Miguel Molina and Toni Vilander combined for a dominating victory in Saturday’s Blancpain GT World Challenge America opener at Sonoma Raceway, while Squadra Corse took its fifth Am class victory of the campaign.
Pro. Molina led from the pole and stayed out front throughout his stint, building up a 12-second lead in his first race at Sonoma. After a slight miscue during their pit stop, co-driver Vilander then charged back and regained the lead in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3, gradually pulling away and taking the checkered flag by 2.246 seconds.
“It was good fun,” Vilander said. “It was a new track for both of us, and also for most of our team. This is a hard track for the tires, so basically, Miguel earned the victory for us at the beginning – such an awesome pace.”
“It was all about tire management at the beginning,” Molina said. “We had huge degradation of the tires, and we didn’t expect this – we were six seconds slower than in qualifying. But at the beginning, I could build a real gap, and we know that the Ferrari is one of the best cars at managing the tires in the field, and that was a good advantage. We are happy—to win a race is always a good sign!”
It was their third victory of the season, and unofficially allowed the R. Ferri Motorsport drivers to stretch their championship advantage from one to 11 points. Vilander will start from the outside of the front row for Sunday’s 90-minute race, posting the fastest qualifying lap of the Pro drivers.
Pro-Am. Andy Lally – running his first race in a Ferrari – joined Chris Cagnazzi in a sixth-place class finish in the No. 19 One11 Competition Ferrari 488 GT3. The team also ran the No. 99 Ferrari 488 GT3 for Alfred Caiola and Matt Plumb, who finished eighth.
Patrick Byrne and Guy Cosmo qualified sixth in their first race in the TR3 Racing with Ferrari No. 31 Torxen Ferrari 488 GT3. Cosmo was running fifth with 31 laps in the books, but was forced to drop out before the end of the race to claim a 10th place finish.
TR3 Racing’s Cosmo qualified fourth for the Sunday race, running 1:38.229-seconds. Lally was eighth fastest in One11 Competition’s No. 19 Ferrari, 1:38.772, while Plumb was 10th fastest in the No. 99, running a quick time of 1:38.989-seconds.
Am. Squadra Corse continued its dominance in the Am category, winning its fifth race in five attempts in 2019 competition. Bacarella ran as high as sixth overall before his pit stop in the No. 7 Garage Italia Ferrari 488 GT3 before turning the car over to Martin Fuentes, who led the rest of the way.
Sunday’s Race. Sunday’s 90-minute race is set to start at 11:15 a.m. PT. The event will be streamed live on gt-world-challenge-america.com, and will also be broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network.