- Weekend sweep for Conquest Racing with second win in Silver Class
- Chouest Povoledo Racing claims PRO-AM Class win
- Carrus Callas Raceteam wins overall and AM Class
- Provisional Results
The GT Sonoma protected by CrowdStrike weekend at Sonoma Raceway came to a close for the Pirelli GT4 America field. The hour-long race was a thrilling spectacle of action, with non-stop overtaking, battles for the lead, and drama across the board.
Like yesterday, a caution flag halfway through the race altered the strategies across all classes as the pit window remained closed. Again, the first drivers extended their stints, and were only able to come down pit lane with 20 minutes remaining on the clock.
If you watched the race, you will know that the action was non-stop from the green flag to the checkered flag. However, only three machines could prevail in each class. The No. 20 Carrus Callas Raceteam of Terry Borcheller and Nicholas Shanny claimed the overall and AM Class win, with the No. 34 Conquest Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 co-driven by Michai Stephens and Jesse Webb winning in the Silver Class. The PRO-AM Class win was clinched by Ross Chouest and Aaron Povoledo in the No. 50 Chouest Povoledo Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4.
As Ryan Myrehn, Pirelli GT4 America’s announcer best put it, “this race has been a fascinating race.”
From the very start of the race, Michai Stephens in the No. 34 Conquest Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 and Kenton Koch in the No. 92 Random Vandals Racing BMW M4 GT4 entered in a heated battle for the Silver Class lead and second place overall.
The defining move of the race in the Silver Class was when the frontrunners went three wide around the hairpin, with Andy Lee from the PRO-AM Class joining in on the fun, which led to Stephens pulling off a sweeping move down the middle and carrying the momentum into Turn 1 to regain the lead before Koch fought back to steal it from him yet again. Stephens eventually made it stick for good, and with clear air in front he got to work and soared ahead, setting off on his mission to challenge for the overall win.
Unfortunately, Koch and teammate Kevin Boehm were knocked out of the race and forced to retire after a collision took them out of the running in the second half. Numerous full course cautions plagued this race, with gaps growing and diminishing as a result. Conquest Racing made the strategy call to hand over the car to Jesse Webb with just under 20 minutes remaining, leaving the GT4 newcomer in perfect position to power through to a strong finish and claim the team’s second win of the weekend.
“I’m very happy with our results this weekend,” said Jesse Webb. “It was a pretty flawless weekend to be able to take home two wins out of two. We really couldn’t have asked for a better opening round. We’re leading the championship and we’ll be looking to further extend this lead in the next rounds. The team worked extremely hard to get this car on track and get the results that we did. I’m super happy!”
“This will be a weekend to remember, not only for us as individuals but also as an organization” added Michai Stephens. “I’m very grateful for the opportunities that we have and it’s a testament to John Farrow and everyone that supports his mission.”
John Dubets and Zac Anderson capitalized on the chaotic events on track and brought home a second place finish for AutoTechnic Racing in the No. 51 BMW M4 GT4, followed by third-place finishers Jon Miller and Chandler Hull in the No. 88 STR38 Motorsports BMW M4 GT4.
Jason Hart got an excellent start and sped away into the distance in the Race One-winning No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport. Kay van Berlo managed an early battle with John Geesbreght in the No. 68 Smooge Racing Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Supra GT4, and eventually built a gap of his own to be able to chase down Hart on the road ahead in his No.7 ACI Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport. ACI Motorsports previously lost their second-place finish from Race One, which promoted Chouest Racing to second and Flying Lizard Motorsports to third, so van Berlo was eager to fight back and reclaim some hardware.
However, it was not meant to be, with heartbreak setting in for van Berlo as he stopped on track with 37 minutes remaining. Though van Berlo managed to get rolling again, his race didn’t go as planned but the ACI Motorsports racer set the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap of the race.
The real strategy gambles came into play at the 22-minute mark, with more than half the field diving into the pit lane to complete their mandatory pit stop and driver changes. Frontrunner Jason Hart opted to stay out on track, coming in one lap later to serve a remarkably quick stop to stay in the overall lead ahead of Webb.
A long caution following an accident involving two competitors put a halt to the last segment of the race that was spent under caution without the possibility of passing. Thanks to a flawless pit stop strategy, Ross Chouest and Aaron Povoled claimed the win in the PRO-AM Class, followed by the No. 37 Skip Barber Racing School Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Supra GT4 of Matt Forbush and Carter Fartuch that managed to stay out of trouble and finish in a stellar second position. It was an impressive feat for the brand new Nissan Z GT4 that had its first official GT4 race at Sonoma Raceway this weekend. Techsport Racing and the duo of Eric Powell and Colin Harrison offered Nissan their maiden podium, bringing home a third-place finish in the No. 22 car.
“Aaron and the team did an amazing job today, he really fought his way through the field,” said Ross Chouest. “It was a very unusual race, but we had a superb pit stop, and the team managed the situation perfectly. This win is dedicated to my baby Vivien back home.”
“This Westport Aston Martin was just awesome, it was such a strong race car” added Canadian driver Aaron Povoledo. “We were so frustrated that we were unable to get a clean lap in qualifying because we knew what this car was capable of. I drove my heart out today, and we created a bit of luck for ourselves by working our way up into the right spot. We have to give major credit to this team, our Chouest Povoledo Racing crew is absolutely amazing and this win is dedicated to them.”
Nicolas Shanny was simply untouchable in the AM Class, expertly navigating through the busy field in his No. 20 Carrus Callas Raceteam Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Supra GT4 and powering ahead into 6th place overall, putting significant distance between himself and the next closest competitors behind.
Paulo Carcasci was sitting comfortably in second in the No. 35 Conquest Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 as they approached the halfway mark of the race, but got caught out by an unexpected full course caution that closed the pit window just as they dove in for their anticipated driver swap, forcing them to make another mandatory stop to the pits later on in the race. This ultimately cost them greatly, tumbling down the order and out of podium contention.
As Terry Borcheller took over from his teammate Shanny, he pushed on and delivered a perfect performance all the way to the checkered flag. Carrus Callas Raceteam not only secured the win in the AM Class, but also took home a shocking overall win as well.
“As far as strategy goes, it really worked out in our favor,” explained Borcheller. “The combination of the timing of our pit stop and the green running I had played out perfectly. Sometimes you’re lucky, sometimes you’re good, and sometimes you’re both, and today we were both!”
The No. 438 STR38 Motorsports BMW M4 GT4 of Chris Allen and Robert Mau stepped onto the podium in second place, with Isabella Robusto and Joey DaSilva finalizing the podium in third place in the No. 67 Smooge Racing Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Supra GT4 after a thrilling and unpredictable race in Sonoma.
The Pirelli GT4 America field will be back in action at NOLA Motorsports Park from April 28th to the 30th.
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