WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Leh Keen (Charleston, S.C.) and Gunnar Jeannette (Salt Lake City, Utah) finished fith in GTD at the 64th running of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida this evening.
Keen had the wheel of the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche for the start of the once around the clock classic. Going away from the third row, the driving trio had the white and black Porsche in the top five until the skies opened up at 1:30 p.m. causing the IMSA Officials to red flag the race. The event was stopped for two-hours-and-fifteen minutes. When the race resumed MacNeil was at the wheel is drying conditions on wet Continental tires. Soon after Jeannette took over, this time with slicks. Navigating changing conditions, with the track still wet, he was able to keep the car in contention. Keen cycled into the seat at 9 p.m. Fourteen minutes later the right front wheel came loose from the car. He limped it to pit lane for a fresh set of rubber, out of sequence which furthered the damage when he had to serve a stop-and-go penalty and in tenth. Remarkably the Alex Job Racing crew kept them on the lead GTD Class lap with Keen driving to a fifth place finish.
“We went through our ups and downs for sure all race, especially the last 90 minutes,” Keen said. “We had the right front wheel come off with just over an hour to go. We had to do an emergency stop, then a pit stop, then serve a penalty. We almost went a lap down as a result of three consecutive trips through pit lane. At that time we were around tenth. We got a caution, got bunched up, but we were able to get the WeatherTech Porsche back up to fifth place. Pretty wild day.”
MacNeil would like to lose the curse.
“It was a pretty good 10 hours for us,” MacNeil said. “Like Daytona, the last hour-and-a-half has been a curse for us in these first two races. We went from being in the top five, back to like tenth when the wheel came off and then the penalty. To finish fifth feels pretty good considering our last 90 minutes. Alex Job Porsches were fourth and fifth, we are proud of that part. To come back from having a lost wheel and then the penalty, we have to be thankful for top five points.”
Jeannette managed the car through tough conditions.
“I did a whole stint on slicks in the wet,” Jeannette said. “It would dry up just enough to give us some hope and then start raining again and we would drop back. We were able to make up a bunch of positions. In the end we just didn’t have a fast enough car today. The Alex Job crew did a great job to get us back in it at the end. When the wheel fell off and we didn’t lose a lap, even with the penalty. To come back from tenth to finish fifth is a testament to the team. Leh had a great finishing stint and Cooper did an awesome job in the wet. Not being on the podium is sour, but we will take fifth today.”
“What a last couple of hours,” team owner, Alex Job said. “The rain delay for over two hours and then our last run really made this a crazy race. We were on the lead the lap nearly the entire race. Even though we lost a wheel, had to limp around, pit under yellow, serve a penalty the guys still managed a top five finish. Not too bad all things considered.”
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD cars will return to competition on May 1 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.
Source. Kyle Chura/Alex job Racing