BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – Kurt Rezzetano, of Phoenixville, Pa. held off pole sitter Max Riddle, of Vancouver, B.C. and Jack Baldwin, of Marietta, Ga. to score his first career GTS win. Saturday’s 29-lap GTS Round 7 race, part of the Remo Ferri Group Canadian Grand Prix presented by Replay XD event, was held at the 10-turn 2.459 mile Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
The 17-car GTS field took the green flag with Riddle in the No. 07 TRG-AMR Royal Purple/Orion/LaSalle Solutions/PassTime USA Aston Martin Vantage GT4 leading the field into turn one and through the first part of the lap. However, as Riddle headed to turn 7, Rezzetano in the No. 37 Calvert Dynamics/Phoenix Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302 found the opportunity to make a pass for the lead. The pass, finalized in turn 8, would be the only pass for the lead in the race. Rezzetano was awarded the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race award.
Behind the top two, Baldwin running in third in the No. 73 GTSport RESET-MD Porsche Cayman was able to draw away from the pack, but was unable to stay with the leaders as the first laps of the race passed. The pack behind Baldwin in the early part of the race was led by Andrew Aquilante, of Chester Springs, Pa. driving the No. 32 Calvert Dynamics/Phoenix Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302 and Mark Wilkins, of Toronto, ON. in the No. 38 Kinetic Motorsports PutOnTheBrakes.org Kia Racing Optima.
On lap three, Dan Martinson from Medina, Minn. in the No 33 Rehagen Racing Gear Tie/Night Ize Ford Mustang Boss 302 contacted the inside turn 10 curbing too hard. Upon entering turn one, the No. 33 had a right front suspension issue that resulted in the right front wheel wobbling violently. Martinson pulled his Mustang off the track resulting in an early caution.
Once the race resumed on lap 9, Rezzetano drew away once again from Riddle who also was able to draw away from Baldwin. While the top three were able to establish their positions and gap one another, the same could not be said behind them. Wilkins was able to get past Aquilante on lap 10 with a clean pass in turn 8. Once past, Aquilante was able to stay directly behind the bumper of Wilkins. The sixth-through-tenth-position-pack was also able to stay within one second of each another as the race continued under green for an extended period of time.
Of note during this green period was the driving performance of three-time series drivers’ champion Lou Gigliotti, from Dallas, Texas, driving the No. 28 LG Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Gigliotti, started 14th on the day and steadily moved up through the field as his Vantage GT4 had considerable pace relative to the competitors that started in front of him. On lap 15 Gigliotti passed the No. 20 BestIT Racing Chevrolet Camaro of Andy Lee from Colorado Springs, Colo. for eighth with a bold move in turn eight. From this point on, Gigliotti continued to show with each lap that his pace was such that he continued to climb up the field. By lap 20 he was into the top five with another outstanding pass on Aquilante in turn 10. After this pass a multi-lap battle ensued with Wilkins for fourth. Gigliotti was passed by Aquilante on lap 23 after attempting to pass Wilkins through turn 10. He moved back into fifth with a turn 3 pass on lap 24 on Aquilante.From there he moved into fourth on lap 26 with another opportunistic maneuver on Wilkins in the turn 3, 4, 5 sequence.
The top three remained as they had been since lap one with Rezzetano over Riddle and Baldwin. Gigliotti was putting a gap between him and Wilkins and this appeared to be how the top four would finish. However, Gigliotti made heavy contact with the outside wall as he exited turn 9 on the approach to turn 10 on lap 27 resulted in a late race caution. The race ended under a yellow-checkered flag for the field. The final top five for the race were Rezzetano, Riddle, Baldwin, Aquilante, and Wilkins.
Of note, Gigliotti was awarded the Optima Batteries Best Start Award with a gain of three positions off of the start. Gigliotti also claimed the Cadillac ATS V R Move of the Race for his pass on Wilkins. Buz McCall, of Boca Raton, Fla., in the No. 72 RESET-MD GTSport Racing Porsche Cayman was awarded the VP Racing Fuel Hard Charger award gaining five positions during the race.
“The guys gave me an awesome car, we hit the setup,” said Baldwin. “We had a good start good got a really good clean start everybody did nice job out there rolled into it got a really good tow up the back straight early from the Aston from Max and the Mustang before the mustang got by kind of helped me then behind me they got into a big battle and that really helped me so I was kind of in the middle there just kind of taking advantage of a good day which we certainly needed one we’ve worked hard to get back to where we are now we’ve got a pretty good car no complaints really all and all I mean my hats off to everybody on the team for working hard and sticking with it and doing the job they do I’m proud to be ther driver and I appreciate it. We run the motors so hard so my hats off to Motul they have a hell of a product and of course the brakes the StopTech brakes are always there for me. I appreciate being here it’s been awhile.
“The TRG Aston Martin performed wonderfully today,” said Riddle. “The car is awesome I give a big thanks to Kris Wilson for dialing the car in for me while I was away this season. Just relly happy to be back. Kurt did an amazing job in the race today. It’s my first race on Pirelli tires and in the Pirelli World Challenge and the tires are amazing the car works a lot better on these tires and I just had a ton of fun. It’s my first race back here in Canada. I’m from Vancouver. I raced here once last year in another series. Getting a podium here in Canada is definitely huge for me. I couldn’t be happier.”
“The Mustang compared to the Aston was an interesting battle,” said Rezzetano. “The Aston has all of the components to make a great race car especially in this series. With the added aero compared to last year when we both ran (in another series) and we did not have the aero package we have now and wow it’s so different. Max and I were dead even down the back straight. The only way I got by him was getting a run out of five. (His Aston) has a little bit better corner speed than the Mustang does. For what the Mustang is and the weight we run at the car is incredible. We had great horsepower and great brakes all day long with our Hawk pads. We got a little bit of a break as it was not as hot as it could have been. The cooler weather helps us keep the tires on the car a little longer compared to the Aston and the Porsche especially. I knew Jack would be coming because if it was hot and greasy that’s where the Porsche is really good. It was a really great race. It was a matter of me keeping my head down and keeping the gap. Really I was not managing anything. I was going 10-10ths the whole time to try to get away from them. All and all it was a great day.”
Riddle had the fastest lap of the race with a 1:24.951, and will start on pole for the Round 8 GTS race scheduled for 9:40 a.m. Sunday. Watch live streaming of the race at world-challengetv.com or torque.tv.
Results are provisional until posted final.
BOWMANVILLE, ON – Results from Saturday’s 29-lap 71.311 mile Pirelli World Challenge Championship GTS Round 7 race, part of the Remo Ferri Group Grand Prix prsnt by Replay XD at CTMP, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any).
1. GTS, (2), Kurt Rezzetano, Phoenixville, Pa., Ford Mustang Boss 302, 29.
2. GTS, (1), Max Riddle, Vancouver, Canada, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 29, -1.668.
3. GTS, (3), Jack Baldwin, Marietta, Ga., Porsche Cayman, 29, -7.845.
4. GTS, (5), Andrew Aquilante, Chester Springs, Pa., Ford Mustang Boss 302, 29, -11.550.
5. GTS, (6), Mark Wilkins, Toronto, Ontario, KIA Optima, 29, -14.141.
6. GTS, (10), Jack Roush Jr, Livonia, Mich., Ford Mustang Boss302, 29, -16.161.
7. GTS, (11), Ben Clucas, Northampton England, , Kia Optima, 29, -18.892.
8. GTS, (7), Andy Lee, Colorado Springs, Colo., Chevrolet Camaro, 29, -19.980.
9. GTS, (9), Nick Esayian, San Diego, Calif., Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 29, -22.826.
10. GTS, (13), Tony Gaples, Libertyville, Ill., Chevrolet Z28, 29, -25.144.
11. GTS, (8), Dean Martin, Westland, Mich., Ford Mustang Boss302, 28, -1 lap.
12. GTS, (17), Buz McCall, Boca Raton, Fla., Porsche Cayman, 28, -1 lap.
13. GTS, (14), Lou Gigliotti, Dallas, Texas, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 26, Crash.
14. GTS, (4), Michael Cooper, Syosset, N.Y., Chevrolet Z28, 23, Mech.
15. GTS, (16), Mark Klenin, Lone Tree, Colo., Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 14, Mech.
16. GTS, (15), Preston Calvert(R), Potomac, Md., Ford Mustang Boss 302, 4, Mech.
17. GTS, (12), Dan Martinson(R), Medina, Minn., Ford Mustang Boss302, 1, Crash.
Time of race: 48 minutes, 41.391 seconds.
Average speed: 87.875 mph
Margin of victory: 1.668 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-29, #37 Kurt Rezzetano
Fastest race lap: #07 Max Riddle, 1:24.951 (104.206 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #07 Max Riddle, 1:23.717 (105.742 mph)