Entering Canada Corner on the final lap, Robin Liddell sat fourth in the #71 Rebel Rock Racing Camaro. Three turns later, at the chequered flag and as he crossed the line, Liddell had the lead of the race by 0.070 seconds. Liddell’s stunning final lap performance in a weather-shortened Michelin Pilot Challenge race from Road America gave Rebel Rock Racing their second win of the season, in treacherous conditions.
A late-race full course yellow set up a one-lap shootout for the win. On the run to Canada Corner, the #69 Motorsports In Action McLaren 570s and the #56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG moved to protect the inside line from one another. Liddell thus took that as an invitation to go around the outside and pass two cars in one corner.
With just two corners to run it seemed inevitable that the #75 Compass Racing McLaren 570s would take the win after Kuno Wittmer moved into the lead on the restart. But Liddell wasn’t finished making stunning passes, as he stormed up the hill on the run to the line. Liddell dove to the inside of the #75 McLaren which slowed suddenly, passing Wittmer with two tyres on the grass to give Rebel Rock the victory.
“I’m a bit of an old hand so I know never to give up… we made some spots and after the final restart I had a really good run through the kink and then I was able to challenge in Canada Corner and I went around the outside of them when they were scraping.” Liddell told IMSA.tv after the race.
Liddell described the drag race to the line in simple terms: “I saw him slowing and I just put my foot on the gas.”
The culprit for the #75 McLaren 570s slowing before the line was a heartbreaking one. McLaren factory driver Wittmer told IMSA.tv that when he reached for the radio to button to celebrate with the team, he mistakenly engaged the pit limiter. Despite the mistake, the #75 McLaren still ended the day with a podium finish, all be it the second step.
— #IMSA / #RoadAmerica (@IMSA) August 4, 2019
While the #56 Mercedes-AMG was unable to pass the #69 McLaren in Canada Corner, Eric Foss did get the job done in the final corner. Foss threw the #56 Mercedes-AMG underneath Corey Fergus and moved the #56 Mercedes-AMG into the final podium position.
Fergus, meanwhile, had already survived one full course yellow restart in the lead but he could not repeat his performance on the second. Fergus took the white flag in the lead, but was down to second by turn two, in third after Canada Corner, and a deeply disappointing seventh at the line after battling with Foss for third and suffering contact with the Murillo Mercedes in the run to the flag.
In TCR, the #21 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster took home the win. Harry Gottsacker and Mason Filippi did not cross the line in the lead, however. Gottsacker and Filippi inherited the win after the #89 HART Honda Civic was disqualified moments after the finish for failing to give Ryan Eversley his minimum drive-time.
Less than one second behind the #21 Hyundai was the #37 LA Honda World Civic of Tom O’Gorman and Shelby Blackstock. With their third-place finish at Road America move within three points of the championship lead.
Rounding out the TCR podium was the #61 Roadshagger Racing Audi RS3 LMS of Jon Morley and Gavin Ernstone. Fourth place was the championship-leading pair of Michael Lewis and Mark Wilkins in the #98 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster. Lewis’ and Wilkins’ 10-point advantage has been slashed to just three points with three races still to run.
The next round of the championship is set for Virginia International Raceway on the weekend of August 24. There, the Michelin Pilot Challenge will support the second of two all-GT rounds for the Weathertech SportsCar Championship.
Images courtesy of IMSA