Michael Christensen Completes “Dream Week” with PWC GT Win Sunday, As Porsche Driver Takes Le Mans and Road America Victories
17-year-old Parker Chase Wins GTA; James, Courtney Score GTS/GTSA Wins
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Denmark’s Michael Christensen completed a “Dream Week” for Porsche Sunday at Road America when he drove the No. 24 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R to a 2.2-second GT Sprint victory in 50-minute Pirelli World Challenge Round 7 event.
Last Sunday, Christensen teamed with Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor to capture the LMGTE Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and then scored a dominant victory Sunday in the PWC GT Sprint event for his second PWC win of the 2018 road racing campaign.
In the other Pirelli World Challenge classes Sunday, it was 17-year-old Parker Chase nipping veteran Martin Fuentes by inches (0.008 seconds) to capture the GTA category, Ian James taking his second GTS win of the weekend and local favorite Jeff Courtney of Milwaukee scoring his first GTSA victory in the Maserati GT4.
Christensen made a sensational start Sunday in the 21-lap GT/GTS feature following the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Road America. Michael was able to extend his advantage to 3.2 second by lap four and cruised to the win over Saturday GT Sprint race winner Alvaro Parente of Portugal in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3.
The Porsche driver never looked back in recording his second PWC win of 2018 after a GT SprintX victory with Spencer Pumpelly last month at Lime Rock Park. Third place Sunday went to Long Beach GT Sprint winner Daniel Mancinelli of Italy in the No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3.
“The last two weeks have been pretty amazing for me,” said Christensen. “Completing a career goal and winning at Le Mans was a dream come true for me and it’s an amazing feeling. We’ll try to keep it going and the car has been really good the last few races. So, we’ll keep at it. It was great to be back in front again after Saturday, which was a messy race for me. The start wasn’t great from the first row and then the re-starts didn’t really go to plan for anyone except for Parente. I was lucky to get a click-in a decent lap yesterday to get at least in the second row today.
“I knew I just had to stick with Alvaro through turn 5, and I thought I would have a good shot on it. I knew that I could put pressure on him. He decided to defend himself into turn five which was good for me. Everything went to plan.”
Completing the top-five GT finishers Sunday in Round 7 were GT Sprint point leader Scott Hargrove of Canada in the No. 96 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol Porsche 911 GT3 R and GT Overall point leader Toni Vilander of Finland in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3.
Chase, who just graduated from high school earlier this month, came back to challenge Fuentes in his No. 19 TruSpeed Autosport Audi R8 LMS sports car in GTA division late in the event and was able to get a last turn run to pull alongside at the finish line. The Audi racer clipped the timing light just 0.008 seconds ahead of Fuentes’ No. 07 Squadra Corse Italia Ferrari 488 GT3. It was Chase’s second GTA Sprint win this season and third overall win in 2018.
Third went to former GT Cup series champion Yuki Harata of Japan in the No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
“On the re-start I really messed up,” said Chase. “From then I thought it was over. But when I saw the white flag, I really started pushing because I saw a lot of GTS traffic ahead. I knew that if I got there I would have a chance at getting around him. The GTS traffic really helped out in my favor. Coming around turn 14, Martin was slower than me and I got a better run out of turn 13 and I just went for it. There wasn’t much room, but I did what I had to do so I just tried to go for it and it worked and we were side-by-side the whole way up the front straight. I didn’t even know who won – I had to ask one of the photographers. It was super close.”
For the second straight day, James, the British racer now living in Paradise Valley, Ariz., held off a strong challenge from GTS Overall point leader James Sofronas of Villa Park, Calif., in the No. 14 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 and 18-year-old Harry Gottsacker of San Antonio, Tex., in the No. 69 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4.
“What a great weekend for Team Panoz,” said James, who won both GTS races last year at Road America also. “The race was really close. I had the Mustang, SIN Car and Audi, everybody basically side-to-side around this race track. I’m so proud of the hard work that everybody does. Thanks for Don Panoz’ continued support in this magical weekend. Sofronas and the Audi definitely got top speed on us, but, after 49 minutes, I definitely wasn’t going to give it up without a fight. I hope to keep the four-for-four alive for next year.”
In the GTSA class, local favorite Courtney took his first class win Sunday in the No. 99 JCR Motorsports Maserati Grand Turismo GT4 over veteran Mike Hedlund of Redwood City, Calif., in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT4 and Drew Staveley of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ginetta G55.
“Road America is my home track and I have been racing here for a long time,” said Courtney. “We had a bunch of family, friends and sponsors on hand this weekend including the Patriot Education Fund which we helped raise money for them. The Maserati was strong this weekend and I’m very happy to put the car in victory lane at Road America. I know we had the car to win and even compete for the overall win. I’m really happy for the team because the guys worked really hard to get the car better every session.”
The Pirelli World Challenge Championships now move to Portland International Raceway on July 13-15 with all eight series classes competing in its first PWC event at the track since 2006.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Race results of the GT/GTS classes Saturday in the Pirelli World Challenge 50-minute sprint event at Road America. All results are provisional until posted Final.
1,1, GT,Michael CHRISTENSEN,Karlslunde, DNK,DNK,Porsche 911 GT3 R (991),21,Running,51:46.500,
2,2, GT,Alvaro PARENTE,Porto, Portugal,PRT,Bentley Continental GT3,21,Running,51:48.710,2.210
3,3, GT,Daniel MANCINELLI,Fabriano, Italy,ITA,Ferrari 488 GT3,21,Running,51:49.390,2.890
4,4, GT,Scott HARGROVE,Tsawwassen, BC,CAN,Porsche 911 GT3 R (991),21,Running,51:50.612,4.112
5,5, GT,Toni VILANDER,Kankaanpää,FIN,Ferrari 488 GT3,21,Running,51:51.002,4.502
6,6, GT,Rodrigo BAPTISTA,São Paulo,BRA,Bentley Continental GT3,21,Running,51:59.739,13.239
7,1, GTA,Parker CHASE,New Braunfels, TX,USA,Audi R8 LMS,21,Running,52:01.046,14.546
8,2, GTA,Martin FUENTES,Mexico City, MX,MEX,Ferrari 488 GT3,21,Running,52:01.054,14.554
9,3, GTA,Yuki HARATA,Narita, JP,JPN,Lamborghini Huracan GT3,21,Running,52:23.935,37.435
10,4, GTA,David ASKEW,Salt Lake City, UT,USA,Mercedes AMG-GT3,21,Running,52:24.275,37.775
11,5, GTA,Andy WILZOCH,Denver, CO,USA,Porsche 911 GT3 R (991),21,Running,52:29.899,43.399
12,1, ,Ryan HARDWICK,Atlanta, GA,USA,Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo,21,Running,52:52.025,1:05.525
13,1, GTS,Ian JAMES,Paradise Valley, AZ,USA,Panoz Avezzano GT4,21,Running,53:48.397,2:01.897
14,2, GTS,James SOFRONAS,Villa Park, CA,USA,Audi R8 LMS GT4,21,Running,53:48.834,2:02.334
15,3, GTS,Harry GOTTSACKER,San Antonio, TX,USA,SIN R1,21,Running,53:49.094,2:02.594
16,4, GTS,Jade BUFORD,Nashville, TN,USA,Ford Mustang GT4,21,Running,53:58.401,2:11.901
17,1, GTSA,Jeff COURTNEY,Milwaukee, WI,USA,Maserati Grand Turismo MC GT4,21,Running,54:07.072,2:20.572
18,2, GTSA,Mike HEDLUND,Redwood City, CA,USA,Audi R8 LMS GT4,21,Running,54:07.608,2:21.108
19,3, GTSA,Drew STAVELEY,Salt Lake City, UT,USA,Ginetta G55,21,Running,54:08.187,2:21.687
20,4, GTSA,Preston CALVERT,Potomac, MD,USA,Panoz Avezzano GT4,21,Running,54:08.346,2:21.846
21,5, GTSA,George KURTZ,Surprise Valley, AZ,USA,Audi R8 LMS GT4,21,Running,54:09.470,2:22.970
22,6 GTSA,James CLAY,Blacksburg, VA,USA,BMW M4 GT4,21,Running,54:31.643,2:45.143
23,7, GTSA, Mark KLENIN, Lone Tree, CO, USA, McLaren 570S, 21, Running,55:15.507, 3:29.007
24,5, GTS,Gar ROBINSON,San Antonio, TX,USA,Chevrolet Camaro GT4,20,Running,51:53.570,1 LAP
25,8, GTSA,Orey FIDANI,Etobicoke, ON,CAN,Porsche Cayman GT4 CS-MR,20,Running,51:57.626,1 LAP
26,9, GTSA,Tony GAPLES,Libertyville, IL,USA,Chevrolet Camaro GT4,20,Running,51:58.917,1 LAP
27,10, GTSA,Adam MERZON,Greenwich, CT,USA,Audi R8 LMS GT4,20,Running,51:59.251,1 LAP
28,6, GTS,Shane LEWIS,Jupiter, FL,USA,Chevrolet Camaro GT4,20,Running,51:59.942,1 LAP
29,11, GTSA,Frank GANNETT,Steamboat Springs, CO,USA,Ginetta G55,20,Running,52:00.389,1 LAP
30,12, GTSA,James PESEK,Harrisonville, MO,USA,Ford Mustang GT4,20,Running,52:06.922,1 LAP
31,13, GTSA,Nicolai ELGHANAYAN,Laguna Beach, FL,USA,KTM X-Bow,20,Running,52:08.050,1 LAP
32,7, GT,Daniel MORAD,Toronto, ON,CAN,Mercedes-AMG GT3,19,Not Running,47:53.749,2 LAPS
33,14, GTSA,Marko RADISIC,Belgrade,SRB,BMW M4 GT4,18,Not Running,49:19.138,3 LAPS
34,7, GTS,Lawson ASCHENBACH,Palm Beach Gardens, FL,USA,Chevrolet Camaro GT4,15,Not Running,39:53.807,6 LAPS
35,8, GTS,Vinnie ALLEGRETTA,Hamptons, NY,USA,Ford Mustang GT4,12,Not Running,35:54.895,9 LAPS
36,15, GTSA,Alan BRYNJOLFSSON,Tampa, FL,USA,Ford Mustang GT4,11,Not Running,29:33.566,10 LAPS
37,6, GTA,Anthony IMPERATO,Brooklyn, NY,USA,Porsche 911 GT3 R (991),7,Not Running,20:29.909,14 LAPS
38,16, GTSA,Jason BELL,Tampa, FL,USA,Audi R8 LMS GT4,6,Not Running,14:38.268,15 LAPS