California driver makes great 1st corner move to grab the lead in Round 5 GT race
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Veteran Patrick Long of Manhattan Beach, Calif., made a sensational first turn move with his No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R and held off Saturday GT race winner Adderly Fong to score his second 2017 Pirelli World Challenge victory Sunday at famed Road America in the PWC Grand Prix presented by VP Racing Fuels.
Long, the 2011 PWC GT champion, started second next to Fong on the front row of the 24-car GT field and drove his Porsche sports car deep into the first turn of the four-mile road circuit in the 50-minute sprint race. Fong, who won his first PWC GT race Saturday in the No. 88 Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3, pressured Long throughout the Round 5 event but had to settle for runner-up, just 0.239 seconds behind the winner.
The finish tied the closed GT race of the year as the duo of Daniel Mancinelli and Andrea Montermini defeated Mike Skeen and Andrew Davis by 0.239 seconds at VIRGinia International Raceway in the 2017 opening SprintX GT contest.
The win for Long was his tenth in his Pirelli World Challenge career and unofficially opened a 17-point advantage in the GT Sprint point standings over last year’s GT champion Alvaro Parente, 117-100, as the PWC tour moves to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 28-30 in Lexington, Ohio.
“These PWC weekends, it’s so close between all the manufacturers so you have to seize track position by getting a qualifying lap in that first race which is unique in this championship,” said Long. “Then every single lap there wasn’t a millimeter of road left to try to stay ahead of Adderly since he was on his game all weekend. I think he had the car to beat. Sometimes, it’s the scenario that gives you that rewarding feeling over a weekend and certainly I think we squeezed a little bit extra out of the car. That’s how we’re going to try to put a championship together. Michael (Cooper) and Johnny (O’Connell) were strong all weekend and it could have gone Michael’s way just as easily for points.
“But that’s what PWC is about. It’s a long championship with doubleheaders every weekend and you have to fight for points every single race. Those first few laps are certainly really tight racing. That’s where staying out of the mix and qualifying up front is so important on a track like this. It’s so high-speed and there’s a lot of dirty air and having track position is a huge thing when straight-line speeds are so close among all of us.”
“Patrick (Long) had an excellent run at the start and managed to hold the outside line,” said Fong. “We gave each other some racing room, and we got through cleanly in the first corner. Patrick kept his laps really clean and I just couldn’t find any opportunity to get close. It’s a shame about the red flag; I think having a full run would have been more strategic on the tires. Ultimately at the end, we just pushed 100% because we had a lot of tire left. I saw I was a little bit quicker in the ‘kink’ so I thought I had a chance at Canada Corner but I wasn’t quite close enough and Patrick pushed his car perfectly every time. So, congratulations to him.”
The 50-minute Road America race on Sunday was shortened to 13 laps due to a red flag incident on lap four when Jon Fogarty, Ryan Eversley and Peter Kox were involved in a high-speed mishap which took Fogarty’s No. 99 GAINSCO/Stallings Racing “Red Dragon” Porsche 911 GT3 R and Kox’s No. 93 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 sports cars out of the event.
The red flag period was approximately eighteen minutes Sunday for cleanup of the track and barrier repair.
Long regained his margin over Fong at the restart on lap five to hold back the Bentley driver with four-time PWC GT champion Johnny O’Connell placing third in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R., just 1.895 second behind Long at the checkered flag.
Rounding out the top-five Sunday at Road America were Mancinelli of Italy in the No. 31 TR3 Racing/The Collection Ferrari 488 GT3 and Cooper in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R, who entered the weekend as the overall GT point leader.
“All of the fast guys are very, very competitive,” said O’Connell, the sports car legend from Flowery Branch, Ga., “Yesterday (Saturday) was frustrating after a first lap spin, especially when you’re fighting for the win. This has not been a season of great luck for us. Congratulations to Adderly for Saturday’s win as he put on a really strong drive. Today (Sunday), I really needed Adderly to throw some moves at Patrick (Long) in order for me to close the gap that I had to. I think if I had a long run, I might have been able to get in there and make things interesting. You’re able to plan an attack and monitor your pace accordingly but I needed that seventeen minutes (of lost race time).”
In the GTA category, veteran James Sofronas of Villa Park, Calif., score his second class win of the weekend in the No. 14 GMG Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R over John Potter of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi RS8 LMS and Tim Pappas of Boston, Mass., in the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AM GT3.
“The Porsche 911 GT3 R was running great,” said Sofronas, who also won at Long Beach this year. “It actually wasn’t as good as yesterday but you have to pick your battles. I saw (Michael) Schein go out which is a bummer. I feel bad for him, but then I decided to just back it down get the points and just save the car. At this point, it’s about a GTA Sprint point championship, trying to do the best we can.”
Marko Radisic of Serbia took top honors in the GT Cup division Sunday in his No. 11 Precision Driving Ferrari Challenge Evo in a tight battle with Yuki Harata of Japan in the No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo. Radisic was just six tenths of second ahead at the checkered flag in the 50-minute race.
The Pirelli World Challenge now travels to Mid-Ohio for Rounds 6 and 7 of GT/GTA classes and Rounds 5 and 6 of GT Cup on July 28-30 at the popular 2.25-mile, 12-turn road course.
Results from GT/GTA Rd.4 and GT Cup Rd.3 Competition at the Grand Prix of Road America Presented by VP Racing Fuels on June 25, 2017. All results are provisional until posted Final.
1,1, Pro,Patrick LONG,Manhattan Beach, CA,Porsche 911 GT3 R,13,Running,50:47.583,
2,2, Pro,Adderly FONG,Hong Kong,Bentley Continental GT3,13,Running,50:47.822,0.239
3,3, Pro,Johnny O’CONNELL,Flowery Branch, GA,Cadillac ATS-V.R,13,Running,50:49.478,1.895
4,4, Pro,Daniel MANCINELLI,Italy,Ferrari 488 GT3,13,Running,50:54.389,6.806
5,5, Pro,Michael COOPER,Syosset, NY,Cadillac ATS-V.R,13,Running,50:54.783,7.200
6,6, Pro,Alvaro PARENTE,Porto, Portugal,McLaren 650S GT3,13,Running,50:56.153,8.570
7,7, Pro,Alec UDELL,The Woodlands, TX,Porsche 911 GT3 R,13,Running,50:59.683,12.100
8,8, Pro,Ryan EVERSLEY,Atlanta, GA,Acura NSX GT3,13,Running,50:59.846,12.263
9,9, Pro,Ryan DALZIEL,Windermere, FL,Mercedes AMG GT3,13,Running,51:00.496,12.913
10,10, Pro,Bryan SELLERS,Braselton, GA,McLaren 650S GT3,13,Running,51:02.245,14.662
11,11, Pro,Pierre KAFFER,Germany,Audi RS 8 LMS,13,Running,51:07.196,19.613
12,1, Am,James SOFRONAS,Villa Park, CA,Porsche 911 GT3 R,13,Running,51:11.400,23.817
13,2, Am,John POTTER,Salt Lake City, UT,Audi RS 8 LMS,13,Running,51:12.177,24.594
14,3, Am,Tim PAPPAS,Boston, MA,Mercedes AMG GT3,13,Running,51:12.644,25.061
15,12, Pro,Alexandre NEGRAO,Campinas, Brazil,Mercedes AMG GT3,13,Running,51:13.343,25.760
16,4, Am,Marc MUZZO,Toronto, ON/ Hialeah, FL,Ferrari 458 GT3,13,Running,51:26.673,39.090
17,5, Am,Mike MCCANN,North Canton, OH,Audi RS 8 LMS,13,Running,51:30.453,42.870
18,6, Am,Preston CALVERT,Potomac, MD,Porsche 911 GT3 R,13,Running,51:35.451,47.868
19,7, Am,Jorge DE LA TORRE,McAllen. TX,Aston Martin Vantage GT3,13,Running,52:03.678,1:16.095
20,1, GT Cup,Marko RADISIC,Belgrade, Serbia,Ferrari Challenge Evo,13,Running,52:14.530,1:26.946
21,2, GT Cup,Yuki HARATA,Japan,Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo,13,Running,52:15.165,1:27.582
22,13, Pro,Peter KOX,Eindhoven, Netherlands,Acura NSX GT3,3,Not Running,11:07.146,10 LAPS
23,14, Pro,Jon FOGARTY,Bend, Oregon,Porsche 911 GT3 R,3,Not Running,11:07.893,10 LAPS
24,8, Am,Michael SCHEIN,Glen Cove, NY,Porsche 911 GT3 R,0,Not Running,0.000