Writer’s Note: The following is a recap of today’s first race of the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge season from the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. NBCSN will broadcast the race on Sunday, April 6 at 5:30 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…
Series GT newcomer Tomas Enge and defending GTS class champion Lawson Aschenbach were victorious in today’s season-opener for the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge championship on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. In addition, Andrew Palmer earned the first win in the series’ new GT-A subcategory for gentlemen drivers.
This weekend was supposed to see the GT and GTS classes compete in two races on the 1.8-mile St. Pete street course, but a heavy storm and a lack of track time afterwards wound up cancelling Saturday’s race. Qualifying times from Saturday set the grid for Sunday’s race, and only single-event points were awarded.
Enge had a poor standing start from the GT pole position, but marched to the front of the field during Sunday’s 50-minute race. With almost five minutes left, he capped off his comeback in the No. 25 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 with a bold inside pass of Andy Pilgrim and his No. 8 Cadillac Racing CTS-V.R in Turn 1 that proved to be the race winner.
Pilgrim placed second, while Palmer finished third overall in the No. 21 GMG Racing Audi R8 Ultra after dueling with Anthony Lazzaro and Nick Mancuso in their R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italias. Lazzaro ended up fourth, while Mancuso picked up fifth (second in GT-A).
In GTS, Aschenbach took the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro to Victory Lane after taking advantage of slower traffic to make the race-winning pass on Andy Lee (No. 20 Best IT/Crown 7 Chevrolet Camaro) at Lap 26.
Jack Baldwin, who swept both St. Pete races last year in GTS, earned a third-place result in his No. 73 GTSport Porsche Cayman S. Tony Buffomonte (No. 33 Capaldi Racing/Ford Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302S) and Jack Roush Jr. (No. 60 ROUSH Road Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302R) completed the Top 5 in GTS.
The Pirelli World Challenge will be back in action Sunday, April 13 on the Streets of Long Beach, California as part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend.