R. Ferri Motorsport’s Miguel Molina and Toni Vilander dominated the Blancpain GT World Challenge America proceedings Saturday (June 8) at Sonoma Raceway. Starting from the overall pole, Molina was aggressive at the start and pulled out a good lead. Vilander was able to hold that advantage to bring home a flag-to-flag victory.
Molina started from the pole, but immediately came under threat from Wright Motorsports’ Scott Hargrove. Molina swung a little in turn 1a, which resulted in Hargrove dropping a wheel. That allowed just enough momentum for Molina to keep the lead, but for Rodrigo Baptista to take second away as well.
As Hargrove and Baptista continued to fight over second, Molina was able to stretch his advantage out that much more. The battle continued nearly to the halfway point as Molina ran off and hid from the field. Eventually, Hargrove was able to get the spot back from Baptista just before the pit window opened.
When the window opened, Molina chose to stay out for a period of time to continue putting down good laps while the rest of the field pitted. When he finally stopped to give way to Vilander, the team maintained the lead.
Once Vilander was in the car, he was able to hold onto the advantage, but not stretch the tires on his Ferrari. Despite not running to full potential, that was more than enough to give R. Ferri Motorsport the victory.
Molina and Vilander’s margin of victory was 2.246 seconds over the Bentley of K-PAX Racing’s Baptista and Maxime Soulet. The No. 9 Bentley of Àlvaro Parente and Maxime Soulet were third. Alegra Motorsports’ Wolf Henzler and Marco Holzer were fourth, while Hargrove and Patrick Long fell back to a fifth-place finish.
In Pro-Am, RealTime Racing’s Mike Hedlund led from the pole and continued to show excellent pace. He was able to get past Alegra Motorsports’ Daniel Morad on the first lap of the race to take fifth overall. From there, Hedlund was able to hold on that position, despite his general unfamiliarity with the Acura NSX GT3 Evo (he had never driven the car prior to Friday).
During the round of stops, the No. 43 Acura with Dane Cameron now at the wheel fell to sixth overall. He was able to force Michael de Quesada into going through the dirt at the turns 9a-b chicane late in the race. That allowed Cameron to re-assume fifth overall. He was able to hold that position to the finish in order to give RealTime Racing the class victory.
Cameron and Hedlund’s margin of victory was 13.408 seconds over the Porsche of Wright Motorsports’ Matt Campbell and Anthony Imperato. GMG Racing’s James Sofronas and Dirk Werner were third, followed by Gradient Racing’s Till Bechtolsheimer and Marc Miller. Fifth went to the Mercedes of DXDT Racing’s Colin Braun and George Kurtz.