Alex Figge was the biggest winner from the Pirelli World Challenge race weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The driver of the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 took his second and third wins of 2013 in the GT class, sweeping the weekend. Races air Sunday, August 18, at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
Bad luck has stunted his championship chances in the top class of the series, so his wins didn’t play a major role on the title chase. However, accident damage to his radiator cost Johnny O’Connell, in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R, a fair number of points in Round 12 on Sunday. A pair of podium finishes brought James Sofronas, in the No. 14 GMG Audi R8 LMS, to within 13 points of O’Connell with just two races remaining. Sofronas has three early-season wins.
In GTS, Mark Wilkins (Saturday) and Lawson Aschenbach (Sunday) took class wins. The win was the second for Wilkins of 2013 in the No. 38 Kinetic Motorsports Kia Optima turbo while Aschenbach captured his fifth win of 2013 in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro. Jack Baldwin, the No. 73 GTSport with Goldcrest Porsche Cayman S, had fourth and third place finishes and still leads Wilkins by 87 points for the GTS lead.
The pair of Touring Car and Touring Car B-Spec races on Saturday saw Michael Cooper (TC, both races), Ernie Francis Jr. (TCB race 1) and Robbie Davis (TCB race 2) take class victories. Cooper, in the No. 1 Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda 3, held off a sustained challenge from Tristan Herbert in race 1 and had an easier time of it in race 2. Francis Jr. (No. 98 Breathless Performance Mazda 2) wasn’t able to repeat his win in race 2 after being caught up in a first-lap accident, and Davis (No. 37 MINI of Charleston Racing MINI Cooper) held off Tyler Palmer for the latter win.
The full event coverage from Mid-Ohio can be found here on the Pirelli World Challenge website.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.