Vilander, Molina and R. Ferri Motorsport double up at COTA

Vilander and Molina
Vilander and Molina

The Ferrari brand swept all three Pirelli World Challenge GT SprintX classes Sunday at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in the Grand Prix of Texas led by Toni Vilander and Miguel Molina co-driving the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 for the second round GT SprintX race.

Vilander the past LeMans champion from Finland, and Molina, the factory Ferrari driver from Spain, drove to another impressive win Sunday in the 60-minute, two-driver feature by defeating the No. 80 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 pair of Mike Skeen and Scott Heckert by 2.521-seconds in the 28-lap Round 2 contest in the Pro-Pro category.

Another Ferrari victory came in the GT SprintX Pro-Am class with Jeff Segal of Miami, Fla., and Wei Lu of Vancouver, B.C., Canada co-driving the No. 31 Ferrari of Vancouver/TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 over the No. 3 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 duo of Rodrigo Baptista of Brazil and Maxine Soulet of Belgium.

And the Am-Am class victory went to former GTA champion Martin Fuentes of Mexico City, Mex., and Caesar Bacarella of Miami, Fla., in the No. 07 Squadra Corse Garage Italia/Hublot Ferrari 488 GT3.

Hardly anyone showed up to see the No. 61 win both Saturday and Sunday
Hardly anyone showed up to see the No. 61 win both Saturday and Sunday

“I found a good pace at the beginning," said Molina, who began the one-hour event for R. Ferri Motorsport Sunday. “I overtook the white Ferrari in the last corner early. Things were a bit easier after that when I started to find my own rhythm and pace. After that I tried to just increase the gap as much as possible to make Toni (Vilander's) job easier in the car. Today, we struggled a little bit more than we did yesterday, but what matters is that we scored our second consecutive win. We are really happy with everything and we're doing a good job together, especially since this was my first race with Toni and the team. I think there's no better way to start the season or a championship than this weekend."

“I think overall what mixes up the field a little bit is that we have a limited amount of tires," said Vilander. “Some cars in the field had sticky tires, some had used tires and some had qualifying tires. We did a later stop – everything worked out to plan. I had the gap but the Mercedes behind me was closing quite aggressively. I was building up the tire pressures and temperatures because I thought it would be a difficult race. So, I still kept pushing and the car started feeling better and better each lap. I saw behind me that they were going into some corners side-by-side. There were cars that we were lapping in traffic and I knew that was the key moment. I think that was the crucial moment. What's funny that you might not see out there is that every session, we had a very different setup from yesterday’s race."

The Pirelli World Challenge GT SprintX Rounds 3 and 4 are on the SprintX schedule at VIRginia International Raceway in Danville, Va., on April 27-29. The next PWC GT Sprint event will be a GT/GTS event in the streets of Long Beach, Calif., as part of the 44th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13-15.

Results

Pos PIC Class Name Hometown Car Laps Status Race Time Gap

1 1 Pro/Pro Vilander/Molina R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 28 Running 1:01:30.772

2 2 Pro/Pro Skeen/Heckert Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 28 Running 1:01:33.293 2.521

3 3 Pro/Pro Hargrove/Henzler Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (991) 28 Running 1:01:34.938 4.166

4 1 Pro/Am Segal/Lu TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 28 Running 1:01:46.937 16.165

5 4 Pro/Pro Morad/Schiller CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 28 Running 1:01:48.056 17.284

6 2 Pro/Am Baptista/Soulet K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 28 Running 1:01:49.719 18.947

7 5 Pro/Pro Parente/Soucek K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 28 Running 1:01:56.257 25.485

8 6 Pro/Pro Christensen/Pumpelly Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (991) 28 Running 1:02:00.020 29.248

9 3 Pro/Am Chase/Dalziel TruSpeed AutoSport Audi R8 LMS 28 Running 1:02:09.536 38.764

10 7 Pro/Pro Udell/Jaminet GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (991) 28 Running 1:02:29.393 58.621

11 4 Pro/Am Harata/Bressan Dream Racing Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 28 Running 1:02:38.697 1:07.925

12 5 Pro/Am Pappas/Bleekemolen Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (991) 28 Running 1:02:53.960 1:23.188

13 1 Am Fuentes/Bacarella Squadra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari 488 GT3 28 Running 1:03:09.104 1:38.332

14 2 Am Askew DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 28 Running 1:03:20.295 1:49.523

15 1 Perez P1 Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo 27 Running 1:02:42.159 1 LAP

16 2 Metni AM Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup MY 2014-2016 27 Running 1:02:44.056 1 LAP

17 3 Baker Topp Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup MY 2014-2016 27 Running 1:02:44.302 1 LAP

18 4 Amaduzzi/Hardwick Dream Racing Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan Super

Trofeo 27 Running 1:02:54.998 1 LAP

19 8 Pro/Pro Heilwitz/Curran Callaway Competition USA Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R 25 Not Running 56:20.472 3 LAPS

20 5 Radisic/Roberts Precision Driving Ferrari 458 Challenge 0 NC

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