R. Ferri Motorsport’s Miguel Molina and Toni Vilander took advantage of CRP Racing’s misfortune to claim overall victory in GT SprintX Race No. 2 at Lime Rock Park Monday afternoon (May 28). The duo led for the vast majority of the race, but it wasn’t necessarily supposed to be that way.
CRP Racing’s Raffaele Marciello won the pole for Race No. 2 by turning in the fastest lap in Race No. 1. During that race, side-to-side contact bent some of the bodywork. According to Daniel Morad on the stream of the race, the bent bodywork caused the car to overheat. The overheating triggered an electrical problem.
The result of that issue was that Marciello had to pit just as the field was coming to green, forcing the start to be waved off. Once the green flew, Molina blasted out into the lead with Alegra Motorsports’ Michael Christensen giving chase.
The status quo was preserved until the mid-race pit stops. Here, Molina was able to get in, swap out of the car for Vilander and maintain his advantage. Meanwhile, Spencer Pumpelly exited the pits right into a battle with K-PAX Racing’s Àlvaro Parente. The two-time Lime Rock winner battled hard and eventually snagged the position away. Pumpelly tried to come back and even attempted a bump n’ run on the Bentley, but Parente was able to hold serve.
Once clear of Pumpelly, Parente quickly ran down Vilander and challenged the Finnish veteran for the lead. Parente tried, but he could never quite get the Bentley alongside. Eventually, Vilander was able to pull away from Parente. Traffic helped Parente stay in touch, but he could do nothing to prevent Vilander and Molina from earning their third SprintX win of the year.
Parente and teammate Andy Soucek had to settle for second, 2.5 seconds back.
“I think [Molina and Vilander] were very smart,” Parente told Frontstretch after the race. “They had the quickest car and they only showed it on that race because they had a little pressure from behind from me. They had the pace to win this weekend and that was it.”
In Pro-Am, Black Swan Racing’s Jeroen Bleekemolen claimed the pole by turning in the fastest Pro-Am lap of Race No. 1. With Marciello pitting before the green, Bleekemolen spent the first half of the race running as high as third overall, every bit as fast as the Pro-Pro drivers.
Then, Bleekemolen handed over to team owner/driver Tim Pappas. Pappas simply doesn’t have the speed that Bleekemolen does, and it showed. K-PAX Racing’s Rodrigo Baptista ran down Pappas shortly after the pit stops were concluded and took the class lead. From there, Baptista pulled away to take his and teammate Maxime Soulet‘s fourth Pro-Am win in six races.
Pirelli World Challenge teams will take the next couple of weeks off before returning to action at Road America on the undercard of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ KOHLER Grand Prix the weekend of June 22-24. There, the GT, GTA, GT Cup (if applicable) and GTS classes will race together in two sprint races.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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