Last weekend, R. Ferri Motorsport’s duo of Miguel Molina and Toni Vilander swept the GT SprintX races at Circuit of the Americas, taking home the trophies. The No. 61 Ferrari led approximately 75 percent of the laps and was never seriously challenged.
Race No. 1
On Saturday, Lone Star Racing’s Mike Skeen started from the pole and led early in his Mercedes-AMG GT3. Vilander gave chase in the Ferrari. Skeen was every bit of a match for Vilander, but it was the pit stop that changed the direction of the race.
The minimum amount of time that teams had to spend on pit road during their mandatory stop was 77 seconds. The R. Ferri Motorsport team spent 77.3 seconds in the pits, while Lone Star Racing was in for a shade over 80. That was more than enough for the No. 61 Ferrari with Molina at the wheel to jump the No. 80 Mercedes with Scott Heckert driving.
Further back, GMG Racing’s Mathieu Jaminet collided with K-PAX Racing’s Andy Soucek immediately after leaving the pits in turn 1, spinning both cars out. While Soucek was able to continue with a bashed in door, Jaminet was forced to retire for the day.
Molina was slowly able to open up the gap over Heckert and was able to hold on for the win. CRP Racing’s Daniel Morad and Fabien Schiller were second, followed by Heckert and Skeen. Pfaff Motorsports’ Scott Hargrove and Wolf Henzler were fourth, followed by K-PAX Racing’s Soucek and Àlvaro Parente.
In the Pro-Am subdivision, TR3 Racing’s Wei Lu and Jeff Segal were the class of the field early, but TruSpeed AutoSport’s Ryan Dalziel ran down the No. 31 Ferrari late in the going. Contact was made on the final lap, putting Dalziel off the road. Afterwards, Segal took full blame for the contact.
Segal went on to win on the road in fifth overall. However, a 72-second penalty for avoidable contact was assessed post-race, dropping Lu and Segal to 11th. K-PAX Racing’s Rodrigo Baptista and Maxime Soulet inherited the win and fifth-place overall. Dream Racing Motorsport’s Alessandro Bressan and Yuki Harata were second, followed by Black Swan Racing’s Jeroen Bleekemolen and Tim Pappas. Squadra Corse Garage Italia’s Ferrari for Caesar Bacarella and Martin Fuentes won the Am class.
In GT Cup, Kelly-Moss Road Racing’s Alan Metni dominated much of the proceedings. Unfortunately, a late spin in turn 11 cost him the victory. Topp Racing’s David Baker took the class lead when Metni spun and held on for the win on the track. However, both Metni and Baker were given 42-second post-race penalties for pit infractions. That gave the victory to P1 Motorsports’ JC Perez in his Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo.
Race No. 2
Before being penalized, Segal set the fastest lap time in Race No. 1, giving TR3 Racing the overall pole. Segal was able to hold off Molina for only a couple of laps before the Ferrari factory racer was able to slip past in turn 20. Heckert was able to follow Molina past into second and was able to keep up until the pit stops.
The pit stops kept the status quo. From there, Vilander was able to keep a steady gap between himself and Skeen on the way to another win.
The margin of victory was 2.5 seconds for Vilander and Molina over Skeen and Heckert. Hargrove and Henzler were third, followed by Morad and Schiller. Parente and Soucek were fifth in class.
In Pro-Am, Lu and Segal managed to keep everything clean on Sunday. After dropping out of the overall lead, Segal was able to hold steady in third overall until the stops. With Lu back in the car, the No. 31 dropped to fourth overall, but that was more than enough for TR3 Racing to take the Pro-Am victory, this time with no penalties. Baptista and Soulet were second, followed by Dalziel and Parker Chase in their repaired TruSpeed Audi.
The Am class was led flag-to-flag by Bacarella and Fuentes to take the weekend sweep. In GT Cup, Perez was able to beat Metni on the road to take the weekend sweep in his purple and black Lamborghini.
Pirelli World Challenge GT teams return to action in three weeks in Long Beach on the undercard of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Round No. 3 of the GT Sprint season is scheduled for Sunday, April 15. The race will be streamed live at 1 p.m. EDT, then air later that day via tape delay on CBS Sports Network.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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