Ferrari came home with the overall victory in Saturday’s opening round of the Showdown in the Golden State at Sonoma Raceway, with the Squadra Corse duo of Martin Fuentes and Rodrigo Baptista winning the fifth SRO GT World Challenge America race of the season. The victory marked the 300th victory in global competition for the Ferrari 488 GT3.
Pro-Am. Fuentes and Baptista not only dominated the Pro-Am category, they also took the overall victory in the No. 1 Hublot Ferrari 488 GT3. It was their second triumph of 2020, after taking the second race of the opening weekend at Circuit of The Americas.
Fuentes began the race in third and made the pass for the lead in the Pro-Am category on lap 21. He then turned the controls over to Rodrigo Baptista after the overall race leader mistakenly pitted before the pit window had opened. Rodrigo rejoined the race in second, but soon took the overall lead in the 90-minute contest as the car ahead served its drive-through penalty.
A caution for debris with 15 minutes remaining set up a 10-minute dash to the checkered flag but Baptista pulled away on the restart, and won by 2.074-seconds. The pair entered the race tied for the Pro-Am championship lead and the win moved the duo to the top of the standings with a 10-point advantage ahead of Sunday’s race.
Further back, a loose ground clip during a pit stop for the No. 24 Ferrari 488 GT3 led to a drive-through penalty that cost Ziad Ghandour and Jeff Segal a podium finish. Ghandour ran third early in his stint before falling to fourth. Picking up the pace during the final 10 minutes before pitting, the Ferrari Challenge driver demonstrated his experience and was able to fight for the podium position prior to his stop.
Quick pit work got Segal out in third place, leading long-time rivals Colin Braun and Ryan Dalziel. The penalty, however, dropped him to seventh and fifth in Pro-Am – a position he held to the finish.
“The ground clip that’s obliged to be attached to the car during refueling fell off,” Segal explained. “Tiny little mistake – big, big consequences. It would have been fun racing Colin (Braun) and Ryan (Dalziel), but that’s how it goes. Tomorrow’s another day.”
Segal is looking for a better result when he starts fourth on Sunday.
“I think we’ve got a good car and a good shot for tomorrow,” Segal said. “It’s good on the long runs. I hope it’s hotter tomorrow, and with no safety car, I think we’ve got a shot.”