Writer’s Note: The following is a recap of this weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge events at Barber Motorsports Park. NBCSN will broadcast the events on Saturday, May 10 at 4 p.m. ET. If you don’t want to know who won until then, we suggest you find another post to read here on MotorSportsTalk…
After two events for the GT-based classes, the Touring Car categories joined in the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge Championship as it made a stop at Barber Motorsports Park.
However, while the GT contingent got their two races in this weekend, the TC groups were only able to have one as severe weather cancelled their Race 2 this afternoon; a make-up TC race will be determined and announced later.
GT/GTS/GT-A – Saturday
R. Ferri Motorsports had a doubly good Saturday as Anthony Lazzaro and Nick Mancuso claimed top honors in the GT and GT-A subcategory respectively.
On Lap 17, Lazzaro passed pole sitter Mancuso for the lead at Turn 5 as the two battled through slower traffic. Lazzaro would go on to claim the win over Cadillac Racing’s Johnny O’Connell, while Mancuso completed the overall GT podium by finishing third.
“It’s a huge deal for Remo (Ferri) to come to the third race and podium with both cars, after having both cars on the front row,” Lazzaro said. “We knew we’d be good here. We had a great setup for the race; it’s the best yet we’ve performed.”
In GTS, Mark Wilkins took advantage of contact between class pole sitter Jack Baldwin and Kia Racing teammate Nic Jonsson to take the lead and, eventually, his 10th career win in the PWC.
Jack Roush Jr. finished runner-up for his first PWC podium, while Baldwin soldiered on after his run-in with Jonsson to finish third.
GT/GTS/GT-A – Sunday
Lazzaro jumped GT pole sitter Andrew Palmer off the standing start for Sunday’s GT/GTS/GT-A race, but Palmer got his redemption when he passed Lazzaro on the final lap to win.
After putting wheels on the grass coming out of the Turn 10-11 complex, Lazzaro left an opportunity for Palmer, who took it and made the race-winning pass going into Turn 12.
“I pressured Lazzaro enough to make one small mistake and I capitalized,” said Palmer.
O’Connell tried to keep up with Lazzaro and Palmer as the race entered its final stages, but was unable to do so and was left to fend off Mancuso for the last spot on the GT podium.
Brazilian driver Marcelo Hahn finished 10th overall, which was enough to give him the win in GT-A.
GTS saw Baldwin lead wire-to-wire for his fifth career series win ahead of Jonsson and Lawson Aschenbach. The class race started inauspiciously with a four-car crash in Turn 1 involving the Ford Mustang Boss 302s of Roush Jr., Tony Buffomante, Dean Martin, and Alec Udell.
TC/TCB/TC-A – Saturday
Michael di Meo slipped to third position from the TC pole, but battled back to claim his first series win in just his third start.
di Meo took advantage of a battle for the lead between Jason Saini and Jon Miller and closed up to the pair. On Lap 14, he slipped by Saini for second and with six minutes left, he was able to pass Miller for the lead.
Race Control forced di Meo to give up the spot because of contact during that pass. But Miller retired soon after with a mechanical issue, enabling di Meo to inherit the lead. Saini would finish second and Adam Poland completed the TC podium.
In TC-A, Shea Holbrook and Jason Cherry locked horns throughout the 40-minute race but in the end, it was Holbrook that took home the trophy by a mere two-tenths of a second.
After swapping the lead several times up to that point, Cherry had taken it at Lap 13 only for Race Control to have him give it up because of – you guessed it – contact during the pass. Holbrook assumed P1 and was able to hold on for the remainder.
The fight for the TCB victory was settled primarily among three men: Brian Price, Tyler Palmer, and Johan Schwartz. Schwartz led the first 16 laps from pole position, but on Lap 17, Price was able to take the lead when he went by on Schwartz’s outside and Palmer’s inside at Turns 8-9.
Palmer would peel second off of Schwartz after that, but it was Price that led ’em all home – winning in his PWC debut and giving the Honda Fit its first victory since last year at Toronto. As for Palmer, he continued his impressive work in PWC with his ninth podium in 10 career PWC starts.