Guernsey Press

Priaulx left ‘gobsmacked’ after back-to-back wins

SEB PRIAULX and his team have landed back-to-back wins in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

A victorious Seb Priaulx (left) and Laurin Heinrich. (Picture from Porsche Motorsport, 33288454)

The Guernsey star and Laurin Heinrich won the GTD Pro class in an incident-packed Detroit Grand Prix, showing that their earlier Laguna Seca victory was no fluke.

The AO Racing duo have therefore also extended their championship lead.

‘I couldn’t be prouder of everyone, the team, and just how they’ve been working this year,’ Priaulx said.

‘It’s just amazing we’ve had two wins with these pro guys and factory teams.

‘We’re just a single [privateer] team. I’m absolutely gobsmacked that we’re winning these races.’

This victory followed AO Racing’s debuting of updated livery for the iconic, dinosaur-inspired ‘Rexy’ Porsche No 77, featuring a single gold tooth to mark their success in California.

‘What do you think? Another gold tooth?’ they quipped on social media afterwards.

This race also marked the championship’s first foray into downtown Detroit.

The street circuit formerly used in Formula One had been out of action since 1991 until it was revived, albeit in a new, shortened form, for IndyCar racing last year.

Priaulx had qualified fourth on the tight and unfamiliar circuit, with the top two spots going to ‘unanswerable’ Corvettes.

‘I’m happy with P4 – I think that’s like a P2, really.’

The track’s nature contributed to numerous incidents over the 1hr 40min. sprint race, which featured five full-course cautions.

But Heinrich’s resilience under difficult circumstances proved vital to their success.

Priaulx had completed a good shift in third, a position that Heinrich maintained until a dramatic series of events with 46min. left.

The leading Corvette of Nicky Catsburg was contacted from behind by Ben Barnicoat’s Lexus, which left it swinging out into the jaws of a fast-approaching ‘Rexy’, who had no room to dodge.

Moments later, a GTP car’s attempt to overtake the Corvette from the inside resulted in more contact and a huge blockage that held up numerous cars.

Yet Heinrich managed to escape this chaos with a lead.

The problem was that he had to deal with a damaged splitter that kept touching the ground, which at times made for very stressful driving.

‘At the end of the race I couldn’t see anymore, it was vibrating that bad,’ the German driver admitted.

Priaulx was full of praise after his teammate battled on and took the chequered flag 3sec. clear of Barnicoat’s pursuing Lexus.

‘Laurin, my teammate, is absolutely awesome. He did a mega job to get the car home with the damage we had.’