Italy’s Mancinelli Stuns GT Field Again in TR3 Racing Ferrari In his Sonoma Raceway debut for Pirelli World Challenge Qualifying
Ferrari Pilot hadn’t Seen the track until Thursday Practice, Experienced 1st Hurricane in Miami
SONOMA, Calif. – To say that Italy’s Daniel Mancinelli had some wild times the last two weeks would be an understatement. But the 5-foot-four racer didn’t let any of his difficulties keep him from driving the No. 31 TR3 Racing/The Collection Ferrari 488 GT3 to the provisional pole position Saturday morning at Sonoma Raceway for the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Sonoma.
Mancinelli, literally unknown in North America before his debut at St. Petersburg this past March, has been the surprise of the GT field in 2017 with three SprintX race wins and three pole positions in his PWC season debut. He currently ranks in the top-five in both the GT Sprint and GT Overall points.
After a tough DNF two weeks ago at COTA, Mancinelli and his Miami-based team went through a series of rough situations with Hurricane Irma and the repair of their Ferrari. At COTA, Mancinelli’s teammate, Niccolo Schiro, spun the Ferrari on the opening lap of the final SprintX race and the car sustained suspension damage. The team could not return to the Miami shop due to the hurricane.
Mancinelli, residing in Miami, had never experienced a hurricane-level storm like Hurricane Irma, even just missing Hurricane Harvey in Texas days before.
After repairs on the car were made at Sonoma Raceway, Mancinelli hoped to walk the 2.35-mile, 12-turn circuit on Thursday, but arrived at the circuit too late. So, his first laps at Sonoma Raceway were made sight unseen during Friday morning’s practice (30 minutes).
None of the trials of the previous two weeks affected Mancinelli, who recorded a new GT Qualifying track record of one minute, 32.002 seconds (93.32 miles per hour). Daniel will start from the pole in Saturday’s 50-minute feature set for 2:15 p.m. PDT.
“Unfortunately, we did not have any testing at Sonoma Raceway and I had to learn the track quickly on Friday morning,” said Mancinelli. “The first session I just tried to see the track and the direction it goes. Then, Friday afternoon I put all of the pieces together to find a way for a fast lap. After the team fixed the repairs from COTA’s damage, I knew we had a good car and this morning’s qualifying was very good. It has been a crazy time for us the past two weeks.”
Mancinelli’s 1:32.002 lap bettered the GT track record of 1:32.214 (93.110 m.p.h.) set last year by young Austin Cindric in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S.
Starting on the front row with Mancinelli Saturday in the Round 18 GT event will be newly-crowned GT SprintX champion Michael Cooper of Syosset, N.Y., in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. at 1:32.148 (93.17 m.p.h.)
“The Ferrari has a lot of speed right now,” Cooper said. “I think we are happy starting P2 for the first race. There are some new cars that weren’t here last year that we have to contend with. We can fight from there for sure. The Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe is pretty good. We have limited practice time here so we rolled off the trailer pretty good. The guys are working hard and we are ready to race.”
Rounding out the top-five qualifiers in the GT division is two-time GT SprintX race winner Ryan Dalziel in the No. 2 CRP Racing/DeVilbiss Mercedes-AMG GT3 at 1:32.216 (93.10 m.p.h.), Germany’s Pierre Kaffer in the No.4 Magnus Racing Audi RS 8 LMS at 1:32.312 (93.01 m.p.h.) and current GT Sprint and GT Overall point leader Patrick Long of Manhattan Beach, Calif., in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R at 1:32.318 (93.00 m.p.h.).
Reigning GT champion Alvaro Parente of Portugal, a four-time 2017 GT race winner, qualified seventh Saturday in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S at 1:32.472 (92.84 m.p.h.), just behind Jon Fogarty of Bend, Ore., who took the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stalling Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R at 1:32.328 (92.99 m.p.h.).
Completing the top-ten in GT time trials were college student Alec Udell of The Woodlands, Tex., in the No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports/GMG Porsche 911 GT3 R at 1:32.697 (92.62 m.p.h.), Bryan Sellers of Braselton, Ga., in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S and Michael Schein of Glen Cove, N.Y., the leading GTA qualifier in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R at 1:32.893 (92.42 m.p.h.)
Schein’s qualifying lap also was a new GTA mark, besting last year’s 1:33.951 (91.38 m.p.h.) record set by Martin Fuentes in the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 GT3.
“I’m definitely happy with how today’s going so far,” Schein said. “It was a great result for myself and the team. They’ve done a great job all weekend and our Porsche was spot on. Patrick going out first was beneficial for my car because we were able to see how his tires came in and make some adjustments to help optimize our lap. We were able to get in a good lap early and just hang out for the rest of the session. Hopefully we translate this morning’s qualifying session into a good race result.”
Trailing Schein in GTA qualifying was GT SprintX Pro/Am champion James Sofronas of Villa Park, Calif., in the No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R at 1:33.551 (91.77 m.p.h.) and Pablo Perez Companc of Argentina in the No. 69 Champ 1 Mercedes-AMG GT3 at 1:33.657 (91.67 m.p.h.).
Round 8 is scheduled for Saturday at 2:15 p.m. PDT and will be live streamed for free on World-Challenge.com and MotorTrendOnDemand.com. Round 9 set for Sunday at 10:15 a.m. PDT and will be same-day broadcast on CBS Sports Network at 3:00 p.m. EDT.
Contact: Tom Blattler, Pirelli World Challenge, email@example.com; 317.525.5692
SONOMA – Qualifying results for Saturday’s Pirelli World Challenge Round 18 GT/GTA/GT Cup 50-minute race at Sonoma Raceway. All results are provisional until posted Final.
Pos,PIC,Class,Name,Hometown,Car,Laps,Status,Fastest Lap Time,Fastest Lap Avg. Speed
1,1, Pro,Daniel MANCINELLI,Italy,Ferrari 488 GT3,1:32.002,93.3
2,2, Pro,Michael COOPER,Syosset, NY,Cadillac ATS-V.R,1:32.148,93.1
3,3, Pro,Ryan DALZIEL,Windermere, FL,Mercedes AMG GT3,1:32.216,93.1
4,4, Pro,Pierre KAFFER,Germany,Audi RS 8 LMS,1:32.312,93.0
5,5, Pro,Patrick LONG,Manhattan Beach, CA,Porsche 911 GT3 R,1:32.318,93.0
6,6, Pro,Jon FOGARTY,Bend, OR,Porsche 911 GT3 R,1:32.328,92.9
7,7, Pro,Alvaro PARENTE,Porto, Portugal,McLaren 650S GT3,1:32.472,92.8
8,8, Pro,Alec UDELL,The Woodlands, TX,Porsche 911 GT3 R,1:32.697,92.6
9,9, Pro,Bryan SELLERS,Braselton, GA,McLaren 650S GT3,1:32.821,92.5
10,1, Am,Michael SCHEIN,Glen Cove, NY,Porsche 911 GT3 R,1:32.893,92.4
11,10, Pro,Ryan EVERSLEY,Atlanta, GA,Acura NSX GT3,1:32.939,92.3
12,11, Pro,Peter KOX,Eindhoven, Netherlands,Acura NSX GT3,1:32.944,92.3
13,12, Pro,Johnny O’CONNELL,Flowery Branch, GA,Cadillac ATS-V.R,1:33.055,92.2
14,2, Am,James SOFRONAS,Villa Park, CA,Porsche 911 GT3 R,1:33.551,91.7
15,3, Am,Pablo Perez COMPANC,Buenos Aires, Argentina,Mercedes AMG GT3,1:33.657,91.6
16,4, Am,John POTTER,Salt Lake City, UT,Audi RS 8 LMS, 1:34.549,90.8
17,5, Am,Tim PAPPAS,Boston, MA,Mercedes AMG GT3,1:34.680,90.6
18,13, Pro,Memo GIDLEY,Sausalito, CA,Porsche 911 GT3 R,1:34.764,90.6
19,6, Am,Preston CALVERT,Potomac, MD,Porsche 911 GT3 R,1:35.142,90.2
20,1, GT Cup,Yuki HARATA,Japan,Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo,1:37.311,88.2