Miguel Molina and Toni Vilander have been crowned 2018 PWC SprintX champions, after winning the final (SprintX) race of the season today at Utah Motorsports Campus in the #61 R.Ferri Ferrari 488 GT3.
The pair sealed the title halfway through the race, having accumulated enough points from the opening laps, and went on to take home winners trophies too after a quick pit stop vaulted them from second into the lead.
The R.Ferri crew’s quick stop pushed the Lone Star Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 to second, Mike Skeen leading into the pit window, before Scott Heckert emerged from the pit cycle in second behind Molina. From there, Skeen was unable to challenge, and Molina crossed the line 2.9 seconds ahead.
Vilander and Molina’s win was their sixth of the 2018 SprintX season, and sees Vilander still fighting for the overall PWC title heading into the final PWC round of the year at Watkins Glen. R.Ferri also sealed the SprintX Teams title with the win.
“It’s been a great season,” exclaimed Vilander after the race. “Obviously, we kept fighting the whole season, it’s just perfect. I’ve been lucky enough to win in Europe, this is my first title in the US.”
Molina was also delighted to have scored a title in his first PWC season.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” he said, “I’m really grateful and happy, it’s my first year racing in America, so I want to thank the team for everything. I’m really happy to bring this championship home and help Toni fight for the overall title.
“We can be really happy today.”
Completing the podium was the #24 Alegra Motorsports Porsche of Michael Christensen and Spencer Pumpelly, the car crossing the line 10 seconds behind the winning Ferrari.
Just outside the top three in fourth and fifth were the two K-PAX Racing Bentleys which crossed the line in formation, the #3 leading the #9, after the team endured another tough race.
The #9 was due to start from pole after Alvaro Parente set Race 1’s fastest lap, but the car was forced to start at the back due to a technical infraction. The #3 also hit trouble, after contact early in the race meant Maxime Soulet dropped from fifth to ninth overall.
The Pro-Am winner was eventually the TR3 Ferrari, which was running fourth, but dropped to sixth after Wei Lu was passed by the hard-charging Bentleys in the closing laps.
TruSpeed’s Audi R8 finished second in the class, and just behind the TR3 488 GT3 in seventh, the result still enough to seal the title though for Ryan Dalziel and Parker Chase.
“Great job from everybody, it’s a new programme this year, and we started off struggling and got better and better. I’m proud to be a part of this team, we’ve worked hard,” said Dalziel. “Midway through the season it all clicked for us, we are a good pairing, it’s been good fun, and been good to win this for Audi.”
“I came close in my rookie year, that one hurt, but this has been a great year. It feels good,” added Chase.
The #07 Squadra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari finished up 10th overall and the winner in Am. In the process, Caeser Bacarella and Martin Fuentes were confirmed as the Am champions.
“It feels great, first time in PWC, first time in a GT3, it’s been so good to score this in my first year with the team,” said Bacarella.
The final PWC round of the season at Watkins Glen, a standard GT round, is set to be held from August 31 to September 2.
Featured image courtesy of Pirelli World Challenge