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Molina & Vilander Win Race 1 At Sonoma

Victory from Pole for the R. Ferri team

R. Ferri Motorsport took first blood in the World Challenge America weekend at Sonoma Raceway, the team’s #61 Ferrari 488 GT3 of Miguel Molina and Toni Vilander winning from pole.

Molina started the race and had a 13-second advantage and the lead when he brought the #61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 into the pits. Molina handed controls of the car to Vilander who went on to take the victory.

The duo entered this race with just a one-point advantage and needed a strong finish to fend off Alvaro Parente and Andy Soucek in the championship hunt. The only drama the R. Ferri crew had to contend with occurred during the pit stop when a wheel gun issue cost the team nearly 10 seconds.

With a 13-second advantage now turned into a three-second one, Vilander had to repeat the efforts of his teammate and run away from the chasing pair of Bentley Continental GT3s from K-PAX Racing. The Finn was able to do so and it gave the #61 Ferrari their third win of the season.

Second overall was the #3 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 of Maxime Soulet and Rodrigo Baptista. Despite Sonoma Raceway not, on paper at least, being the strongest circuit for the Continental GT3, Soulet and Baptista were able to ensure that K-PAX Racing retained their spot at the top of the team’s championship.

Alvaro Parente and Andy Soucek, the duo that has emerged as the most formidable pairing that Molina and Vilander have needed to contend with in the driver’s championship, ended the race in third. Their #9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 was started by Soucek and finished by Parente.

They inherited their podium place following an incident in the pitstops involving the #58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. The Wright Motorsports duo of Scott Hargrove and Patrick Long lost time when the team put out the wrong set of tyres.

The crew had to go back behind the wall to get the right set, all while the car waited tyre-less in the box. That error saw the car drop from third, when entered the pits, to eighth. Long was able to claw back a few spots to finish in sixth.

The top Pro-Am finisher was the #43 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 of Mike Hedlund and Dane Cameron. Hedlund was a late-substitute who found out he would be racing this weekend on Wednesday. Hedlund started the car and his early success left Cameron in a good position to capitalize and secure the Pro-Am win and a fifth overall finish.

Second in Pro-Am and seventh overall was Matt Campbell and Anthony Imperato in the #91 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. The last step of the Pro-Am podium was claimed by Dirk Werner and James Sofronas in the #14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R. Werner and Sofronas finished six seconds behind the #91 Porsche.


Featured image courtesy of World Challenge America