The Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Elantra N cars finished 1-2 in the TCR class of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge’s fourth round at Mid-Ohio.
Parker Chase and Harry Gottsacker steered the #98 Elantra to victory, only six tenths over their #1 teammates, Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis. The #61 Road Shagger Racing Audi RS 3 LMS snatched third place in the closing laps of the race.
Although the odds may have favoured a BHA victory, the identities of the winning car and drivers were in doubt the first half of the race as the Hyundai cars swapped positions lap after lap, with the #99 Victor González Racing Honda Civic, the #19 van der Steur Racing Hyundai Veloster and the #61 Audi in the mix. The Honda of Victor González took the lead by going five or six laps more than the Hyundai cars before making its one and only stop of the race. But when the Honda emerged from pit lane in the hands of Karl Wittmer, it was in eighth spot and no longer a threat. Not so the Audi, which came from 13th to seventh place on the opening lap thanks to a melee that delayed the #1 Hyundai and knocked out the #37 LA Honda World Racing Civic that Tiago Monteiro had placed on pole position.
By finishing second in the #1 BHA Elantra, Hagler and Lewis expanded their TCR lead to 130 points over Rory van der Steur and Tyler Gonzalez in the #19 Veloster, while Tim Lewis and Roy Block who had won at Daytona and Laguna Seca in their KMW Motorsports-run Alfa Romeo Giulietta dropped from second to third, ten further points adrift.
The next race is at Watkins Glen, June 23/26.
Mid-Ohio – Race
1. P. Chase/H. Gottsacker (Bryan Herta Autosport, Hyundai Elantra N), 74 laps
2. M. Lewis/T. Hagler (Bryan Herta Autosport, Hyundai Elantra N), 0.692
3. G. Ernstone/J. Morley (Road Shagger Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS), 12.104
1. M. Lewis/T. Hagler, 1220 pts; 2. R. van der Steur/T. Gonzalez, 1090; 3. R. Block/T. Lewis, 1080
Picture: IMSA/LAT Images