Paul Holton Claims Clean Sweep Saturday in TC Action at MRLS; Audi Driver Wins Both TC Class Wins and Series Title
Liefooghe, Kleinubing, Filippi & Grahovec Round Out Top 5 in BMWs
SALINAS, Calif. – Young Paul Holton scored a “clean sweep” Saturday Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca by winning both pole positions, both 40-minute Touring Car races and claiming the Touring Car class driver’s championship in the No. 71 C360R Audi RS3 LMS Club Sport in the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Monterey.
Holton, the 21-year-old racer from Orlando, Fla., entered Saturday’s double header with an eight-point advantage and stormed over the 25-car field with one of the most impressive TC displays seen in some time. Along with the poles and race wins, Holton also recorded the quick race laps in both events.
In Round 12, Holton passed Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco, Calif., on lap two after the standing start at the famed 2.238-mile, 11-turn road circuit. Holton extended his margin to 5.669 seconds at the checkered flag on lap 25. Liefooghe, a four-time race winner in 2017, finished second in the Round 12 season finale in the No. 20 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M235iR and secured the second position in the final TC point standings.
“We started out the season with a win on the debut race at VIR,” said Holton. “That was a great race with Greg (Liefooghe) and Nick (Wittmer) and I think we were all nose-to-tail throughout the whole race so that was really fun. Throughout the season we’ve had our ups and downs with BoP (Balance of Performance) and some mistakes I made but we pulled it together. We got a little bit of weight off the car and had a clean weekend which is exactly what we needed to do. Audi Sport, C360R – they gave me an absolutely phenomenal car today and I couldn’t have asked for anything more out of it. I’m not a guy that’s normally at a loss for words but I’m having a hard time finding them now. We call it the Grand Slam – the pole, the fastest race lap, and the win. Two wins and two Fastest Race Laps here is really fantastic.”
“Today’s race was really tough,” said Liefooghe. “We didn’t have anything for Paul (Holton). He was in a different class of his own this weekend. We missed the setup this weekend. The second race was a little bit better but Pierre (Kleinubing) was coming on strong at the end of the races. I was lucky enough to pull a little bit of a gap to have a little bit of a buffer but I don’t think I could have kept him behind me if I didn’t have that. I’m happy to get two podiums today. Stephen Cameron is going through a little bit of a rough time with his house in Sonoma but he still managed the team over the phone and the car was great and the team he assembled was good as well.”
Five-time Pirelli World Challenge TC champion Pierre Kleinubing of Coconut Creek, Fla., returned to PWC action this weekend and placed third in the Round 12 25-lap feature in the No. 26 Classic BMW BMW M235iR. Kleinubing made his 144th PWC start Saturday.
“It’s not every day that you go to a race and you get a double podium so I’m happy to do that for (Classic BMW),” said Kleinubing. “The team is pretty good. We’ve come a long way through the season developing the car, and being part of that development. I finally got a chance to drive this weekend. Hats off to these guys. They seem to be the best of the field and we’re glad to be close. It was great racing as usual. It seems like the years change but the racing is still tough. Greg (Liefooghe) and I were going nose to tail for a while. I’m happy for the two third-places.”
The top-five also included BMW machines with young Mason Filippi of Alamo, Calif., in the No. 12 Winding Road Team TFB BMW M235iR and 2016 TC series champion Toby Grahovec of Celina, Tex., in the No. 1 Classic BMW BMW M235iR.
Finishing sixth through tenth in Round 12 was: Nick Wittmer of Montreal, Que., Can., in the No. 91 ST Racing BMW M235iR; Anthony Magagnoli of Dexter, Mich., in the No. 80 FCP Euro/Rooster Hall Racing BMW M235iR; Tony Rivera of Oceanside, Calif., in the No. 34 Brass Monkey Racing Nissan 370Z; Aristotle Balogh of Palo Alto, Calif., in the No. 19 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M235iR; and Johan Schwartz of Huntsville, N.C., in the No. 28 Auto Technic Racing BMW M235iR.
SALINAS, Calif. – Round 12 results for Saturday’s Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car 40-minute race. Results are provisional until posted Final.
1,1, ,Paul HOLTON,Orlando, FL,Audi RS 3 LMS Club Sport,25,Running,40:59.283,
2,2, ,Greg LIEFOOGHE,San Francisco, CA,BMW M235iR,25,Running,41:04.953,5.669
3,3, ,Pierre KLEINUBING,Coconut Creek, FL,BMW M235iR,25,Running,41:05.344,6.061
4,4, ,Mason FILIPPI,Alamo, CA,BMW M235iR,25,Running,41:11.121,11.837
5,5, ,Toby GRAHOVEC,Celina, TX,BMW M235iR,25,Running,41:11.538,12.254
6,6, ,Nick WITTMER,Montreal, Quebec, CA,BMW M235iR,25,Running,41:16.287,17.003
7,7, ,Anthony MAGAGNOLI,Dexter, MI,BMW M235iR,25,Running,41:25.846,26.562
8,8, ,Tony RIVERA,Oceanside, CA,Nissan 370Z,25,Running,41:28.202,28.919
9,9, ,Aristotle BALOGH,Palo Alto, CA,BMW M235iR,25,Running,41:37.514,38.231
10,10, ,Johan SCHWARTZ,Huntersville, NC,BMW M235iR,25,Running,41:39.668,40.385
11,11, ,JT COUPAL,Rochester, NY,Audi RS 3 LMS Club Sport,25,Running,41:41.037,41.753
12,12, ,Anthony GERACI,Glen Cove, NY,Audi RS 3 LMS Club Sport,25,Running,41:41.428,42.144
13,13, ,Nicolai ELGHANAYAN,Laguna Beach, CA,Lotus Exige,25,Running,41:43.773,44.490
14,14, ,Travis WASHAY,Milford, CT,Audi RS 3 LMS Club Sport,25,Running,41:48.310,49.026
15,15, ,John WEISBERG,Webster, NY,Mazda MX-5,25,Running,41:53.820,54.536
16,16, ,Rodrigo SALES,Incline Village, NV,BMW M235iR,25,Running,42:00.178,1:00.894
17,17, ,Chris OHMACHT,Franklin Lakes, NJ,BMW M235iR,25,Running,42:00.715,1:01.431
18,18, ,Jayson CLUNIE,Prince Albert, SK, CA,BMW M235iR,25,Running,42:00.800,1:01.516
19,19, ,Henry SCHMITT,San Francisco, CA,BMW M235iR,25,Running,42:07.182,1:07.899
20,20, ,Samantha TAN,Gormley, Ontario, CA,BMW M235iR,25,Running,42:07.607,1:08.323
21,21, ,Scott THOMAS,Oklahoma City, OK,BMW M235iR,25,Running,42:17.649,1:18.366
22,22, ,Joshua FORAN,Odenville, AL,Honda Accord,22,Running,42:21.575,3 LAPS
23,23, ,Daren JORGENSEN,Austin, TX,BMW M235iR,10,Not Running,18:01.884,15 LAPS
24,24, ,Karl WITTMER,Montreal, Quebec, CA,Honda Accord,8,Not Running,43:18.527,17 LAPS
25,25, ,Mark DRENNAN,San Jose, CA,Mazda MX-5,6,Not Running,10:17.013,19 LAPS