Monday, Sep 01, 2014
Local Sports

Too close to call


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With four races in the books in the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season, battles are close in all four classes’ points standings.

In the Prototype class, only 14 points separate the top-four teams. No. 5 Corvette DP co-drivers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi have led the way since winning the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, but the Action Express Racing teammates have plenty of company.

Two teams are tied for second, just three points behind. No. 01 Telcel Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost/Riley DP teammates Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas – who took consecutive victories in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida and the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach – are knotted at 124 with No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP teammates Jordan and Ricky Taylor. The Taylor brothers have finished on the podium in three of the season’s first four races.

Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek – winners at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the No. 2 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b/Honda – are fourth with 113 points.

The top two pairings in GT Le Mans (GTLM) are separated by five points, while positions three through six are separated by an additional five points.

Podiums in three of the four races to date have put No. 55 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE co-drivers Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx into the class lead with 123 points.

However, No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R co-drivers Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen are coming on strong thanks to consecutive wins at Long Beach and the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Garcia and Magnussen each have 118 points.

No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R co-drivers Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner share third with No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR drivers Richard Lietz and Nick Tandy, each with 111 points.

One point back are No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR co-drivers Patrick Long and Michael Christensen with 110 points, followed by No. 93 SRT Motorsports’ Viper GTS-R drivers Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens with 107.

Tied for fifth in GTLM with 106 points each are No. 93 Viper GTS-R teammates Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer, and No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE co-drivers John Edwards and Dirk Mueller.

Prototype Challenge has the top two positions separated by three points after three events. Daytona and Sebring winners Jon Bennett and Colin Braun, who co-drive the No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM 09, have 97 points.

They are three points ahead of No. 8 Starworks Motorsport driver Renger van der Zande, who won the most recent TUDOR Championship round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The closest championship battle is in the GT Daytona class, which features a tie for the lead. No. 555 AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 Italia co-drivers Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler, who won the Rolex 24 At Daytona, join Sebring winners Andy Lally and John Potter, co-drivers of the No. 44 Magnus Racing’s Porsche 911 GT America, at the top with 87 points.

Just four points behind in third are No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS co-drivers Spencer Pumpelly and Nelson Canache Jr. with 83. No. 22 WeatherTech Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America drivers Cooper MacNeil and Leh Keen are fourth with 82, followed by No. 35 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS co-drivers Dion von Moltke and Seth Neiman with 81.

The next event up in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is the Detroit Belle Isle May 31. The race is for the Prototype and the GT Daytona classes only.

Who will be the first drivers to earn brand-new TUDOR watches at season’s end? At this point, it’s still too close to call.

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