COTA Blancpain GT America: Molina, Vilander Take it in a Ferrari

COTA Blancpain GT America: Molina, Vilander Take it in a Ferrari

$RACE

Polesitter Kyle Marcelli’s Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX held off Maximilian Buhk’s P1 Motorsports MercedesAMG GT easily into Turn 1, although Buhk had to very aggressively defend 2nd from Toni Vilander’s R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488. Ultimately it was to no avail as the Finn grabbed second before the first lap was over.

Another man making moves was Scott Hargrove who took his Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 past Jeff Segal’s TR3 Racing Ferrari to snatch fourth. But everyone’s effort was put into perspective by Colin Braun who sent the DXDT Racing MercedesAMG GT from 15th to 6th on that opening lap!

Braun then lost 6th to Richard Antinucci’s US RaceTronics Mercedes, but soon Antinucci was being served a drive-through penalty for having all four wheels over the pit-lane exit on the run up to Turn 1 on the opening lap.

Marcelli’s lead lasted just one more lap as he couldn’t keep Vilander behind, and the Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) driver bullied the Acura out wide in completing the pass. Vilander was impatient to get on with the program, and swiftly chiseled out a 2sec lead, as Marcelli was left to hold off Buhk.

Braun’s hot start was not enough to keep his opposition at bay forever, and Michael De Quesada in the Alegra Motorsports Porsche deposed him on Lap 4, with Alvaro Parente’s K-PAX Bentley Continental doing the same a lap later.

The 2nd Bentley was at this point piloted by Maxime Soulet who ran only 12th and then had his disappointment compounded when he was pinged with a drive-through penalty for spinning Anthony Imperato in the 2nd Wright Porsche on the opening lap.

Parente moved up to 6th on Lap 13 when he passed De Quesada’s Porsche in the intricate corners that end the Circuit of The Americas course, but the Bentley was already 21sec off the lead. By this time, the Marcelli Vs Buhk battle had drawn once more within 2sec of leader Vilander, and 8sec clear of 4th placed Hargrove. Finally at the end of Lap 15, Buhk’s pressure paid off, Marcelli making a minor mistake exiting Turn 19 and leaving enough room for Buhk to dive down the inside into Turn 20.

Buhk then ditched the Acura and started homing in on the lead Ferrari, and by Lap 19 the lead was under half a sec.

De Quesada was the 1st of the Top 10 runners to dive into the pits as the pit window opened with 50mins to go, and he handed off to Daniel Morad.

Next time by, Vilander and Marcelli pitted to hand over to Miguel Molina and Martin Barkey respectively, allowing Buhk a clear run to attempt to nail some fast laps and jump his teammate JC Perez into the lead once he handed over. However, Perez was immediately struggling to get tire temp and Racers Edge’s pit-stop for Marcelli/Barkey was slow, so Molina’s lead was now 15sec.

Closest opponent to the R. Ferri Ferrari was Pat Long, who’d taken over from Hargrove in the Wright Porsche, while K-PAX had nailed an excellent stop for its #9, so that Parente’s co-driver Andy Soucek into 3rd was all over the back of the 911.

The amateur Perez had recovered his composure and temporarily halted his MercedesAMGs’ freefall down the order, but was soon coming under pressure from fellow Am driver Wei Lu who had taken over the TR3 Ferrari from Segal.

Meanwhile, the other Bentley had also received excellent service from K-PAX, so that Soulet’s co-drvier Rodrigo Baptista was hauling in Racers Edge’s amateur Barkey at 3sec per lap and on Lap 27 the big British beast was through into 6th. Its sister car was up into 2nd the following lap, when Long got bottled up behind a backmarker just before the long back straight and Soucek easily hauled past.

Also on Lap 29, Lu deposed Perez to grab the Pro-Am lead and fourth overall, and Baptista knocked the former leading MercedesAMG back a further spot on Lap 30. Then 2laps later, he did the same to Lu to make it 2 Bentleys in the Top 4.

Suddenly everyone lost their margins with under 20 mins to go as a collision between 2 back-markers brought out the full course caution.

The restart with 9 mins left saw both Bentleys in 2nd and 4th hauling alongside their immediate prey, yet both Molina and Long regained 1st and 3rd respectively through the long sequence of turns down to Turn 10.

Sadly, Segal and Lu had their great run to the Pro Am lead end as the TR3 Ferrari pulled off the track, handing fifth place overall to Perez… until Perez got Black-flagged for not respecting drive-through procedure.

Morad deposed Barkey in the closing stages to come 5th overall for the Alegra Porsche, while 10sec ahead, Long defended cleanly to retain 3rd ahead of Baptista’s probing Bentley. He was 2.7sec adrift of Soucek’s Bentley who in turn was 1.2sec behind winner Molina in his Ferrari

Barkey and Marcelli’s 6th place overall was enough to clinch Pro-Am honors ahead of Gradient Racing’s similar Acura NSX driven by Ryan Eversley and Till Bechtolsheimer, and Wright’s other Porsche, that of Imperato and Dennis Olsen.

Amateur honors went to the Squadra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari 488 of Martin Fuentes and Caesar Bacarella, ahead of the Autometrics Motorsport Porsche driven by Alan Metni and Joe Toussaint.Cla # Driver Class Car Laps Time Gap Interval km/h

Here is the entire race!

161 Miguel MolinaGT SprintX – ProFerrari 488 GT3401:31’15.683
29 Andy SoucekGT SprintX – ProBentley Continental GT3401:31’16.9321.2491.249
358 Scott HargroveGT SprintX – ProPorsche 911 GT3 R (991)401:31’19.6874.0042.755
43 Rodrigo BaptistaGT SprintX – ProBentley Continental GT3401:31’20.3404.6570.653
522 Michael de QuesadaGT SprintX – ProPorsche 911 GT3 R (991)401:31’30.00014.3179.660
680 Martin BarkeyGT SprintX – Pro/AmAcura NSX401:31’40.19324.51010.193
75 Till BechtolsheimerGT SprintX – Pro/AmAcura NSX401:31’43.01627.3332.823
891 Dennis OlsenGT SprintX – Pro/AmPorsche 911 GT3 R (991)401:31’43.67227.9890.656
96Steven AghakhaniGT SprintX – Pro/AmMercedes-AMG GT3401:31’53.06237.3799.390
1004 George KurtzGT SprintX – Pro/AmMercedes-AMG GT3401:31’56.74341.0603.681
1171Maxi BuhkGT SprintX – Pro/AmMercedes-AMG GT3401:31’57.75242.0691.009
127 Caeser BacarellaGT SprintX – AmFerrari 488 GT3401:31’58.51042.8270.758
13991 Alan MetniGT SprintX – AmPorsche 911 GT3 R (991)391:31’50.5141 Lap1 Lap
1499Alfred CaiolaGT SprintX – Pro/AmFerrari 488 GT3391:31’58.5551 Lap8.041
1514 Brent HoldenGT SprintX – AmPorsche 911 GT3 R (991)391:32’01.6041 Lap3.049
168Rich BaekGT SprintX – AmFerrari 488 GT3391:32’03.6861 Lap2.082
1782Pierre MulacekGT SprintX – AmFerrari 488 GT3391:32’12.0171 Lap8.331
1838Kevan MillsteinGT SprintX – Pro/AmPorsche 911 GT3 R (991)371:32’15.3403 Laps2 Laps
1931 Wei LuGT SprintX – Pro/AmFerrari 488 GT3361:25’29.3514 Laps1 Lap
2087Gregory LiefoogheGT SprintX – Pro/AmBMW F13 M6 GT3341:20’36.8366 Laps2 Laps
19Brian KaminskeyGT SprintX – AmFerrari 488 GT3291:06’48.25411 Laps5 L

Ferrari’s Brand: Ferrari became the world’s strongest brand, with a score of 94.8 out of 100 and an AAA+ rating just last month.

The Italian supercar manufacturer claimed the title according to the latest Brand Finance Global 500 2019 report launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Ferrari is the Aristocrat of the automotive sector.

HeffX-LTN overall technical outlook for RACE is Bullish across the board, and there is very little resistance here and none above 140.26. All of our Key indicators are Very Bullish in here.

Have a terrific week

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Paul Ebeling

Paul A. Ebeling, polymath, excels in diverse fields of knowledge. Pattern Recognition Analyst in Equities, Commodities and Foreign Exchange and author of “The Red Roadmaster’s Technical Report” on the US Major Market Indices™, a highly regarded, weekly financial market letter, he is also a philosopher, issuing insights on a wide range of subjects to a following of over 250,000 cohorts. An international audience of opinion makers, business leaders, and global organizations recognizes Ebeling as an expert.

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