Crowdstrike Racing with Riley Motorsports’ George Kurtz ran down and passed TR3 Racing’s Ziad Ghandour with 29 minutes remaining for the lead Sunday (April 2). From there, he pulled away to take the overall win for himself and Colin Braun in Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS Race No. 2 at Sonoma Raceway.
“It’s just incredible,” Kurtz told SRO America’s Amanda Busick after the race. “The team did such a great job and we had excellent pace all weekend. We just needed to put it all together and have a little bit of luck.”
Braun and Kurtz’s margin of victory was 8.925 seconds over Ghandour and Daniel Morad. Wright Motorsports’ Adam Adelson and Elliott Skeer were third, followed by teammates Jan Heylen and Charlie Luck. Racers Edge Motorsports’ Mario Farnbacher and Ashton Harrison were fifth.
John Edwards started from pole in the Samantha Tan Racing BMW, but he did not hold the lead for long. On the first lap, Braun charged to the inside of Edwards in turn 7. Some contact was made, but Braun got by. Morad followed past into second.
The pit window shook the field up a little. Skeer stopped as soon as the pit window opened. Braun stopped a little later, but Morad stayed out until the last possible moment.
That strategy allowed Ghandour to get out first due to less fuel being necessary. His lead was roughly five seconds, but Kurtz ran him down quickly. He passed Ghandour for the lead in the turns 9a-9b chicane, then set sail to victory.
In the Pro class, Farnbacher started sixth overall, but first in class. He was able to move up to fifth overall early on while the rest of the Pro class fought among themselves.
While Farnbacher was clear of the rest of the Pro class drivers, he still had Pro-Am drivers to deal with. 24 minutes into the race, ACI Motorsport’s Spencer Pumpelly made a move to the inside in turn 11. Contact was made and Farnbacher spun.
The stewards determined that Pumpelly was responsible for the incident. As a result, he had to serve a drive-through penalty.
In the second half of the race, Harrison was on a roll in her Acura. She was lapping nearly as quickly as Farnbacher prior to his spin and knocked off her rivals, one by one.
Despite an off-course excursion in the Esses, Harrison was able to run down MDK Motorsports’ Seth Lucas and take the class lead with 20 minutes to go in turn 7. At first, Harrison drove away. Then, she fell into the clutches of Conquest Racing’s Manny Franco.
On the final lap of the race, Franco went to the inside of Harrison in turn 7, had contact with her, and took the lead. Harrison was undaunted, though.
In turn 11, she made a move to the inside of Franco’s Ferrari 296 GT3 for the lead. Some more contact was made, but Harrison made the pass for the win stick.
Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS teams are off for the next four weeks. The third round of the season will be April 29 at Louisiana’s NOLA Motorsports Park.
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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