The Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce of Tim Lewis and Roy Block won the TCR class in the opening round of the 2022 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, the four-hour race at Daytona International Speedway.
This was the second consecutive victory for the pair and their Giulietta run by KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering, following the 2021 final round at Road Atlanta.
After a plethora of lead changes, Tim Lewis gapped the field in the closing laps and drove on to the class victory by 9.5 seconds over the reigning TCR champions, Michael Lewis and Taylor Hagler in the #1 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Elantra N.
Tim Lewis took the lead for good with a half-hour remaining when he passed Stephen Simpson in the Michael Johnson Racing Elantra.
“Some of the cars I was running with at the beginning had mechanical issues,” Tim Lewis said. “I was hoping we’d have a seat at the table at the end. It was a total team effort. We drove flawlessly, our pit stops were flawless, our strategy was flawless.”
Third place continued the inspirational story of the week, with Robert Wickens getting a podium finish in his series debut in the #33 BHA Hyundai. It was Wickens’ first race since he was paralyzed in a 2018 IndyCar crash. He logged nearly 90 minutes in the car before handing off to co-driver and fellow Canadian Mark Wilkins.
“Physically, I’m fine,” Wickens said. “I’ve been working hard the last few months just in case I had this opportunity. I could have done another stint and another stint after that. I was just having a blast. It felt really good out there.”
The series will resume on March 16/19 at Sebring International Raceway.
Daytona – Race
1. T. Lewis-R. Block (KMW Motorsports, Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce), 107 laps
2. M. Lewis/T. Hagler (Bryan Herta Autosport, Hyundai Elantra N), 9.524
3. R. Wickens/M. Wilkins (Bryan Herta Autosport, Hyundai Elantra N), 14.035
1. T. Lewis-R. Block, 350 pts; 2. M. Lewis/T. Hagler, 320; 3. R. Wickens/M. Wilkins 300
Picture: IMSA/LAT Images
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