IPC: The pole and victory for Wulver Racing in Canada
3 July 2022 - Successful weekend in IMSA Prototype Challenge. The Ligier teams dominated round three of the championship from free practice to qualifying and the race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. After securing pole position with Tonis Kasemets, Wulver Racing won the race with the #60 Ligier JS P320. It is the team's second win after the ROAR at Daytona in January. The #14 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier finished runner-up and set the fastest lap in the race.
The Ligier JS P320 locked out the top three in the two free practice sessions. The #14 of Sean Creech Motorsport (Parker Thompson and Lance Willsey) led the way in session 1 with the best time of 1:12.846s. The #77 of US Race Tronics (Brian Thienes and Patrick Kujala) finished on top in Session 2 with a time of 1:12.624s.
The following day, the LMP3s went through qualifying and the race. Gentleman driver Tonis Kasemets, in the #60 Wulver Racing Ligier JS P320, secured pole position with a time of 1:12.745s.
At the start, the #60 Wulver Racing Ligier JS P320 held on to the lead. Fifteen minutes later, it already had a six-second lead. Further back in the field, Tony Ave in the #44 of Ave Motorsports with GRS, who started third, was not so lucky and lost several places. Undaunted, he regained third place but then suffered a series of spins. From seventh on the grid, the #77 US Race Tronics car driven by Brian Thienes moved up two positions, but a loss of power forced the team to pit before re-joining the race.
Forty minutes into the race, Tonis Kasemets stretched his lead to 30 seconds. As the first LMP3s made their first pit stops, the driver of the #60 stayed on track and now had a two-lap lead. The #77 of US RaceTronics came back from the back of the field and chased down its rivals, as did the #14 of Sean Creech Motorsport, which was penalized for not respecting the minimum pit stop time. The #77 was second behind the #60, and the #14 was fourth. With 30 minutes remaining in the race, Tonis Kasemets made his pit stop.
Second championship win for Wulver Racing
A few minutes later, a competitor went off circuit, causing the only yellow flag period of the race. The situation became more complicated for the #60 Ligier JS P320, which saw its 50-second lead melt away like snow on hot tarmac. However, it kept the lead ahead of the #77. At the restart, Parker Thompson in the #14 passed Patrick Kujala in the #77. But the #60 was out of reach. After the Daytona win and a second-place at Mid-Ohio, Wulver Racing claimed the top step of the podium in Canada.
“The young guns, the future stars, it's hard to keep them behind, but I used everything I had in my book and did what I could," Kasemets said. “It was tough. “We were slightly behind because we did not test here,” Kasemets said, "so it took us quite a lot of work to get the ride height right because it's very demanding. Almost every corner is over 100 miles an hour. You've got to hold your breath, and then you've got to learn how to breathe again. It takes everything you know.”
The #77 Ligier JS P320 crossed the finish line second, but the US RaceTronics team was disqualified, due to excess wear of its flat bottom. Second place on the podium went to the #14 of Sean Creech Motorsport, which also clocked the fastest lap time in 1:12.940s.
Wulver Racing extends its championship lead to 1020 points. The IMSA Prototype Challenge will be in action at the VIRginia International Raceway from 26-28 August for the fourth and penultimate meeting of the season.
For complete results, CLICK HERE.
For more information about the Ligier JS P320, CLICK HERE.