A suspension issue cost Squadra Corse a second-consecutive victory in Sunday’s closing race of the Showdown in the Golden State, although drivers Martin Fuentes and Rodrigo Baptista maintained the Pro-Am points lead in the SRO GT World Challenge America.
Pro-Am. Looking to back up their overall win from Saturday, Baptista ran a steady fifth overall throughout his opening stint – running third in Pro-Am – with Squadra Corse gaining two positions midway through the race with a lightning-fast pit stop and driver change. Fuentes took over the class lead moments later when a rival team was assessed a speeding penalty on pit road.
Fuentes was leading the Pro Am class and running third overall in the No. 1 Hublot Ferrari 488 GT3 when he briefly went off course with only five minutes remaining as he fought for second overall. Fuentes pitted for a new right-front tire, but the stop revealed suspension damage that ended their race though thankfully the duo had run for enough time to still score points despite the retirement.
Baptista and Fuentes have now tallied 108 points, and lead the series by five markers with three weekends of competition remaining.
After running further back for much of the race, Ziad Ghandour lost the final podium position on the last lap in the No. 24 T.I. Capital Ferrari 488 GT3 started by Jeff Segal. The Ferrari Challenge veteran fought back and regained the position with an aggressive pass – tapping his rival and causing him to spin – although the position gain was nullified following the race by race officials due to the contact.
Segal drove a solid opening stint in the car, pressuring Baptista while holding off Ryan Dalziel for more than 50 minutes. The pit lane exchanges saw the team lose track position, but Ghandour gradually worked his way back into podium contention in the final stages of the race before the late race drama derailed the effort.
Elkhart Lake Up Next. Rounds 7-8 of the SRO GT World Challenge America will be held on August 28-30 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. For additional information, visit gt-world-challenge-america.com.