Lewis triumphs again in crash-strewn second GT race at St Pete
Michael Lewis added to his maiden race victory in the GT class of the Pirelli World Challenge with a second win at St Petersburg on Sunday, a race marred by two huge crashes.
Poleman Lewis (EFFORT Racing Porsche 911) led from the rolling start, with JD Davison's Nissan passing Alvaro Parente’s McLaren around the outside on the run to Turn 1, leaving the Portuguese to defend vigorously from those behind.
The race went under full course caution early on, with Corey Fergus’s Porsche Cup class 911 slamming head-on into the concrete wall on the exit of Turn 3.
There was a lengthy delay while the wreckage was cleared, and the concrete wall he hit was left leaning at a drunken angle. That required a digger to shove it back into position.
The race resumed with Lewis leading Davidson, Parente, Patrick Long (up from P7 in the second EFFORT-run Porsche), and the Cadillacs of Michael Cooper and Johnny O’Connell.
Parente again had to defend, as Long tried around the outside at Turn 1 and then made the move stick at Turn 2. Both Cadillacs also took the chance to pounce, demoting Parente back to sixth.
Lewis extended his lead to 2s by lap 20, with Davison keeping Long at bay.
Parente’s struggle continued, as Ryan Eversley’s Acura headed a huge train behind him.
Parente tripped over wayward backmarker Preston Calvert’s Porsche at the final corner, and moments later was assisted into a spin at Turn 1 by Andrew Palmer’s Bentley.
Almost simultaneously, Adderley Fong’s Bentley clipped Austin Cindric’s McLaren as they took evasive action as Parente spun, and Cindric slammed hard into the concrete wall on the approach to Turn 2 – inflicting major damage on the 650S.
That prompted another full course yellow.
The race went green with less than two minutes to go, Lewis defending hard from Davison and Long. Cooper passed O’Connell for fourth in the battle of the Cadillacs, which became third when Long ran wide at Turn 1 on the final lap.
Lewis won by 1.2s from Davison, with Cooper the star of the race with his eighth-to-third charge with such limited green-racing laps. O’Connell finished fifth, and Eversley sixth from Palmer.
In the GTA class, as on Saturday, Martin Fuentes ruled the roost in his Ferrari 458 ahead of Frankie Montecalvo’s Mercedes.
Sloan Urry was the GT Cup king again.
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