Sportscar Racer Kuno Wittmer Loses a Win in the Most Embarrassing Manner

0
288

In a very strange race, Rebel Rock Racing’s Frank DePew and Robin Liddell sealed their second win of the season at Road America. With four corners left, Liddell was lying in 4th and pulled a daring outside move to snatch second. Meanwhile, race leader Kuno Wittmer appeared to have it in the bag. However, nobody could have predicted what happened next, as he suddenly slowed a few hundred feet from the line.

Liddell evidently took this as an invitation and was not about to say no, so he swept past. As a result, Robin Liddell beat Wittmer to the line by seven-hundredths of a second. Apparently, Kuno Wittmer figured that he was gonna win and tried to activate the radio to congratulate the team. Unfortunately, he accidentally pushed the pit road speed limiter button instead. The helpless car could do nothing as Liddell blasted past.

Weather was the biggest hindrance on Saturday at Road America. A thunderstorm swept over the 4.048-mile road course, with heavy rain and hail peppering the facility. As a result, the race was shortened from two hours to 75 minutes.

Kuno Wittmer

The race started in wet conditions before drying out. CarBahn Motorsports’ Tyler McQuarrie started from pole, but dropped quickly down the order. PF Racing’s Jade Buford took the lead on the first lap, but quickly lost that advantage to eEuroparts.com ROWE Racing’s Kenton Koch. Debutant Akhil Rabindra gave chase in the Aston Martin.

The track conditions led to a variety of pit stop strategies. The No. 2 Audi for Koch and Tyler Cooke and the Rabindra/Kris Wilson Aston Martin went with a one stop strategy. That required those teams to run a significant amount of the race on wet tires on a very dry track. Others went with a two-stop strategy to counter the rain returning to the premises later in the event.

After the stops, Motorsport In Action’s Fergus ended up in the overall lead in the No. 69 McLaren. The stage was set for an interesting battle until Wilson crashed his Aston Martin out of third overall with 15 minutes remaining to bring out the caution.

The cleanup was completed with only enough time for a one-lap shootout. Fergus led on the restart, but Wittmer was able to get past for the lead entering turn 3. Once out front, Wittmer attempted to drive away, but a couple of mistakes brought Fergus back into the picture. Murillo Racing’s Foss was right there as well. Liddell was fourth, waiting to strike.  Strike, he did.

Kuno Wittmer and Paul Holton were second, followed by Foss and Jeff Mosing. McQuarrie and Jeff Westphal came back to finish fourth. Meanwhile Park Place Motorsports’ Alan Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman were fifth. As for Fergus and teammate Jesse Lazare? Fergus made a driving error exiting the final turn, as shown in a fan video.

In TCR, LA Honda World Racing’s Shelby Blackstock had the pole, but Fast MD Racing’s Nick Galante was quickly able to get to the front. Pit stops jumbled the field signficantly. Ultimately, it was HART’s Ryan Eversley that came out of the pits with the lead. He was able to hold on to take the checkered flag for what would have been HART’s first TCR victory.

Unfortunately, the rules came into play here. Despite the shortened race length, minimum driving time was still out there. In order to get points, each driver had to drive a minimum of 25 minutes. Eversley’s drive time equated to 5.884 seconds below the 25-minute minimum. As a result, the HART team was disqualified.

The HART disqualification resulted in Bryan Herta Autosport’s Mason Filippi and Harry Gottsacker inheriting the class victory in their Hyundai. Blackstock and Tom O’Gorman were second, followed by Roadshagger Racing’s Gavin Ernstone and Jon Morley. Michael Lewis and Mark Wilkins were fourth in the second Hyundai, while Atlanta Speedwerks’ Brian Henderson and Todd Lamb were fifth in their Honda.