Race Weekend Central

Toni Vilander Wins PWC Grand Prix of Long Beach Pole

R. Ferri Motorsport’s Toni Vilander set a PWC track record with a lap of 78.436 seconds (90.326 mph) Saturday (April 14) en route to earning for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Long Beach.  It is Vilander’s second Sprint pole of 2018, having previously won the pole for Round No. 1 at St. Petersburg.

Vilander’s lap was two-tenths of a second faster than CRP Racing’s Daniel Morad in the lone Mercedes.  TR3 Racing’s Daniel Mancinelli upped his performance from 2017 and will start third in his No. 31 Ferrari.  Alec Udell will start fourth, while Alegra Motorsports’ Michael Christensen will start fifth.

In GTA, Dream Racing Motorsport’s Yuki Harata surprised a number of onlookers by winning the class pole with a lap of 79.157 seconds (89.503 mph).  The session did not pass without trouble, though.  Harata slid into the the wall while trying to improve and bent a rear wing endplate.

Harata’s lap, good enough for seventh overall, was less than three-hundredths of a second faster than Squadra Corse Garage Italia’s Martin Fuentes.  K-PAX Racing’s Rodrigo Baptista was third quickest.

In the GTS Invitational, Compass Racing’s Paul Holton topped the chart with a lap of 85.930 seconds (82.449 mph).  Holton’s McLaren was three-tenths of a second faster than Harry Gottsacker in the No. 69 SIN R1 GT4 for Racers Edge Motorsports.   Unfortunately, Gottsacker’s car failed post-qualifying technical inspection.  As a result, Gottsacker will have to start at the rear of the field.

Gottsacker’s penalty results in The Racers Group’s Spencer Pumpelly moving up to second in class.  Bob Michaelian was quickest in GTSA (third overall in GTS) with a lap of 86.692 seconds (81.724 mph), good enough for 18th overall.  Black Swan Racing’s Jeff Ward will start fourth.


The Grand Prix of Long Beach is scheduled to go green at 12:50 p.m. EDT Sunday afternoon.  It will be streamed live at World-Challenge.com.  The race will premiere on CBS Sports Network on April 22 at 3 p.m.

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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