Brazilian Rodrigo Baptista won for the third time in 2017 in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class when he drove to a controlled, lights-to-flag victory in Round 13 of the championship in the #3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR at Utah Motorsports Campus.
Second across the line in the Pro category was the #99 JCR Motorsports Maserati MC GT GT4 driven by Jeff Courtney, 1.029 seconds back.
Ian James in the #50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT completed the podium positions in the Pro category.
Martin Barkey in the #80 Mantella Autosports KTM Xbow GT4 passed Nate Stacy in the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR for second place early in the race and kept in touch with Baptista in the #3 car.
The 50-minute race saw two Safety Car interventions, the first after the #45 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4 driven by Chris Beaufait stopped on the circuit and the second for an incident involving two cars which neutralised proceedings for ten minutes.
At the second re-start Courtney in the #99 Maserati passed a struggling #80 KTM Xbow and held on for second place, Barkey in the Mantella Autosports car falling to fourth at the chequered flag.
Rodrigo Baptista was exhausted but delighted with his third victory of the year.
“It was a really good race,” said the young Brazilian. “The car was almost perfect. It would slide a little bit when I pushed hard, but the KTM and the Maserati behind me were really fast.”
“I pushed to the max and we did it again.”
Jeff Courtney in the #99 Maserati was happy to have achieved his second place after the hard work put in by the JCR Motorsports team.
“We’ve been knocking on the door but things haven’t been going our way like everyone else up,” said the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based driver. We have a pretty fast hot rod for lap times but raceability can be an issue so we got some good breaks on the track at just the right time today. I’m happy to be here because the crew has been working real hard.”
“I owe the sponsors for Mid-Ohio because it was a pretty important deal for us. I feel like I let them down there a little bit but the conclusion today was awesome. So I look forward to tomorrow.”
After wins at Road America and Mid-Ohio, Ian James in the #50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT was a little disappointed with his third place finish.
“The BoP affected us a little bit but the car was great,” said James. “We started seventh, then got a couple of spots back early on. I got all the way up to just behind Jeff (Courtney) but stalled there.”
“I couldn’t find a run on him and couldn’t get by. We had a good race for many laps. Rodrigo checked out since the Porsche was in a different class today but we’re super happy to get back on the podium.”
Championship leader Lawson Aschenbach in the #10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4 had a frustrating race, suffering a left-rear puncture and a lack of pace. Aschenbach eventually finished ninth and still retains his commanding lead in the drivers championship standings.
The lights go out for the Race Two, Round 14 of the GTS championship, at 10:30 am local time on August 13 with Jeff Courtney in the #99 Maserati GT4 starting from Pole.