Palmer Masters Barber Road Course
LEEDS, Ala. – Andrew Palmer, Marcelo Hahn and Jack Baldwin took home wins in GT, GT-A and GTS respectively in Pirelli World Challenge round four at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday.
It is Palmer’s first overall and second series win and Hahn’s first career win in the series. Baldwin collected his fifth series win.
In GT Palmer, in the No. 21 GMG Racing Audi R8 Ultra, started on pole after setting the fastest lap in Saturday’s round three. But off of the standing start, the second place qualifier Anthony Lazzaro in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 won the drag race to the first turn to take the early lead. Palmer followed in behind, with Johnny O’Connell in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS.V.R after that.
But the caution flag came out almost immediately after the start as four GTS Ford Mustangs Boss 302s collided heading into turn one. The race ended quickly for Dean Martin in the No. 50 Picture Cars East/Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302S, Alec Udell in the No. 17 Watson Racing Motorsports Development Group Ford Mustang Boss 302S, Tony Buffomante in the No. 33 Capaldi Racing/Ford Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302S and Jack Roush Jr. in the No. 60 ROUSH Road Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302R.
After the lap seven restart, Lazzaro, Palmer and O’Connell held position for the next 22 laps of the 30-lap race, with Palmer challenging for position a number of times only to be denied by the Ferrari driver.
O’Connell waited in the wings for the two main combatants to make a mistake, but fell out of touch with the two leaders as lapped traffic came into play. Nick Mancuso in the No. 16 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia soon picked up the challenge for third battling O’Connell near the end of the race.
Drama ensued on the final lap as Lazzaro put two wheels on the grass coming out of the turns 10 and 11 left and right sequence, giving Palmer an opportunity to go side by side and eventually pass the Ferrari driver heading into turn 12. Palmer carried the momentum to the checkered for the overall win.
“It went accordingly to plan. We didn’t get off the line as well as we had hoped,” said Palmer. “But I thought if we pressured throughout the race, we’d have the better car at the end. The tires are awesome and the brakes don’t fade. It was an absolutely perfect performance by the team. I pressured Lazzaro enough to make one small mistake and I capitalized.”
“The car was perfect today. But it was a tough race,” said Lazzaro. “I made a bit of an error. I had a bit of an advantage through the chicane, but Andrew had the advantage the last section of the track before the flag. I pushed a bit too much, went into the marbles, went wide and that was it. Andrew did a good job and deserves it, but my team deserves it after giving me such a great car.”