It was a big weekend for Ferrari teams in Upstate New York after R. Ferri Motorsport and Squadra Corsa completed a sweep at Watkins Glen International by winning their respective classes in Sunday’s Blancpain GT World Challenge America event.
PRO. Toni Vilander and Daniel Serra both made passes in Turn 8 of the historic circuit to take the lead in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3, which scored its fifth victory of the season.
“It could not be any better,” said team owner Remo Ferri. “I think we did a great job, with two great guys. The weekend turned out very, very good.”
Pole-sitter Vilander lost the lead at the drop of the green flag, but regained it with an inside pass in the “Heel of the Boot,” Turn 8 of the 3.4-mile circuit. The opposing driver attempted to cut in on the Ferrari but spun, giving the lead to Vilander,
“It basically came down to the start,” Vilander explained. “We have agreed on a starting zone, but the starter waved the flag 50 meters earlier, so Maxime [Soulet] was actually in front of me, and was pulling away. He was pushing really hard, and he made a mistake coming out of Turn 7. I went to the right-hand side, and he blocked; I went to the left-hand side, he blocked. We got down to Turn 8. I got down to the first gear, and I touched him. I didn’t feel the touch inside the car, but it’s very unfortunate; I’m not here to spin any of the cars. At this age I will race clean – I’ve done my crazy battles in the past!”
SRO officials quickly ruled the contact a racing incident, with no penalties.
Co-driver Serra found himself in second when he took over at the midway point. He patiently bided his time until seeing an opportunity in the Boot, and took the lead with a dive to the inside in Turn 8. He led the rest of the way, winning by 3.993 seconds.
“It was supposed to be an easy race, because Toni had a bit of a gap,” said Serra, racing in the series for the first time in a substitute role for Miguel Molina. “But we lost a bit of time in the pits, and I was behind an Acura that was much faster than us on the straights. It was real difficult to overtake him, I had to wait for a mistake. Then Alvaro [Parente] arrived, and then it was like qualifying every lap until the end! But it was nice to come here and help them extend their lead.”
With the victory, Vilander extended his lead to 28 points with only four races remaining.
AM. Starting third in class, Martin Fuentes took advantage on the opening lap after two cars spun and the championship leader moved to the lead. He and new co-driver Mark Issa led the rest of the way, giving the No. 61 Squadra Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 its fourth weekend sweep of the season in as many attempts.
Issa, running his first weekend in World Challenge America competition, drove a clean final stint to clinch the victory. Squadra Corsa and Fuentes have now won 16 of their last 17 races, unofficially clinching their second consecutive Am championship at The Glen.
Anthony Lazzaro started on the pole in the No. 19 One11 Motorsports Ferrari, but spun on the opening lap. Lazzaro and Chris Cagnazzi ran second the rest of the way, finishing 14.967 seconds behind the winner.
ROAD AMERICA NEXT. Only two weekends remain on the Blancpain GT World Challenge America schedule. Rounds 11 and 12 will be held at Road America on Sept. 21-22. The season will wrap up at Las Vegas on Oct. 19-20.