A pair of late race penalties defined the final finish order after a frenetic 2017 Petit Le Mans.
The Race went back to green with 26 minutes remaining, the wounded #90’s drivetrain cried enough, the car pitting to retire.
2.3 seconds separated the top 4, Montoya 5 seconds further back and in traffic.
In GTLM the gap between the top 3 was 1.6 seconds with Vilander a further 3 seconds back.
In GTD the top 3 closed right up 7 seconds separated the top 3.
The there was significant contact, side to side between Derani and Briscoe, the Ford off and into the wall, rejoining but losing the rear wing and with more damage to the rear of the previously 3rd place #67.
Meanwhile there was a stop and 60 second hold penalty for the #5 of Albuquerque, running second for unacceptable risk.
And then a penalty too for the leader, Derani for the contact with the #67.
That seemed to leave Hartley and the #2 crew set to clean up with 18 minutes remain!
In GTLM with the Ford out of it now Sims had Garcia right with him, Vilander 9 seconds further back but edging further back.
In GTD de Philippi had 10 seconds on Michael Christensen but Bergmeister was right with the Alegra man.
16 minutes remaining, Derani took his drive-through – #5 led but owed us the penalty, Hartley was a second back from the Cadillac, a heartbroken Derani re-emerged in 5th, Montoya and Cameron ahead of him.
12 minutes left and Albuquerque pitted to serve his penalty – #2 led – a 23rd lead change – he’d get a drive through too for ignoring the black flag too – a sad end to a great run. The top 4 were now less than 10 seconds apart with 11 minutes remaining.
With 2 minutes to go, Montoya was right with Cameron for second overall, Garcia on the tail of Sims for the GTLM win. Neither would make a move stick though.
The #2 ESM Ligier Nissan DPI of Brendon Hartley, Ryan Dalziel and Scott Sharp would take the win, yet another major North American enduro for the ESM team. It’s Hartley’s first IMSA win.
The #25 BMW Team RLL M6 GTLM took the win in the car’s final race, in Bill Auberlen’s 400th race for BMW he takes the crown with Kumo Wittmer and Alexander Sims. It’s BMW’s first PLM win since 2001.
The #29 Land Montaplast Audi R8 LMS GT3 took a dominant win for Christopher Mies, Sheldon van der Linde and Connor de Phillippi on a day where the team took three major race wins in three different Championships!
And the #26 BAR1 ORECA FLM09 took the last ever win in the class in IMSA competition with Tomy Drissi, Garrett Grist and John Falb. The team will move up to the prototype class in 2018.