Bleekemolen, Keating Give Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R First Victory
BOWMANVILLE, ONTARIO, CANADA (July 13, 2014) – Jeroen Bleekemolen passed Kevin Estre in traffic with two laps remaining and went on to win the GT Daytona (GTD) class, giving the No. 33 Riley Motorsports/Viper Exchange Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R started by Ben Keating its first victory.
It was the eighth lead change in the competitive class that saw Bleekemolen beat Estre to the checkered flag by 1.038 seconds.
“I felt bad for Kevin, because I saw it all happening in front of me,” Bleekemolen said. “It looked like we were going to be second, but we got a little bit lucky at the end.”
“This is not only our first win, but our first podium,” Keating said. “We have had our share of tough luck this season, so to a certain extent we felt like we were due. We’ve always been down on top speed, but the sweeping corners here really suit out car.”
Estre and Patrick Lindsey were looking to give Park Place Motorsports its first GTD class victory in the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT America, before getting hung up in late-race traffic. Lindsey started seventh and moved up to second before his pit stop, with Estre passing Bleekemolen for the class lead with 57 minutes remaining.
After winning the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen two weeks ago, the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 of Markus Palttala and Dane Cameron led in the early going. A stop-plus-20-second penalty when equipment rolled outside the team’s pit box dropped the team from second to seventh. Cameron managed to work his way back to a third-place finish.
The competitive race saw 16 of the 17 GTD starters running within four laps of the lead at the finish.