IMSA red-flags WeatherTech 240 at Watkins Glen for lightning

IMSA has called a temporary halt to the WeatherTech 240 at Watkins Glen, and advised all personnel and fans to take shelter for lightning in the area.

The 2hr40min race still had 1hr36min to run when the race was halted due to a Stage 3 weather warning, which means lightning is in the vicinity.

The 3.4-mile course is being utilized by the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the second straight week following last week’s Six Hour classic, as Watkins Glen subs for Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. Travel to and from Canada is still heavily restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time of the race stoppage, the Six Hours’-winning Mazda RT24-P of Harry Tincknell was leading, ahead of Filipe Albuquerque in the Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 in which teammate Jordan Taylor had started from pole position. Third ran the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Kevin Magnussen which had survived a collision with Olivier Pla’s Meyer Shank Racing Acura on Lap 1/Turn 1.

However, real intrigue lay in the tactics of Action Express Racing and JDC Miller Motorsports, who were around nine laps off-strategy, and had just made their second stops when the red flag was waved. Ex-Formula 1 racer Felipe Nasr (AXR) had taken over the #31 AXR Caddy from Pipo Derani, while Loic Duval had been in the JDC-Miller car from the start, and they ran fourth and sixth, split by the MSR Acura now driven by Dane Cameron.

In LMP2, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports had been leading comfortably from Tower Motorsports and WIN Autosport, Ben Keating having built up an enormous lead over his opposition before handing over to Mikkel Jensen.

The two Corvettes run 1-2 in the three-car GT Le Mans class, but the #4 of Tommy Milner was ahead of the #3 of Antonio Garcia, as the latter’s co-driver Jordan Taylor had complained about some instability at the rear of the car during his opening stint.

Andretti Autosport leads LMP3, Jarett Andretti having passed polesitter Matteo Llarena in the early stages before handing over to open-wheel star Oliver Askew. In fact, Performance Tech Motorsports had been penalized with a drive-through by IMSA for changing lanes at the start, so LLarena had fallen to third behind Riley Motorsports’ Gar Robinson/Felipe Fraga, before handing over to Rasmus Lindh.

In GTD, Frankie Montecalvo of Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F and Richard Heistand in the Carbahn Peregrine Racing Audi R8 had swiftly deposed Madison Snow’s Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan at the start to pull a 10sec lead over their opposition before pitting to hand over to their respective teammates Zach Veach and Jeff Westphal.

Indeed, by the time Bryan Sellers got his hands on the PMR Lambo, it was down in fifth, behind the Roman De Angelis-piloted Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage and the second Lexus of Aaron Telitz/Jack Hawksworth.

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