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If the colour black is the combination of all colours, the penultimate round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) in Laguna Seca (USA) on Sunday was a combination of every emotion for John Edwards (USA) and Martin Tomczyk (GER) during their thrilling race to victory in the black-liveried number 24 BMW #m6gtlm.
The duo completed 110 laps of the Laguna Seca circuit during the two-hour-and-forty-minute race that saw their BMW recover from an off in the sand at turn one on the opening lap to take a scant 0.152 second margin of victory at the chequered flag after the final stint of the race was run with a maximum fuel saving strategy. The win was the first for Edwards and Tomczyk as co-drivers and the 16th for BMW Team RLL since beginning in 2009.
Team-mates Bill Auberlen (USA) and Alexander Sims (GBR) finished eighth in the number 25 BMW #m6gtlm, two laps down to the leaders, after Auberlen was spun off the track on lap 57 and had to be pulled from the gravel trap. Starting the race second in driver points, the disappointing finish effectively eliminates any chance for the pair to win the GTLM driver’s title in the season finale Petit Le Mans in two weeks.
In the GTD class, Jens Klingmann (GER) and Jesse Krohn (FIN) were running second in the #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 until shortly before the end of the race. However, they were then forced to come in for another short fuel stop, which saw them drop back to fifth place.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL): “We were not the fastest car in the race today, but we had a perfect strategy. John did an amazing job to save enough fuel to go when he had to. There cannot be much left in the tank. To win here at Laguna Seca, a track I love, is very special. This win is one I know we’ll savour for quite a while.”
John Edwards (No. 24 BMW #m6gtlm, 1st place): “The last time I drove a black-livered BMW at Laguna Seca Lucas (Luhr) and I won by 20 seconds. It was spectacular to be able to do it again – this time with Martin – in a black-livered BMW #m6gtlm. I believe stressful may be the headline today. I had saved enough fuel, but I lost some time behind a prototype car and the Ferrari was right on me in the last corner. Luckily I was just able to hold him off.”
Martin Tomczyk (No. 24 BMW #m6gtlm, 1st place): “Today was a thrill. John did an amazing job this weekend. My first victory in the States - it is an amazing feeling!”
Bill Auberlen (No. 25 BMW #m6gtlm, 8th place): “I was running well in third place when I was hit from the rear by the no. 67 Ford. I don’t think he was trying to do anything more than lighten me up and try to go by, but it was enough to put me in the gravel. Looking for a silver lining, our sister car ran a magnificent race to get its first win of the year. I think any hope for the driver’s championship has eluded Alexander and me, but we will still look for nothing but a win at Petit Le Mans.”
Alexander Sims (No. 25 BMW #m6gtlm, 8th place): “Today’s race was everything we expected and more eventful than we had hoped. It was over for us when Bill was spun and unfortunately a lost result.”
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