SALINAS, Calif. – Martin Barkey of Huntsville, Ont., Canada won his first GTS event in the Round 18 50-minute sprint race Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the Pirelli World Challenge Championships Finale Weekend presented by Nissan at MRLS. Barkey took a 6.1-second win at the legendary 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course near the Monterey Bay.
The driver of the No. 80 MBRP/Sportlab/Sawmill Creative KTM X-Bow GT4 defeated sixteen-year-old Nate Stacy of Owasso, Okla, in the No. 14 Roush Performance Road Racing Ford Boss 302 and Brett Sandberg of Allendale, N.J., in the No. 13 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4.
Sandberg’s third place finish unofficially clinched the GTS Driver’s Championship, while Ford provisionally clinched the GTS Manufacturer’s title.
Rounding out the top-five in the GTS Saturday feature were Anthony Mantella of Toronto, Ont., Canada in the No. 8 Mantella Autosport KTM X-Bow and four-time PWC series champion Lawson Aschenbach of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro.
When the green flag flew, pole winner Scott Heckert of Ridgefield, Conn., jumped into the lead with his No. 54 Racer’s Edge SIN R1 GT4 over Barkey and Mantella.
On lap six of the 33 lap event, Barkey closed to the bumper of Heckert with Aschenbach in third. By lap 12, Heckert was forced to retire from the event due to a mechanical issue and Barkey took the advantage. Barkey extend his lead to 3.132 seconds over Aschenbach on lap 15 as Sandberg, a three-time winner in 2016, moved into the fourth position.
With Aschenbach’s Camaro losing traction late in the contest, Stacy slipped into second place and saw Aschenbach fighting off Sandberg and Mantella.
In turn 11 on the final lap, Aschenbach attempted to hold off Sandberg and Mantella for the final spot on the podium but the Camaro driver could not get enough traction off the slow corner and Sandberg and Mantella were able to push by as Barkey secured the race at the checkered flag.
Sandberg’s move unofficially gave him the point finish necessary to secure the GTS driver’s title over Aschenbach while Stacy’s runner-up placing moves the teenager into third in the current GTS standings.
“I’m so thrilled to have won today and just to race with the talented drivers in the GTS division,” said Barkey. “I have been fortunate enough to have a second and third but winning is very special. I didn’t know if we had a car to win it today at the start. But the race played into our hands. I thought (Scott) Heckert was going to check out at the start. I didn’t think we had something for him today. But there was a cloud of dust going into turn six and I broke earlier and Heckert went wide. That opened up the room for me to go by. Then it was just an opportunity to open up a gap in the lead. I’m relatively new in racing and I come for the battles on the track. And luckily, it wasn’t much of a battle after that. But I’m going to take it regardless and I’m thrilled with the victory.”
“I had a bit of a rough start as I had a bump with Scott Dollahite at the start,” said Stacy, the Sonoma GTS winner. “I went into the tire wall in qualifying and the crew thrashed furiously to get the Mustang ready for the race today. I was surprised the car was ready to go. I saw my dad (Mike) pounding away with a mallet on the fenders and I decided to walk away from the garage at that point. While Brett won the championship, I’m still racing now with Lawson for second in points. And Lawson is a very good and talented driver. Unfortunately, we have to start last on Sunday due to the crash in qualifying. We had to change front tires after the wreck. I was trying to catch Martin at the end today but we didn’t have enough time left. So now we’ll try to make a ‘Hail Mary’ from the back of the field on Sunday.”
“I don’t think it has really set in yet on winning the championship,” said Sandberg. “I was focused on trying to run a clean and smart race today. We had real battle with the car all weekend. We finally got it working pretty well before qualifying. I didn’t want to get into any battles with anyone today as we knew the situation with the point championship. Overall, ANSA Motorsports, Reiter Engineering and KTM did an incredible job developing the car and making it a contender throughout the year. It has not been easy at all. We have had hurtle after hurtle and issues that we didn’t expect. The crew guys worked their rear ends off all year to improve the car. So this title is credit to the team’s hard work. To be honest, I didn’t know where the points would fall today. So I didn’t try to force the issue during the race. I knew we needed a good finish.”
Round 18 GTS additional rewards and recognitions were determined as follows:
The Optima Batteries Best Start award was given to No. 11 Tony Gaples in the Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro for his 5-position gain at the start of the race.
The KIA Turning Point was determined to No. 19 Parker Chase in the Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta GT4 for his car’s wheel falling off and title points implication.
The Cadillac Best Move award was No. 14 Nate Stacy in the Roush Performance Ford Boss 302 passing Lawson Aschenbach in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro.
The VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger award was given to No. 62 Mark Klenin in the Klenin Performance Racing Maserati GranTurismo for a 5-position gain.
Fast lap of the race was establish by Martin Barkey on lap 7 at one minute, 31.962 second (1:31.962)
GTS drivers next take to the track for the final race of the season, Round 19, scheduled for 10:50 am Pacific/1:50 pm Eastern. The GTS race will be televised live online at motortrendondemand.com and follow live timing and scoring at http://livetiming.net/pwc/.
Monterey, CA – Results from Saturday, Oct 8, 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Championship GTS Round 18 Race Round 11, part of the Grand Prix Presented by NISSAN at MRLS. Results are provisional until posted Final.
Pos. PIC, Class, Name, Hometown, Car, Laps, Status
1. 1, GTS, Martin Barkey, Huntsville ON, KTM XBow GT4, 33, Running
2. 2, GTS, Nate Stacy, Owasso OK, Ford Boss 302, 33, Running
3. 3, GTS, Brett Sandberg, Allendale NJ, KTM XBow GT4, 33, Running
4. 4, GTS, Anthony Mantella, Toronto ON, KTM XBow GT4, 33, Running
5. 5, GTS, Lawson Aschenbach, Palm Bch Gardens FL, Chevrolet Camaro, 33, Running
6. 6, GTS, Harry Gottsacker, San Antonio TX, Ginetta GT4, 33, Running
7. 7, GTS, Tony Gaples, Libertyville IL, Chevrolet Camaro, 33, Runnin
8. 8, GTS, Mark Klenin, Lone Tree CO, MASERATI GranTurismo MC Trofeo, 33, Running
9. 9, GTS, Jason Alexandridis, Ashland OR, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 33, Running
10. 10, GTS, Bill Ziegler, Ponte Verdra FL, KTM XBow GT4, 33, Running
11. 11, GTS, Chris Beaufait, Brentwood TN, SIN R1 GT4, 32, Running
12. 12, GTS, Parker Chase, New Braunfels TX, Ginetta GT4, 23, Not Running
13. 13, , Jeff Courtney, Milwaukee WI, MASERATI GranTurismo MC Trofeo, 18, DNF
14. 14, , Scott Dollahite, Austin TX, Lotus Evora, 14, DNF
15. 15, , Scott Heckert, Ridgefield CT, SIN R1 GT4, 10, DNF