taking fourth and getting promoted to the lead as the others stopped around half an hour in.

However, the idea to jump his rivals didn’t work as a full course yellow for a crash between Alan Metni and Jarett Andretti bunched the field up. Metni, in the #91 Kellymoss Porsche 911 GT3 R, missed his braking point at turn 1, known as Big Bend, and went into the back of an innocent Andretti, driving the #94 Andretti Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

Incidentally, this happened just metres in front of Pilet, and he was lucky to get away scot free. Once the pit lane opened for GTD Pro cars, he pitted — but so did every other GTD Pro car, except Gunn, who now led the race again.

At the restart Gunn led from Hawksworth and Garcia — like nothing had changed compared to the start of the race. Gounon, meanwhile, received a penalty for leaving his pitbox with the fuel hose still attached. Luckily the crew member holding the hose at the time was unhurt.

Gunn extended his lead up to four seconds from Hawksworth, before the latter pitted along with Garcia, with Ben Barnicoat replacing Hawksworth in the Lexus and Jordan Taylor climbing into the Corvette, replacing his Spanish teammate.

Gunn pitted the next lap, getting out of the car to be replaced by Alex Riberas.

This meant GTD cars, which were doing longer stints before stopping, were now leading. Progressively the class, and temporarily overall, leaders pitted, with Patrick Gallagher in the #96 Turner BMW M4 GT3 first, then #32 Korthoff Motorsports’ Mercedes-AMG GT3’s Mike Skeen, then Julien Andlauer in the #92 Kellymoss Porsche 911 GT3 R all briefly in the lead before surrendering it to pit.

This left Bill Auberlen, in the sister #97 Turner BMW, in the lead, with Riberas and the GTD Pro field next up. However, before Auberlen could pit, the second full course yellow of the day came out: this time for Brendan Iribe, who had crashed his #70 Inception McLaren 720S GT3 Evo into the tyres on drivers’ right at the final corner.

This subsequently eradicated the gaps that Auberlen’s Turner Motorsport team were planning to drop the car into, with teammate Chandler Hull onboard, once the car pitted. But with those gaps gone the car dropped almost to the back of the field once the pit lane opened.

When the field went green with 48 minutes to go, Riberas led overall, with Barnicoat second and Klaus Bachler, who had taken over the #9 Pfaff Porsche machine, third.

In GTD, Marco Sorensen, in the sister #27 Heart of Racing car, led, from Andlauer and Trent Hindman in the #77 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

And this was the way the race finished, with little passing opportunities at Lime Rock. Towards the end both of the leading Astons started to struggle with tyre wear and a resulting lack of traction, but both drivers held onto to take a double win, on team principal Ian James’s fiftieth birthday. What a birthday present!

As the cars crossed the line, just 1.138 separated the top 4, with Gunn three tenths ahead of Barnicoat and eighth and a half tenths ahead of Bachler. Taylor was a further 0.279 back from the Porsche. Daniel Juncadella finished 12th overall after the penalty earlier put paid to a good result.

It was similarly close in GTD, with Sorsen leading Andlauer across the line to the tune of 0.555 seconds, with Hindman under half a second away in third.

The GTD polesitter, the #32 Korthoff Mercedes, led early on and looked to be in contention, but an uncharacteristic error after the final restart by Skeen’s co-driver Mikael Grenier saw the Canadian go off track and onto the grass at the start of the lap, sending him tumbling down the order, eventually finishing 15th overall.

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