St. Pete PWC: Aschenbach wins GTS again, huge crash stops race
Lawson Aschenbach drove his Blackdog Speed Shop Camaro to his 26th Pirelli World Challenge victory in the second GTS race of the weekend at St Petersburg on Sunday, a race which ended early after a big crash near the end.
Aschenbach led the frantic charge into the first corner, despite a stern challenge from Gabriele Piana (Porsche Cayman), with whom he’d dueled hard in yesterday’s race.
James Sofronas (Audi R8) held third, ahead of the Panoz of Ian James, Jade Buford (Ford Mustang) and Toby Grahovec (BMW M4).
The race’s first caution was required when Marko Radisic clattered into Jeff Courtney’s Maserati at Turn 1, during a battle in the lower reaches of the top 10, which left the former’s BMW stranded.
At the restart, Aschenbach aced his getaway, pulling clear of Piana, who had to hold Sofronas at bay through the opening turns. Behind him, James similarly repelled an attack from Buford.
Runner-up Piana came under pressure from Sofronas for lap after lap, surviving a warning from race control for blocking at one point. Sofronas fell away in the closing stages, but finished well clear of James and Buford.
The race was curtailed prematurely by a red flag when the lapped Steve Burns spun his Ginetta at the fast kink and clipped Vinnie Allegretta’s Ford Mustang, sending Allegretta briefly airbourne and then ping-ponging between the concrete walls on either side of the track. Allegretta bounced back into Burns’ path, sending him into the wall too. Both drivers appeared stunned and stayed in their cars as the race was put under caution and then stopped.
Nate Stacy was a star of the race, charging through from 15th in his Ford Mustang to finish seventh, behind Harry Gottsacker’s SIN R1.
Drew Staveley’s Ian Lacy Racing Ginetta G55 won the GTSA division once again, finishing eighth overall, ahead of class rival Grahovec.
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