Bentley driver has contact with O’Connell on first lap but runs to victory Saturday
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Young Adderly Fong of Hong Kong captured his first Pirelli World Challenge GT Sprint race Saturday at the famed Road America as he fought off a late challenge from veteran Patrick Long in the 50-minute Round 4 Sprint race.
Fong, 27, learned the Road America circuit as a teenager while playing the video game on PlayStation and makes it special to win his first PWC GT race at the historic four-mile road circuit Saturday. Driving the No. 88 Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3 sports car, Fong defeated Californian Long in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R by .0685 seconds in the 24-lap contest.
At the start, Fong and fellow front row starter Johnny O’Connell made contact in turn five on the first lap and the Cadillac driver spun his machine but returned to competition. Meanwhile, Fong opened his margin to two seconds over Long in the middle of the race and held off the factory Porsche driver’s late charge to put Bentley back in the PWC victory lane. The last Bentley win in PWC was in 2015 at Road America with Chris Dyson driving.
“Johnny had a good run out of Turn 3, I messed up the braking on Turn three in that first lap, so ultimately he had a good run and we managed to get side-by-side into Turn 5,” said Fong. “He had the racing line so he was able to brake a little bit later and I thought we would have a bit more room into turn 5 but it’s quite tight in the corner and unfortunately I spun Johnny around so apologies to him for that.”
“I was trying to open up a gap, and I thought I was doing that, but Patrick (Long) was playing a really good strategy with tires – he saw that there wasn’t so much pressure from third place so he could slow down a bit. I settled into a pace and he saw where I was weak and mounted up an attack. It was a lot of pressure and a sprint to the end. I thought he would take it a bit easier on the last lap but he pushed all the way through. I first started off in PlayStation. I never did go-karting, I started with a controller and a TV screen. I liked the high-speed tracks and Road America was one of them. (The first time here) I thought to myself, ‘I know this track.’ It’s amazing – I never thought I would be driving here.”
“Johnny had a good jump at the start and I went with him,” said Long. ”Then going into Turn Five, it was six into one and somebody had to give. From my perspective, it’s pretty hard to go side-by-side in Turn Five and I think Adderly had the line so I stuck behind him and again the inside line paid off. After that it was a pretty straight forward, qualifying attack for the whole race. That’s about as physically and mentally tough as it gets; no yellow flags and absolute sheer pace. The Pirelli tires are consistent enough that you can push them all the way through.”
“Six auto makes in the top six is not manufactured; that’s sheer competition. There are a lot of two-car teams, factory teams, small independent teams such as Wright Motorsports who I’m driving for. In the end we all want to race as drivers and race for victory and know that you’re going to come in and have a fighting chance.”
Rounding out the GT podium Saturday was current GT overall point leader Michael Cooper of Syosset, N.Y., in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. after an impressive drive from seventh on the first lap. Cooper had to avoid his spinning teammate O’Connell and lost two positions on the first lap.
“Unfortunately, Johnny (O’Connell) got turned around and when I saw a red Cadillac in front of me, all I could think of was (team manager) Steve Cole’s face and ‘Cadillacs don’t hit Cadillacs,’”said Cooper. “So I had to check up and make sure that I got through there cleanly. I lost two positions but I was able to fight back from seventh back to third. Then I tried to chase (Long and Fong) down and was making some time up for a little bit but I took too much out of the tires fighting guys and pushing too hard to catch them. We had good points today and that’s what we’re focused on at Cadillac Racing, going for the overall championship, so I was just accumulating points.”
Fourth in the GT division at Road America was Italy’s Daniel Mancinelli in the No. 31 TR3 Racing/The Collection Ferrari 488 GT3 followed by veteran Peter Kox of The Netherlands in the No. 93 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 and defending GT champion Alvaro Parente of Portugal in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S. Parente fell back to 15th in the first lap incident but drove a spectacular race to sixth in Round 4 race.
Rounding out the top-ten were young Alec Udell of The Woodlands, Tex., in the No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports/GMG Porsche 911 GT3 R, O’Connell, the four-time PWC GT champion from Flowery Branch, Ga., in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R., Bryan Sellers of Braselton, Ga., in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S and last year’s Road America double winner Ryan Eversley of Atlanta in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3.
Taking top honors in the GTA division Saturday was veteran James Sofronas of Villa Park, Calif., who drove his GMG Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R to a wire-to-wire win over John Potter of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi RS8 LMS and Tim Pappas of Boston in the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
“It was good to mix it up front with the top ten,” said Sofronas. “We’re running a good pace and staying with the lead pack and then it started to get a little dicey. I realized that there’s no advantage to sticking my nose in here and holding true with those guys so I thought I would just back off, take a win and get the points and let the car rest. We were running really good lap times, it was consistent the whole way. The GMG Racing guys performed flawlessly and I’m really proud of them and all the guys and look forward to (tomorrow’s race.)”
In GT Cup, Yuki Harata of Japan won the category over Marco Radisic of Serbia with his No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo.
Sunday’s GT race will be same-day broadcast on CBS Sports Network at 3:00 p.m. EDT with an encore presentation at 6:30 p.m. EDT.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Race results for GT/GTA Round 4, GT Cup Round 3 of the Pirelli World Challenge classes Saturday at Road America. Results are provisional until posted Final.
Pos,PIC,Class,Name,Hometown,Car,Laps,Status,Fastest Lap Time,Fastest Lap Avg. Speed
1,1, Pro,Adderly FONG,Hong Kong,Bentley Continental GT3,8,Not Running,2:04.223,117.3
2,2, Pro,Johnny O’CONNELL,Flowery Branch, GA,Cadillac ATS-V.R,8,Not Running,2:04.252,117.2
3,3, Pro,Jon FOGARTY,Bend, Oregon,Porsche 911 GT3 R,5,Not Running,2:04.471,117.0
4,4, Pro,Patrick LONG,Manhattan Beach, CA,Porsche 911 GT3 R,5,Not Running,2:04.663,116.8
5,5, Pro,Daniel MANCINELLI,Italy,Ferrari 488 GT3,9,Not Running,2:04.756,116.8
6,6, Pro,Michael COOPER,Syosset, NY,Cadillac ATS-V.R,4,Not Running,2:04.992,116.5
7,7, Pro,Peter KOX,Eindhoven, Netherlands,Acura NSX GT3,7,Not Running,2:05.166,116.4
8,8, Pro,Alvaro PARENTE,Porto, Portugal,McLaren 650S GT3,6,Not Running,2:05.191,116.4
9,9, Pro,Ryan EVERSLEY,Atlanta, GA,Acura NSX GT3,9,Not Running,2:05.331,116.2
10,10, Pro,Ryan DALZIEL,Windermere, FL,Mercedes AMG GT3,10,Not Running,2:05.365,116.2
11,11, Pro,Alec UDELL,The Woodlands, TX,Porsche 911 GT3 R,11,Not Running,2:05.446,116.1
12,12, Pro,Bryan SELLERS,Braselton, GA,McLaren 650S GT3,6,Not Running,2:05.640,115.9
13,13, Pro,Alexandre NEGRAO,Campinas, Brazil,Mercedes AMG GT3,7,Not Running,2:06.389,115.3
14,1, Am,James SOFRONAS,Villa Park, CA,Porsche 911 GT3 R,6,Not Running,2:06.722,114.9
15,14, Pro,Pierre KAFFER,Germany,Audi RS 8 LMS,7,Not Running,2:07.011,114.7
16,2, Am,Tim PAPPAS,Boston, MA,Mercedes AMG GT3,9,Not Running,2:07.286,114.4
17,3, Am,John POTTER,Salt Lake City, UT,Audi RS 8 LMS,6,Not Running,2:07.301,114.4
18,4, Am,Mike MCCANN,North Canton, OH,Audi RS 8 LMS,10,Not Running,2:08.250,113.6
19,5, Am,Preston CALVERT,Potomac, MD,Porsche 911 GT3 R,9,Not Running,2:08.350,113.5
20,6, Am,Mike HEDLUND,Redwood City, CA,McLaren 650S GT3,4,Not Running,2:09.410,112.6
21,7, Am,Marc MUZZO,Toronto, ON/ Hialeah, FL,Ferrari 458 GT3,12,Not Running,2:09.431,112.5
22,1, GT Cup,Yuki HARATA,Japan,Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo,4,Not Running,2:14.247,108.5
23,8, Am,Jorge DE LA TORRE,McAllen. TX,Aston Martin Vantage GT3,2,Not Running,2:22.325,102.3
24,2, GT Cup,Marko RADISIC,Belgrade, Serbia,Ferrari Challenge Evo,4,Not Running,,