Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada — Lawson Aschenbach won GTS Round 7 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Canada presented by Audi. The 50-minute race was held in overcast 65-degree weather conditions.
From pole on the rolling start, Aschenbach, in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro, led into turn one, but the action was for second place as Scott Dollahite, in the No. 46 SDR Motorsports Lotus Evora and Vancouver BC’s Max Riddle, in the No. 07 TRG-AMR Adobe Road Winery, LaSalle Solutions Aston Martin Vantage GT4, went side-by-side with Riddle slotting into second on the opening lap.
As the 15-car GTS field stormed into turn five, contact forced Mark Klenin, in the No. 62 Klenin Performance Racing Schomp/Premiere Copy/Mike Ward Maserati Maserati GranTurismo, into a spin. Klenin continued but was scored last after the first lap.
Of note, Jack Roush Jr., driving the No. 60 Roush Performance Ford Boss 302, was up to fourth from his seventh starting position earning him the Optima Batteries Best Start Award.
Scott Heckert, in the No. 54 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4, then made a nice pass on Toronto’s Anthony Mantella, driving the No. 8 Mantella Autosport Inc. Gulf KTM X-Bow GT4, for fifth position on lap three.
As the race continued, Aschenbach slowly opened a gap over Riddle, Dollahite and Roush Jr.
The action turned to Nate Stacy, driving the No. 14 Roush Performance Road Racing Ford Boss 302, Brett Sandberg, in the No. 13 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4, and Huntsville, Ontario’s Martin Barkey, in the No. 80 Mantella Autosport MBRP Sportlab Sawmill Creative KTM X-Bow GT4, who locked themselves into a scrap for seventh.
Sandberg made his move on lap 10, with an outside pass on Stacy after battling the Mustang driver for five laps.
A bit further up the track, Heckert had caught Roush Jr. and was looking for a way past the Mustang.
On lap 12, and for second place, Dollahite had caught Riddle as those two battled back and forth.
On lap 14, Sandberg made a move on Mantella, taking sixth place on a charge forward, and passed Heckert for fifth two laps later.
For second, Dollahite passed Riddle to take over the position in his Lotus on lap 17, earning him the Motortrendondemand.com Clean Pass of the Race Award, and Riddle continued to follow the Lotus closely, taking the position back a few laps later as a great battle developed. At this point, Aschenbach’s lead was up to just under nine seconds.
It didn’t take long for Sandberg’s X-Bow to reel in Roush Jr. either, as attention turned to those two as they battled for fourth place and they closed on the Aston Martin/Lotus pairing in second and third.
It was an outside move by Sandberg on lap 22 that promoted him to fourth place ahead of Roush Jr. He then quickly caught Dollahite for third. The Lotus driver put up a fight, but Sandberg slid past for the position and set his sights on Riddle in second place as the clock clicked down from 12 minutes.
While Dollahite ran fourth, it was Roush Jr. in fifth fending off a train of cars led by Heckert. Sandberg caught Riddle for second, while those two had made ground on Aschenbach, who’s lead was down to seven seconds with eight minutes left in the race.
While Sandberg passed Riddle in turn five, Riddle quickly passed him back, but it was a move a couple of corners later that gave Sandberg second for good, giving him the Cadillac ATS-V Best Move of the Race Award.
In the end, Aschenbach would lead every lap to take the win – his 20th career PWC win. Sandberg and Riddle completed the podium with Dollahite in fourth. Heckert rounded off the top five with teammate James Vance, in No. 45 the Racers Edge SIN R1 GT4, following in sixth and winning the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award for gaining seven positions during the race.
Roush Jr. followed in seventh with Mantella and Stacy in eighth and ninth. Parker Chase, driving the No. 19 Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta GT4, finished 10th in the all-green-flag, sprint race.
The GTS drivers and teams close out their weekend in Canada with Round 8 of the season, scheduled for 10:15am Eastern on Sunday. With the fastest lap of Saturday’s race, Sandberg will start on pole for the standing start alongside Aschenbach, who leads in GTS Driver’s Championship points.
“My biggest thing today was the start,” said Aschenbach. “With the new rules and the way they are waving the green flag, you have to be on it right away. I was trying to get my tires warm enough on the warm-up lap so I could gap everybody early. I just put pedal to the medal the first three laps and we got a good gap at that point. And the guys behind me were all bunched up and battling for position. I was able to build that gap through the middle of the race and that allowed me to save the tires a bit towards the end. When Brett got around Max, I knew I had to start pushing hard again. Brett was quite a bit quicker than us at the end. The Chevrolet Camaro was flawless today. We showed up really fast here. The Black Dog guys have done a great job between races to get ready for the next two races at Mosport and Lime Rock. We came here with a car that only need minor tweaks on it rather than throwing the book at it. Since we started this program four years ago, we have strived to produce consistent cars throughout the season. I think that showed today that the hard work is paying off.”
“Overall, we were really happy with the car,” said Sandberg. “We struggled early here as we suffered on straight line speed. But we improved our pace throughout the weekend and we are working hard on our race craft. On Sunday, we start on the pole and our car leads to run in the lead. The GTS class is quite evenly matched with the Camaro, Aston Martin and the Mustang fast on the long straight. Then our cars work well through the tighter corners. We lose a large margin on the back straight that we need make up the difference in corners 1 through 5. It’s hard but we can do it. We make it in different places with the other GTS cars. The consistency of setting up the car has paid off for us this year.”
“We had a great race with Brett (Sandberg) at the end of the race and good battle with Scott (Dollahite) in the Lotus,” said Riddle. “Our race went as good as our car could go. The Balance of Performance is good right now as we are all running similar lap times. Lawson (Aschenbach) was in a class of his own today. The team is trying not to stress me out too much about who is coming up behind me. They were telling me about my pace compared to Lawson’s and my laps times. My favorite thing about the Pirelli World Challenge is the door-to-door racing. That is why I came back to it from rally car competition. Door to door racing is where it is at for me. Especially a track like this as you can go two wide through a lot of corners.”
Results are provisional until posted final. Watch the enhanced race coverage of GTS Round 7 from CTMP on CBS Sports Network June 2 at 8pm Eastern.
Bowmanville, ON – Results from Saturday, May 21, 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Championship GTS Round 7, part of the Canadian Grand Prix Presented by Audi at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Drivers listed by position, place in class, class, name, hometown, car, laps:
1. 1, GTS, Lawson Aschenbach, Palm Beach Gardens FL, Chevrolet Camaro, 36
2. 2, GTS, Brett Sandberg, Allendale NJ, KTM X-Bow GT4, 36
3. 3, GTS, Max Riddle, Vancouver Canada, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 36
4. 4, GTS, Scott Dollahite, Austin TX, Lotus Evora, 36
5. 5, GTS, Scott Heckert, Ridgefield CT, SIN R1 GT4, 36
6. 6, GTS, James Vance, Freeland WA, SIN R1 GT4, 36
7. 7, GTS, Jack Roush Jr, Livonia MI, Ford Boss 302, 36
8. 8, GTS, Anthony Mantella, Toronto Canada, KTM X-Bow GT4, 36
9. 9, GTS, Nate Stacy, Owasso OK, Ford Boss 302, 36
10. 10, GTS, Parker Chase, New Braunfels TX, Ginetta GT4, 36
11. 11, GTS, Mark Klenin, Lone Tree CO, MASERATI GranTurismo MC Trofeo, 36
12. 12, GTS, Martin Barkey, Huntsville Canada, KTM X-Bow GT4
13. 13, GTS, Tony Gaples, Libertyville IL, Chevrolet Camaro
14. 14, GTS, Dore Chaponick Jr., Miami FL, KTM X-Bow GT4, 30
15. 15, GTS, Kevin Marshall, Incline Village NV, Lotus GT4 22