N. Wittmer, Murillo & Pipal Record Touring Car Round 10 Wins Sunday in wild Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Texas at COTA
BMW, Mazda & Honda Score Class Victories in crazy battles
AUSTIN, Texas –Nick Wittmer of Montreal, Que., Canada fought off a contingent of challengers Sunday to win a crazy Touring Car Round 10 40-minute sprint race Sunday at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Texas at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in a 44-car field.
Kenny Murillo of Santa Rosa, Calif., and Jake Pipal of Oakdale, Calif., won the TCA and TCB class races, respectively.
Wittmer, battling with Paul Holton and Greg Liefooghe for the Touring Car point championship, enjoyed a great standing start from his pole position Sunday at COTA and one contender after another gave Nick wheel-to-wheel battles throughout the 15-lap Touring Car feature at the 3.247-mile, 20-turn state-of-the-art road circuit southeast of downtown Austin.
And the wild action wasn’t limited to the TC cars as bumper-to-bumper competition took place in the TCA and TCB categories on Sunday afternoon.
At the finish line, Wittmer scored his first 2017 TC victory in the No. 91 ST Racing BMW M235iR coupe by 0.270 seconds over reigning TC series champion Toby Grahovec of Celina, Tex., in the No. 1 Classic BMW BMW M235iR. Third went to Matt Travis of Houston, Tex., in the No. 26 Classic BMW BMW M235iR.
“They were not going to let me get away,” said Wittmer. “For sure, I love the standing starts. We made a little bit of a bad choice with some aero changes just before this race because we had lower top speeds yesterday (Saturday when Wittmer finished second). Yes, it gave me top speed but it really hurt me on the carousel and the high-speed turns. I had to make my car extra wide so the guys couldn’t get by me that easily. But other than that we had a crazy race out there. Some rubbing and tugging but no crazy moves from anybody. Beautiful racing, no complaints – Samantha Tan Racing, BMW Motorsports, Fuse Lenses – they all put it together and we brought it home; a second place and a first place today. I think that puts me up in second place and really close on the championship so Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is going to be an awesome race. This is my favorite track.”
Completing the top-five Sunday in the Touring Car division were Stefan Sajic of Belgrade, Serbia in the No.18 Zima Motorsports BMW M235iR and CTMP winner Mason Filippi of Alamo, Calif., in the No. 12 Winding Road Team TFB,BMW M235iR.
Murillo captured his third TCA division contest in the last four races Sunday with a stellar drive in the No. 33 Murillo Racing Mazda Global MX-5 Cup car over local star Jeff Sexton of Austin, Tex., in the No. 89 Winding Road TFB Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Car, Daniel Williams in the No. 22 TechSport Racing Scion FB-5 and 2016 TCB champion Tom O’Gorman of Mason, Ohio, in he No. 94 Shea Racing/HPD Honda Civic Si.
“The race today was crazy,” said Murillo. “There was a lot of action going on, especially early on. I was trying to stay out of it but it’s hard to do when you’re in the position I was in. I needed a little luck to get through, and from watching ahead to see how they were racing each other. It was pretty violent and I knew that something was going to happen so I wanted to be able to capitalize on it. Three wins out of four races entered. We’re really happy with how we’re doing with the crew. We’re putting in a lot of hard work and we’re happy with how World Challenge handles things. They welcomed us with open arms and made it real easy for us to participate with these great drivers and great programs.”
Young (age 19) Pipal came from the open-wheel ranks but has put in solid showings in the TCB division in 2017 with his No. 6 Jake Pipal Racing Honda Fit. Again, the TCB action was intense with bump-drafting and door-to-door competition.
At the finish, it was Pipal over Blake Thompson of Oak Creek, Wis., in the No. 37 ISellMiataParts Mazda 2, and Jasper Drengler of Shawano, Wis., in the No. 02 Drengler Racing Honda Fit.
“I just drove the best I could,” said Pipal. “I kept smooth and tried to be consistent throughout the entire race. It looks like they got into a little bit of a wreck so I just capitalized on their mistake and kept putting down laps and kept on going and picking them off. The Honda Fit is a great chassis, I can go through corners so much faster than anybody else. Then I have Carbotech brakes on there and they make the best brake pads around and I can out-brake everybody. Finally a huge shout out to Zamp helmets for keeping me safe.”
Rounds 11 and 12 for the three Touring Car classes move to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as part of the California 8-Hour GT Weekend on Oct. 13-14.
Provisional Results of Sunday’s Touring Car Round 10 race in the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Texas at Circuit of the Americas (COTA). All results are provisional until posted Final.
1,1, ,Nick WITTMER,Montreal, Quebec,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:14.664,
2,2, ,Toby GRAHOVEC,Celina, TX,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:14.934,0.270
3,3, ,Matt TRAVIS,Houston, TX,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:15.685,1.021
4,4, ,Stefan SAJIC,Belgrade, Serbia,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:16.344,1.680
5,5, ,Mason FILIPPI,Alamo, CA,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:16.577,1.913
6,6, ,Jacob RUUD,Racine, WI,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:16.740,2.076
7,7, ,Tony RIVERA,Oceanside, CA,Nissan 370Z,15,Running,41:17.460,2.796
8,8, ,Paul HOLTON,Orlando, FL,Audi RS 3 LMS Clubsport,15,Running,41:18.565,3.901
9,9, ,Aristotle BALOGH,Palo Alto, CA,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:23.744,9.080
10,10, ,Jason COUPAL,Rochester, NY,Audi RS 3 LMS Clubsport,15,Running,41:25.559,10.895
11,11, ,Chris OHMACHT,Franklin Lakes, NJ,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:26.187,11.523
12,12, ,Robert NIMKOFF,Newtown, CT,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:27.286,12.622
13,13, ,Greg LIEFOOGHE,San Francisco, CA,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:27.366,12.702
14,14, ,Samantha TAN,Gormley, Ontario,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:28.332,13.668
15,15, ,Henry SCHMITT,San Francisco, CA,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:30.789,16.125
16,16, ,Dan HONOVICH,Carmel, NY,Genesis Coupe,15,Running,41:31.835,17.171
17,17, ,Travis WASHAY,Milford, CT,Audi RS 3 LMS Club Sport,15,Running,41:32.084,17.420
18,18, ,Derek KULACH,Albuquerque, NM,Nissan 370Z,15,Running,41:36.729,22.065
19,19, ,Gino CARINI,Milwaukee, WI,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:40.610,25.946
20,1, A,Kenny MURILLO,Santa Rosa, CA,Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Car,15,Running,42:07.471,52.807
21,2, A,Jeff SEXTON,Austin, TX,Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Car,15,Running,42:09.417,54.753
22,3, A,Daniel WILLIAMS,Scottsbluff, NE,Scion FR-S,15,Running,42:09.720,55.056
23,20, ,Daren JORGENSEN,Austin, TX,BMW M235iR,15,Running,42:10.972,56.308
24,4, A,Tom O’GORMAN,Mason, OH,Honda Civic Si,15,Running,42:11.895,57.231
25,5, A,Shea HOLBROOK,Orlando, FL,Honda Civic Si,15,Running,42:22.166,1:07.502
26,6, A,Keith JENSEN,Dorado, Puerto Rico,Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Car,15,Running,42:22.429,1:07.765
27,7, A,Daniel MOEN,Rindge, NH,Mazda MX-5,15,Running,42:33.870,1:19.206
28,8, A,Elivan GOULART,Shelton, CT,Mazda Gobal MX-5 Cup Car,15,Running,43:02.467,1:47.803
29,21, ,John WEISBERG,Webster, NY,Mazda MX-5,14,Not Running,38:50.891,1 LAP
30,9, A,Matthew FASSNACHT,Madison, NJ,Mazda MX-5,14,Running,42:03.294,1 LAP
31,1, B,Jake PIPAL,Oakdale, CA,Honda Fit,14,Running,43:10.986,1 LAP
32,2, B,Blake THOMPSON,Oak Creek, WI,Mazda 2,14,Running,43:15.864,1 LAP
33,3, B,Jasper DRENGLER,Shawano, WI,Honda Fit,14,Running,43:16.325,1 LAP
34,4, B,Canaan O’CONNELL,Chandler, AZ,Chevrolet Sonic,14,Running,43:28.783,1 LAP
35,5, B,P.J. GROENKE,Richmond Hill, Ontario,Chevrolet Sonic,14,Running,43:48.081,1 LAP
36,22, ,Rodrigo SALES,Sonoma, CA,BMW M235iR,13,Running,36:22.061,2 LAPS
37,23, ,Anthony MAGAGNOLI,Dexter, MI,BMW M235iR,12,Not Running,34:11.413,3 LAPS
38,24, ,Anthony GERACI,Glen Cove, NY,Audi RS3 LMS Clubsport,10,Not Running,31:32.134,5 LAPS
39,10, A,Eric POWELL,Orlando, FL,Scion FR-S,9,Not Running,24:05.241,6 LAPS
40,25, ,Karl WITTMER,Montreal, Quebec,Honda Accord,8,Not Running,19:57.537,7 LAPS
41,6, B,Ted SAHLEY,Cleveland, OH,Mazda 2,8,Not Running,27:50.949,7 LAPS
42,26, ,Chetan PURANIK,Belgaum, India,BMW M235iR,6,Not Running,15:24.569,9 LAPS
43,27, ,Randy HALE,Haddam, CT,Mazda MX-5,6,Not Running,15:36.206,9 LAPS
44,28, ,Jeff RICCA,Milford, CT,Genesis Coupe,2,Not Running,5:45.186,13 LAPS