Runner-up Finish in Saturday Race at Sonoma Raceway Clinches Title
Sonoma, Calif. – Martin Fuentes only needed to finish in seventh position on Saturday to secure the Pirelli World Challenge GTA championship in the no. 07 Scuderia Corsa / HUBLOT Ferrari 458 Italia. However, he contended for the lead but ultimately finished in second position to emphatically claim the GTA championship.
Fuentes started the day with a big effort in qualifying, putting his Ferrari on pole position for the afternoon’s race. However, he lost the lead at the beginning of the race as he was forced to avoid a spinning GT-class car in the first corner. Despite falling to second position, Fuentes easily distanced the rest of the GTA field and after 50 minutes of racing, brought the Ferrari to the checkered flag in second position to win the championship.
Fuentes’ tally for the season now stands at nine victories and seven additional podium finishes.
“I’m very, very happy to be able to win this championship,” said Fuentes. “Of course, I was aiming for that first spot but we had to play a smart race and we couldn’t take any chances. We were really concentrating on the big picture and we had a very good Ferrari, so getting that second place meant we would bring the championship home.
“This is not a single man championship. The whole year, Scuderia Corsa gave us a great car and I’m thankful for everyone on our team – this is a full team championship, and it wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t have the best team on my side. Thank you to everyone who supports us all season – the team, sponsors, and fans. We are looking forward to a great season in 2017, and to these last two races of the season.”
For Scuderia Corsa, it is the team’s third championship in North American sports car racing, following the 2013 GRAND-AM GT-class championship and 2015 IMSA GT-Daytona championship.
“When Martin started driving with us last year, we saw a fast and talent driver who was just a bit too aggressive,” said Giacomo Mattioli, Scuderia Corsa Team Owner. “We spent time in the off season reviewing the different races and talking about the approach to win a championship. As Martin started the season, everything came together. He knew the car, his feedback was more precise and he was really fast. He raced impeccably. Race after race, he kept improving and today’s championship is a well-deserved reward for his hard work! At Scuderia Corsa, we are very proud and honored to have contributed to the first championship in his career.”
Two races remain for Fuentes – Sunday’s race at Sonoma Raceway and the season finale, October 7-9, at Laguna Seca in Salinas, California. Fuentes will start Sunday’s race in second position in GTA.
The GT races from Sonoma Raceway will be broadcast on CBS Sports on Sunday, September 25 at 4:00 PM ET.
About Scuderia Corsa:
2016 24Hours of Le Mans GTE-Am winner, 2016 6H of Watkins Glen Winner, 2016 12H of Sebring Winner, 2016 Pirelli World Challenge GTA Champion, 2015 24Hours of Le Mans Podium, 2015 IMSA GTD and 2013 Grand-AM GT championship-winning team Scuderia Corsa was founded in 2013 by Giacomo Mattioli and Art Zafiropoulo. Follow Scuderia Corsa on Twitter @Scuderia_Corsa, on Facebook at Scuderia Corsa, Instagram at #Scuderiacorsaferrari and ScuderiaCorsa.com.
Photo credits: Bob Chapman, Autosport Image