•Double Delight for Filippi, Hyundai in TCR
•Ricca Claims First TC Victory with Last-Lap Pass
•Wittmer Holds off Pombo’s TCA Mini Again
Hyundai Sweeps COTA with First Wins for Veloster N TCR
Twenty-year-old Mason Filippi swept the TC America TCR races this weekend with two commanding drives, giving the Hyundai Veloster N TCR its first victories in global competition.
After needing to work his way through the field to win Saturday’s season-opener, the TFB Performance driver ran lights-to-flag in Sunday’s 40-minute contest.
Filippi looked set for a clear victory but nothing was certain heading into the final five minutes as traffic allowed Nate Vincent to bunch up in his FCP Euro Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR.
However, Filippi managed to hold on to secure his second career TCR victory and leave COTA with the championship lead.
Vincent’s teammate Michael Hurczyn earned a spot on the podium in his Volkswagen, while James Walker Jr. finished fourth in the Risi Competizione Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR after losing out to the two FCP machines early on.
In the TCR Cup category, Alphasonic Motorsport finished first and third as Alain Lauziere produced an outstanding drive for his second win in as many days.
Lauziere’s Audi RS3 LMS TCR finished 7.5 seconds ahead of the eEuroparts.com ROWE Racing Audi driven by Bryan Putt, while Nelson Chan completed the podium to cap a decorated weekend for Alphasonic.
Mason Filippi, #12 TFB Performance Hyundai Veloster N TCR (Winner, TC America TCR): “It was a great weekend in the Hyundai Veloster N TCR. I had great battles with the FCP Euro guys and I’m really glad to be on the podium with them. The Veloster N TCR held on strong through the entire weekend. It started out first and ended up first. I’m really excited to be here. TFB Performance is great and I’m so thankful for my family for being here. I can’t wait for the next one.”
Ricca Rallies to Thrilling TC Race 2 Win
The weather played a factor with the two Copart/BimmerWorld Racing BMW M240iR Cup cars of Cameron Evans and Chandler Hull taking a gamble to run on wet Pirelli tires, which thrust them into an early 1-2 lead.
But the tables turned midway through the race as the track started to dry up. Evans and Hull were caught and passed by the three cars that would go on to create a thrilling lead battle in the closing stages.
As in Race 1, it was a battle to the finish between Ricca, Race 1 winner Schwartz (#80 Rooster Hall Racing BMW) and Toby Grahovec (#26 Classic BMW) with Ricca overtaking both in a dramatic final two laps.
Ricca stood hard on his brakes at the end of the back straightaway to move up to second past Grahovec before performing a similar maneuver on Schwartz into turn 1 a few moments later.
Grahovec also got by Schwartz on the final lap, while pole-sitter Paul Terry made it three different manufacturers in the top four with his #33 Rearden Racing Nissan 370Z.
Joseph Federl did well to recover from an early spin to finish fourth in the #23 TechSport Nissan, ahead of Zane Hodgen in the #4 Lone Star Racing BMW M235iR Cup.
Jeff Ricca, #78 GenRacer Hyundai Genesis Coupe (Winner, TC America TC): “It was interesting to say the least. In the beginning, I was radioing to my crew chief saying we made a mistake and should have been on rain [tires]. He assured me that slicks were the way to go, and halfway through the race he was 100 percent correct. We went around the BimmerWorld cars that had rains on and our Hyundai Genesis Coupe just chugged through the field and took advantage of Johan in Turn 1, and we won the race.”
Wittmer Holds off Pombo to Win Eclectic TCA Races
In a near-repeat of Saturday’s race, Wittmer needed to soak up the advances of Mark Pombo’s #59 MINI Cooper JCW for most of the 40 minutes.
Wittmer, who started on pole, dictated the pace from the start but needed to produce some fine defensive driving to keep Pombo at bay in the eager Mini.
There was close action in the battle for the final podium spot, too, as Taylor Hagler muscled her #77 X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si into third with six minutes remaining.
From there, Hagler drew out ahead of Jose DaSilva’s #07 Ives Motorsport Mazda Global MX5 Cup and Nate Norenberg in the #60 Mini JCW Cooper, who finished fourth and fifth respectively after a race-long battle.
Wittmer, who is new to the TCA field this season, now leads the drivers’ standings heading into the next round at Virginia International Raceway on April 26-28, where all three TC America series will again be present.