Lakeville, Conn. – Nick Wittmer, Elivan Goluart and Will Rodgers won Friday’s TC, TCA and TCB Round 5, respectively at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Lime Rock presented by Bentley. The race was run under mixed conditions, with 82-degree temperatures and light rain off and on.
With the field lined up perfectly for the rolling start, drama ensued when the green flag flew as TC pole-sitter Adam Poland, in the No. 33 Doghouse Performance Edge Addicts Mazda MX-5, ducked into the pits with a mechanical issue. With the hood going up on his car in pit lane, Poland’s team worked to remedy to issue, but he retired from the race without completing a single lap.
That allowed Nick Wittmer, in the No. 91 Honda Ste-Rose Racing Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, from the second row on the grid, to charge under Dennis Hanratty, Jr., in the No 4 KRUGSPEED Racing/Beta Tools/OG Racing/Winmax Brakes Lotus Exige, for the race lead in turn one from the start.
Tony Rivera, in the No. 97 Brass Monkey Racing Tiburon Motorsports Nissan 370z, was third in TC after the opening lap ahead of CTMP winner and points leader Toby Grahovec, in the No. 26 BMW M235iR for Classic BMW Motorsports.
TCA pole sitter Elivan Goulart, in the No. 70, S.A.C. Racing/SCDA1.com Mazda MX-5 Cup, led on lap one with Eric Powell, in the No. 23 Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup, slotting into second.
In TCB, Henry Morse, in the No. 14 Hale Motorsports MorseGPS powered by CalAmp/MazdaSpeed/FreeM USA/Corksport Performance/Rolling Hills Prep/Hale Motorsports/Bell/Leatt Prep Mazda 2, took the lead at the start over Will Rodgers in the No. 65 Hale Motorsports Solvang Brewing Co/Kelly Benefit Strategies/Foundation Fighting Blindness Mazda 2. Pole-sitter Travis Washay, in the No. 30 Indian Racing Summer MINI Cooper, was shuffled back to third on the opening lap.
A few laps later Rivera pitted his TC Nissan with a trail of smoke following the car in an apparent mechanical failure.
In TCB, the action was intense as Washay moved back into the lead over Rodgers, with P.J. Groenke, in the No. 25 Tech Sport Racing, Verax.ca/Tundra/Clorox Pool & Spa/Cabano’s Comfort Food/Clairhaven, Ltd/Martinrea Intl Inc/Pelto Agri Investments/Ro-Ro Property Management Corp./Warp Speed Computers Inc. Chevrolet Sonic, in third and Morse in fourth.
In TCA, Goulart had opened up a one-second margin on Powell with Kris Wright, in the No. 35 Kinetic Motorsports Wright Automotive Group Kia Forte Koup, in third place.
Just five minutes into the race the TC lead duo had separated themselves with Wittmer’s Honda pacing a close race over the Lotus of Hanratty, with a few seconds back to Grahovec, now in third as the skies darkened overheard.
As the TC class cars worked traffic on lap 11, John Weisberg, in the No 5 BERG Racing Power Brake/REDCOM/Red Line Oil/Powerflex/Mann’s/Miller/MCS Mazda MX-5, was able to move from sixth to fourth in just a handful of curves, passing Anthony Geraci, in the No. 69 S.A.C. Racing European Granite & Marble Group, Inc. Mazda MX-5 and then overtaking Shea Holbook, in the No. 67 Shea Racing BUBBABurger/LucasOil/KoniShockAbsorbers Honda Accord V-6 Coupe.
The action continued in TCB with Washay leading by .381 over Rodgers, with Groenke following closely in third. A few laps later, Groenke moved around Rodgers into second place, while Morse, who had fallen back pulled off with a mechanical problem.
At about the 15-minute mark of the race, Hanratty lost some ground in the Lotus Exige, and dropped back to fifth as precipitation slowly picked up as Geraci moved to second and Grahovec to third, with Weisberg in fourth. Race Control later ordered Hanratty to pit road for a drive-through penalty for contact.
On lap 18, Goulart continued to lead in the TCA class with Powell in second and Wright solidly in third.
In TCB, the racing was exciting with Rodgers re-passing Groenke for second as the overall TC leaders diced through the TCB leaders, also allowing Rodgers to pass Washay for the lead in the process.
On lap 21, Weisberg moved around Grahovec for third place with a move in the right-hand corner coming on the backstretch.
A full-course caution came out late in the race, with Holbrook off course in turn one.
The race ended under caution with Wittmer taking the win in TC ahead of Geraci in second and Weisberg completing the TC podium.
In TCA, Goulart scored the victory with Powell in second and Kevin Anderson, in the No. 22 Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup, finding his way to third late in the race. In TCB, Rodgers took the victory ahead of Washay and Groenke.
Of note, the Optima Batteries Best Start went to Matthew Fassnacht in the No. 74 S.A.C. Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup for gaining three positions on the first lap. The Motortrendondemand.com Clean Pass of the Race and the Cadillac ATS-V Move of the Race went to Weisberg for his pass of Grahovec. The VP Racing Hard Charger Award went to Zack Kelly, in the No. 24 Tech Sport Racing Chevrolet Sonic for gaining six positions during the race.
With the fast laps during the race, Hanratty will start on pole in TC, Goulart starts on pole in TCA, and Washay starts on pole in TCB.
“Like CTMP, the car was on top, all the adjustments we have made have paid off,” said Wittmer. “HPD has helped us with the car. I really love this track. I took the hole shot right into corner one, flipped my mirror up and settled in with consistent laps. With this track, with the small lap times, it’s hard to pass, if you’re up front you’re safe. There are no scratches on the car, it is ready for tomorrow.”
“It’s been pretty good here, the team did a great job with the car,” said Goulart. “I really have no complaints. Being a home track this has a special meaning. It’s really nice to be here and get a win, and try to do it again tomorrow.”
“It was a crazy battle. I was really busy that race, maybe more so than ever before,” said Rodgers. “Traffic started coming into play and PJ (Groenke) got past me. I got back into it and managed the traffic better than other guys, and I found my way back to Travis (Washay) and made the pass before the yellow came out. It was an epic race, it was a lot of fun. It wasn’t the cleanest race we’ve ever been in but they don’t call it the ‘bullring’ for nothing.”
Results are provisional until posted final. TC, TCA, and TCB drivers next take to the Lime Rock circuit for Saturday morning warmup followed by Round 6 of their season, scheduled for 2:20p.m. Eastern. Watch the race live on Motortrendondemand.com.
Lakeville, Conn. — Results from Friday, May 27, 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Championship TC/TCA/TCB Race Round 5, part of the Lime Rock GP presented by Bentley. Results shown by driver position, class, name, hometown, car and number of laps completed.
1. TC, Nick Wittmer, Montreal Canada, Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, 27
2. TC, Anthony Geraci, Glen Head NY, Mazda MX-5, 27
3. TC, John A. Weisberg, Webster NY, Mazda MX-5, 27
4. TC, Toby Grahovec, Little Elm TX, BMW M235iR, 27
5. TC, Daniel Moen, Rindge NH, Mazda MX-5, 27
6. TC, Dennis Hanratty, Mechanicsburg PA, Lotus Exige, 27
7. TC, John Roberts, Plano TX, BMW M235iR, 27
8. TCA, Elivan Goulart, Shelton CT, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 26
9. TCA, Eric Powell, Orlando FL, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 26
10. TCA, Kevin Anderson, Huntington NY, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 26
11. TCA, Kris Wright, Pittsburgh PA, Kia Forte Koup, 26
12. TCA, Matthew Fassnacht, Madison NJ, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 26
13. TCA, Spencer Patterson, Pittsburgh PA, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 26
14. Dinah Weisberg, Webster NY, Mazda MX-5, 26
15. TCB, Will Rodgers, Murrieta CA, Mazda 2, 25
16. TCB, Travis Washay, Milford CT, MINI Cooper, 25
17. TCB, P.J. Groenke, Richmond Hill ON, Chevrolet Sonic, 25
18. TCB, Zack Kelly, Milford MA, Chevrolet Sonic, 24
19. TC, Shea Holbrook, Orlando FL, Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, 23
20. TCB, Jasper Drengler, Shawano WI, Honda Fit, 23
21. TCB, Henry Morse, Redondo Beach CA, Mazda 2, 21
22. TC, Randy Hale, Haddam CT, Mazda MX-5, 6
23. TC, Tony Rivera, Vista CA, Nissan 370Z, 3
24. TC, Adam Poland, Ft. Worth TX, Mazda MX-5, 1
26. TC, Patrick Gallagher, Thornville OH, Mazda MX-5, 0
27. TCA, Joey Bickers, Moorpark CA, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 0
28. TCA, Johan Schwartz, Hunterville NC, Honda Civic SI, 0, DNS
1. TCA, Jonathan Goring, Norfolk CT, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 0
1. TC, Jason Fichter, Jupiter FL, Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, 0