SONOMA, CALIF. – Miguel Molina and Toni Vilander drove their R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari to a dominating win in Saturday afternoon’s Blancpain GT World Challenge America Round 7 race at Sonoma Raceway. Molina and Vilander led flag to flag in the 90-minute, 53-lap contest. RealTime Racing’s Mike Hedlund, from Redwood City, Calif. and Dane Cameron finished first in the Pro/Am category, while Squadra Corse’s Caeser Bacarella and Martin Fuentes finished first in the Am category.
At the drop of the green, pole sitter Molina in the #61 Ferrari 488 GT3 went side by side through turn 1 with second-on-the-grid Scott Hargrove in the #58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. Hargrove was squeezed wide and his Porsche’s right side wheels were nudged off the edge of the track allowing K-PAX's #3 Bentley Continental GT3 piloted by Rodrigo Baptista to move into second. Hargrove slid back into line in third while the K-PAX #9 Bentley Continental GT3 piloted by Andy Soucek slotted into fourth. Hedlund, driving the #43 Acura NSX at his home track completed the top 5 overall through first lap. Bacarella, piloting the #7 Ferrari 488 GT3 slotted into 15th overall, and 1st in Am.
By lap 5, Molina had built a 3.2-second lead over Baptista, while Hargrove began closing on the driver of the #3 machine. Hargrove would eventually move to battle side by side with Baptista but couldn’t execute a pass for second. With Baptista holding off Hargrove, Molina grew his lead to 5.6 seconds. By lap 14, Molina held a 10-second lead on Baptista who continued to hold off Hargrove.
In Pro/Am, Hedlund continued to run in 5th overall and first in class. Behind him series veteran James Sofronas, Team Principle and driver for the Southern California based GMG Racing in his #14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R battled with Anthony Imperato in the #91 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, second and third in class respectively.
At the start of lap 22, Hargrove would finally find a way around Baptista as the two competitors drag raced side by side down the front straight. Hargrove held the inside line through turn 1 to execute the pass for second.
The 10-minute pit window opened on lap 23 allowing teams to make driver changes as well as refueling and tire changes. At the end of the pit window, Vilander now at the wheel of the #61 machine maintained the race lead with Maxime Soulet, who had taken over for Baptista, in second. The #61 Ferrari’s lead over the #3 Bentley had been cut down to 3.5 seconds. Alvaro Parente, who had taken over for Soucek, slotted into third.
In Pro/Am, Cameron took over for Hedlund and maintained the lead in class, up into 6th overall in the race. Matt Campbell assumed the #91 machine from Imperato and moved into 8th overall, while Sofronas’ co-pilot Dirk Werner slotted into 9th overall and third in class. In the Am class, Fuentes assumed the #7 machine,14th overall.
In the late stages of the race, Vilander would push the lead to 4.5-seconds over Soulet. Parente remained in third. In Pro/Am, the top three maintained their positions with Cameron 1st in class and 5th overall, Campbell second in class, 7th overall, and Werner third in class and 8th overall.
At the checkered, Vilander crossed the line 2.2 seconds over Soulet, with Parente taking third. In Pro/Am Cameron finished first, over Campbell and Werner. In Am, Fuentes finished 13th overall and first in class.
Results are provisional until posted final. Blancpain GT World Challenge America Round 8 is scheduled to start at 11:15 am PDT Sunday. The race will be streamed live on gt-world-challenge-america.com, as well as live on CBS Sports Network.
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