Lazzaro & Aschenbach Score In Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif. – Anthony Lazzaro and Lawson Aschenbach added to their Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS win totals with triumphs in Sunday’s Cadillac Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway.
Additionally, Albert von Thurn und Taxis secured his first GT-A win.
Lazzaro took his second win of 2014 and Aschenbach his fourth in Sunday’s 50-minute race.
The GT class action featured several high and low points, with the standing start of the 50-minute race proving one of the race’s deciding moments.
Guy Smith in the No. 88 Bentley/Breitling/Mobil 1 Bentley Continental GT3, started from the Motul pole position by virtue of his fastest lap in round 13. But neither he nor teammate Butch Leitzinger in the No. 08 Bentley/Breitling/Mobil 1 Bentley Continental GT3, who started fourth, got away cleanly and the order changed.
By the end of the first lap, Lazzaro, in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 was ahead of Ryan Dalziel in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche GT3 R and Robert Thorne in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 12C GT3. The three of them ran unchallenged for most of the rest of the race.
The battle behind them for fourth featured a great scrap between GT points leader Johnny O’Connell in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R and Mike Skeen in the No. 2 Hawk Performance Audi R8 Ultra. Several times between lap two and 19, Skeen made attempts to pass O’Connell but was unable to fully complete a move.
While they battled, it brought others back into contention. Mike Hedlund in the No. 77 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 had his second successive stellar drive in his first weekend with Scuderia Corsa. After dispatching of both Bentleys, Hedlund made it past both O’Connell and Skeen for fourth place on lap 18.
A lap later, on lap 19, Leitzinger made a move to the outside of both O’Connell and Skeen around the right-handed turn seven hairpin for fifth. O’Connell and Skeen had several instances of contact throughout their dice for fourth. On lap 21, Skeen’s race ended with a flat left rear tire, and he was forced to pit. That dropped him to an eventual 19th place finish, while O’Connell was able to continue home to the finish in eighth place.
What was still setting up for a good finish – Thorne had to hold off both Hedlund and Leitzinger’s advances for the final podium position – ended abruptly on lap 23 following a heavy accident for Dean Martin in the No. 50 Picture Cars East/Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302S.
Martin’s right rear tire blew as he headed up the hill into turn one, which spun him into the wall. That brought out the second and final full course caution of the race, ultimately forcing the race to end under caution. Martin was evaluated and released from the infield medical center.
Lazzaro won overall and in GT at an average speed of 71.786 mph, with a winning margin of victory under caution of 2.519 seconds.