Leifooghe, Murillo & O’Connell Score Touring Car Round 9 Victories Saturday in Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Texas at COTA
Great battles in all three divisions in Saturday’s 40-minute TC contest
AUSTIN, Texas – Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco, Calif., held off veteran Nick Wittmer of Montreal, Que., Canada in a wild Touring Car Round 9 40-minute sprint race Saturday at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Texas at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
Kenny Murillo of Santa Rosa, Calif., and Canaan O’Connell of Chandler, Ariz., won the TCA and TCB class races, respectively.
Liefooghe, driving the No. 20 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M235iR, started from the pole and had to fight off Wittmer throughout the 15-lap TC event to win the Touring Car Round 9 by 1.537 seconds at the checkered flag. Wittmer actually led a portion of the TC event before Liefooghe was able to regain the lead for the remainder of the race.
“It was a huge battle,” said Liefooghe. “I think Nick’s car was better than ours at the start of the race. Then our car came in and we were a little bit stronger at the end. Even though there are a lot of passing zones here, the cars perform really close together so it’s difficult. It was great racing with them, it’s super clean. We came out on top but we know they’re going to come out strong tomorrow.”
Third in Saturday’s Touring Car division was Anthony Magagnoli of Dexter, Mich., in the No. 80 Rooster Hall/FCP Euro Racing BMW M235iR followed by defending TC series champion Toby Grahovec of Celina, Tex., in the No. 1 Classic BMW BMW M235iR and Matt Travis of Houston, Tex., in the No. 26 Classic BMW BMW M235iR.
The Hard Charger award in Saturday’s TC division went to Anthony Geraci of Glen Cove, N.Y., in the No. 69 S.A.C. Racing Audi RS3 LMS Club Sport, while veteran Gino Carini of Milwaukee, Wis., won the Best Start of the race in the No. 2 Classic BMW BMW M235iR.
Murillo, a Utah winner in TCA last month in the No. 33 Murillo Racing Mazda Global MX-5 Cup car, competed in a spirited race with Matthew Fassnacht of Madison, N.J. in the No. 33 S.A.C. Racing Mazda MX-5 and reigning TCA champion Elivan Goulart of Shelton, Conn., in the No. 70 S.A.C. Racing Mazda Global MX-5 Cup car.
“The restart was kind of tough on me, since I kind of blew it,” said Murillo. “But, I just kept my head down to scout out what everyone else was doing and scan for any weaknesses. It was kind of a challenge to get around Elivan (Goulart). It’s a little tough when you have ten cars behind you and you’re not sure if that’s going to help you out. But I got a little lucky that I was on the last lap so they were fighting for second and third. Now I’ll be ready to try again tomorrow.”
Rounding out the top-five in TCA were local racer Jeff Sexton of Austin, Tex., in the No. 89 Winding Road Team TFB Mazda Global MX-5 Cup and Tom O’Gorman of Mason, Ohio in the No. 94 Shea Racing Honda Civic Si.
The win for O’Connell was the fourth of the year in TCB in the No. 24 TechSport Racing Chevrolet Sonic, as the son of four-time GT champion Johnny O’Connell moved closer the TCB point lead entering Sunday’s Touring Car Round 10 race set for 2:35 p.m. CDT.
Utah winner P.J. Groenke of Richmond Hill, Ont., Canada was second Saturday in TCB with the No. 25 TechSport Racing Chevrolet Sonic, while third went to Ted Sahley of Cleveland, Ohio, in the No. 02 Believeland Motorsport Mazda 2.
“It was interesting that (the race) ended up being between P.J. (Groenke) and myself and he is a phenomenal teammate on and off the track,” said O’Connell. “I knew that I couldn’t afford to make any mistakes because he was glued to my bumper the whole race. I don’t do a lot of mirror-driving. At the Bondurant racing school, we do a lot of lead/follow where students follow the lead driver. The Circuit of the Americas has been a track that I’ve really wanted to race on since it was created and to be able to do that and the first time take home a victory I’ll never forget this moment.”
Touring Car classes next take to the track at 2:35 p.m. CDT on Sunday, Sept. 3rd. All races from the GP of Texas at COTA will be live-streamed for free at World-Challenge.com and MotorTrendOnDemand.com.
Provisional Results of Saturday’s Touring Car Round 9 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, ,Greg LIEFOOGHE,San Francisco, CA,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:27.554,
2,2, ,Nick WITTMER,Montreal, Quebec,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:29.091,1.537
3,3, ,Anthony MAGAGNOLI,Dexter, MI,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:31.791,4.237
4,4, ,Toby GRAHOVEC,Celina, TX,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:34.004,6.450
5,5, ,Matt TRAVIS,Houston, TX,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:36.074,8.520
6,6, ,Mason FILIPPI,Alamo, CA,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:42.239,14.685
7,7, ,Tony RIVERA,Oceanside, CA,Nissan 370Z,15,Running,41:42.516,14.962
8,8, ,Jacob RUUD,Racine, WI,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:46.563,19.009
9,9, ,Stefan SAJIC,Belgrade, Serbia,BMW M235iR,15,Running,41:48.672,21.118
10,10, ,Paul HOLTON,Orlando, FL,Audi RS 3 LMS Clubsport,15,Running,41:50.990,23.436
11,11, ,John WEISBERG,Webster, NY,Mazda MX-5,15,Running,42:04.280,36.726
12,12, ,Rodrigo SALES,Sonoma, CA,BMW M235iR,15,Running,42:05.345,37.791
13,13, ,Jason COUPAL,Rochester, NY,Audi RS 3 LMS Clubsport,15,Running,42:09.389,41.835
14,14, ,Samantha TAN,Gormley, Ontario,BMW M235iR,15,Running,42:10.263,42.709
15,15, ,Henry SCHMITT,San Francisco, CA,BMW M235iR,15,Running,42:13.416,45.862
16,16, ,Chris OHMACHT,Franklin Lakes, NJ,BMW M235iR,15,Running,42:20.523,52.969
17,17, ,Randy HALE,Haddam, CT,Mazda MX-5,15,Running,42:22.019,54.465
18,18, ,Dan HONOVICH,Carmel, NY,Genesis Coupe,15,Running,42:40.890,1:13.336
19,19, ,Anthony GERACI,Glen Cove, NY,Audi RS3 LMS Clubsport,15,Running,42:42.516,1:14.962
20,20, ,Derek KULACH,Albuquerque, NM,Nissan 370Z,15,Running,42:43.459,1:15.905
21,21, ,Gino CARINI,Milwaukee, WI,BMW M235iR,15,Running,42:44.804,1:17.250
22,22, ,Daren JORGENSEN,Austin, TX,BMW M235iR,15,Running,42:45.558,1:18.004
23,23, ,Karl WITTMER,Montreal, Quebec,Honda Accord,15,Running,43:08.014,1:40.460
24,1, A,Kenny MURILLO,Santa Rosa, CA,Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Car,15,Running,43:29.388,2:01.834
25,2, A,Matthew FASSNACHT,Madison, NJ,Mazda MX-5,15,Running,43:32.651,2:05.097
26,3, A,Elivan GOULART,Shelton, CT,Mazda Gobal MX-5 Cup Car,15,Running,43:32.935,2:05.381
27,4, A,Jeff SEXTON,Austin, TX,Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Car,15,Running,43:53.497,2:25.943
28,5, A,Tom O’GORMAN,Mason, OH,Honda Civic Si,15,Running,43:56.951,2:29.397
29,6, A,Shea HOLBROOK,Orlando, FL,Honda Civic Si,14,Running,41:48.896,1 LAP
30,7, A,Daniel MOEN,Rindge, NH,Mazda MX-5,14,Running,42:12.213,1 LAP
31,1, B,Canaan O’CONNELL,Chandler, AZ,Chevrolet Sonic,14,Running,43:28.708,1 LAP
32,2, B,P.J. GROENKE,Richmond Hill, Ontario,Chevrolet Sonic,14,Running,43:36.435,1 LAP
33,3, B,Ted SAHLEY,Cleveland, OH,Mazda 2,14,Running,43:49.008,1 LAP
34,4, B,Jake PIPAL,Oakdale, CA,Honda Fit,14,Running,43:55.953,1 LAP
35,5, B,Jasper DRENGLER,Shawano, WI,Honda Fit,14,Running,43:56.905,1 LAP
36,6, B,Blake THOMPSON,Oak Creek, WI,Mazda 2,14,Running,44:22.311,1 LAP
37,24, ,Jeff RICCA,Milford, CT,Genesis Coupe,11,Not Running,34:23.123,4 LAPS
38,25, ,Joshua FORAN,Odenville, AL,Honda Accord,8,Not Running,25:09.262,7 LAPS
39,26, ,Travis WASHAY,Milford, CT,Audi RS 3 LMS Club Sport,7,Not Running,23:40.003,8 LAPS
40,27, ,Chetan PURANIK,Belgaum, India,BMW M235iR,6,Not Running,19:43.487,9 LAPS
41,8, A,Keith JENSEN,Dorado, Puerto Rico,Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Car,5,Not Running,17:53.933,10 LAPS
42,9, A,Eric POWELL,Orlando, FL,Scion FR-S,5,Not Running,19:58.910,10 LAPS
43,10, A,Daniel WILLIAMS,Scottsbluff, NE,Scion FR-S,2,NC,43:46.169,13 LAPS
44,28, ,Robert NIMKOFF,Newtown, CT,BMW M235iR,0,NC,,
45,29, ,Aristotle BALOGH,Palo Alto, CA,BMW M235iR,0,NC,0.000,
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