TCR / 20 March 2023
Three poles and IMPC points lead for Civic Type R TCR
LA Honda World Racing took over the lead of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge title race on a weekend when the JAS Motorsport-built Honda Civic Type R TCR scored pole position for every event it contested.
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge
Mike Lamarra and Will Tally leapt to the head of the TCR Drivers' standings with a battling fourth-place finish at Sebring that also put LA Honda World Racing on top in the Teams' championship.
Tally started the two-hour race 14th, but a strategic early fuel stop under green-flag conditions helped him leapfrog to seventh when the whole field stopped under caution after 30 minutes. Lamarra strengthened the charge when he took over to score the strong result.
Mat Pombo, driving the sister car, cemented his status as King of qualifying with a third straight pole position, but contact with a lapped car - and then moments later with Steve Eich's HART Civic as the pair battled for the lead - damaged the Civic he shares with Ryan Eversley and put it out shortly afterwards.
Eich, who ran inside the top three for the first hour in the car he shared with Chad Gilsinger, fared worse as he retired on the spot with right-rear wheel damage.
Last year's Sebring winners VGRT started last after missing qualifying, but Victor Gonzalez Jr and Karl Wittmer scythed through the field impressively and were third when a mechanical issue put Wittmer out with less than 10 minutes of the two-hour race to go.
The opening round of the endurance series based on the Nurburgring Nordschleife featured the first appearance of Halder Motorsport's Civic Type R TCR, which has been used in sprint series since 2018.
Danish driver Nicolai Sylvest took advantage of slick tyres on a drying circuit to set TCR pole position by over 20 seconds and led the opening stages of Saturday's four-hour race too.
A snapped engine belt on lap three caused him to pull the car off the track, but repairs were made in the pits and the car, shared with Mike Halder and Roger Vogeli, was able to resume for the final hour.
Gulf Procar Enduro
New series TCR champion Rene Munnich was never challenged en route to pole position in the class at Dubai Autodrome for what was a non-points 'Endurance' event featuring a pair of 50-minute races.
The ALL-INKL.COM Munnich Motorsport driver, who tackled the event solo, led most of the opening race before retiring with a technical issue at three-quarters distance. He did not start Race Two.