R. Ferri Motorsport increased its lead in the Blancpain GT World Challenge America championship standings with a second-place finish on Sunday at Sonoma Raceway. The race was the second of the weekend as the World Challenge racers made the annual visit to the California circuit ahead of a lengthy summer break in the schedule.
Pro. Winners of the Saturday event, Toni Vilander and Miguel Molina took a close second-place finish in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488GT3 on Sunday.
After entering the weekend with a one-point advantage, the two drivers added three points to their championship advantage with the podium run on Sunday after adding eleven points on Saturday and unofficially now lead by 14-points with six races remaining.
Vilander started the race on used Pirelli tires from the outside of the front row and maintained that position throughout the opening half of the race. Molina took over in third following a very clean pit stop, when the team switched to sticker tires. He took over second with 32 minutes remaining, and came up just 1.332 seconds short of a second victory following a pair of late-race restarts.
“You get the chance to use four sets of tires since qualifying, so I started the race on used tires and the other teams were on stickers,” Vilander said. “The car is performing really well. I raced yesterday on sticker tires, and they were very good over the stint. But we need to also think about the championship, and Miguel did a clever job to finish well in the race.”
“It was good fun yesterday, and tire management was the key,” Molina said. “Today was another good day for us, and we tried to score good points to be up there in the championship.”
Pro-Am. Matt Plumb and Alfred Caiola led the Ferrari runners in the Pro-Am Cup class with a seventh-place finish, gaining two positions in the No. 99 One11 Ferrari 488 GT3 in the closing minutes. The pair finished eighth in the Saturday race.
It was a short race for the other two Ferraris in the class. Andy Lally was not as lucky in One11 Competition’s No. 19. He was tagged in the right-rear, knocked airborne and spun. He re-fired the car and continued, but pulled off moments later and retired. Chris Cagnazzi – who finished sixth with Lally on Saturday – did not get a chance to drive in the Sunday race.
Also encountering issues in the opening laps was TR3 Racing with the No. 31 Torxen Ferrari 488 GT3. Guy Cosmo parked the car late in Saturday’s race after the battery stopped charging due to problems with the belts. The team switched out several components and Cosmo started Sunday’s race fourth in the class. However, the issue returned during a full-course caution and the car was retired before Patrick Byrne had the opportunity to take the wheel.
Am. Martin Fuentes and Caesar Bacarella were credited with their sixth victory of the campaign despite suffering suspension damage in the second race. It was a challenging race, with the No. 7 Squadra Corse Racing with Ferrari 488 GT3 falling to the back of the pack when Fuentes pitted on lap one after a tire problem, but he managed regain overall positions prior to the race-ending incident suffered by Bacarella. Bacarella and Fuentes have now won 15 of the last 16 races the team has contested, including seven in a row.
Watkins Glen Next Three weekends remain in the 2019 campaign, with the next stop for the Blancpain GT World Challenge America August 31-September 1 at Watkins Glen International.