Long Beach, Calif. (15 April 2018) – Ferrari was once again in Victory Circle at Long Beach, claiming a 1-2 result on Sunday following a fiercely fought 50-minute street race in the third round of the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge sprint season.
Ferrari factory driver Toni Vilander started from pole in the No. 61 Ferrari 488 GT3 for R. Ferri Motorsport and held the early advantage over the tightly-packed field for the first half of the race. A full course caution period set the stage for a furious 20-minute charge to the checkered flag as TR3 Racing driver Daniel Mancinelli made a decisive pass with his No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 to take the lead and hold on for his first win of the season in his first start of the year.
“After the safety car, I was struggling a bit with the grip in some key corners and he (Mancinelli) is in a different championship position so was willing to take some risks and had a good car to go to the lead,” said Vilander “It is a very good day for Ferrari-racing in America is important for us and we also had some success in Europe today (European LeMans victory) for Ferrari so it was a good day overall.”
Mancinelli’s move to the point on lap 27 was something the Italian ace had been building up to be able to pounce when the moment was right.
“I love street circuits! I knew we had a good race pace and the car was great,” said Mancinelli. “I was behind Toni (Vilander) and felt like I was a little bit quicker, but it was difficult to find a way by. I got some good momentum to get closer to him and had a good attack on him to take the position and he made the space for me for it to be clean. From there I just managed the car to take it to the finish. It is very special to get this result because it is such a historic track so it is very nice for a Ferrari 1-2 today.”
Martin Fuentes started from second on the grid as he looked to go three for three on the season after opening his 2018 account with a pair of victories in St. Petersburg. A late race scrap with the eventual GTA winner saw Fuentes forced to claw his way to the finish line for a second place finish in the No. 07 Ferrari 488 GT3 for Squadra Corse Garage Italia.