The first back-to-back racing weekend of the season is always a tough challenge for teams that travel thousands of miles throughout an entire season. ANSA Motorsports’ transporter driver left the COTA racetrack for a 1,350-mile trip on Sunday night to return to ANSA’s Miami Gardens shop, so the two KTM X-Bows could get the necessary preparation for the St. Petersburg street-course event, scheduled just three days after the Texas season opener.
St Petersburg, Fla., is the only temporary street course on the Pirelli World Challenge GTS Championship calendar, and it is the home race for ANSA Motorsports. Last year, the team raced at St Petersburg for the first time and collected two podium finishes, with Driver Lorenzo Trefethen racing in the GT-Cup class. This year, ANSA Motorsports’ team owner, Alain Nadal, was determined to continue running well there.
On Thursday, following a single practice session, Sandberg qualified third and Chaponick seventh. For race 1 on Friday afternoon, Sandberg had a very good race and finished second after the 50-minute race. Both drivers were able to have a good race. Chaponick worked his way up to fifth, after a brilliant run, and brought home the first top-five of the season for the Miami racer.
Because of his fastest lap recorded during race 1, Sandberg inherited the pole position, his second of the season, for race 2, and Chaponick started fifth. Sandberg wanted to lead race 2, but at the start, he had to give away the lead, although he was able to stay in touch with the race leader, Jack Roush Jr., all the way to the end. In the final lap, Sandberg almost got the lead over Roush’s Mustang during a last- turn passing move, but had to settle for another second-place finish. Chaponick finished seventh in race 2 and scored solid points for the 2016 GTS driver and Rookie-of-the-Year championship.
ANSA Motorsports driver Sandberg scored three podium finishes in the last three races and is now the leader of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS Championship.
Don’t miss the first two Pirelli World Challenge GTS events on CBS Sports. The COTA event race recap will air tonight Thursday, March 17, at 8 p.m. EDT and will be rebroadcast on March 18 at noon EDT and on March 20 at 9 p.m. EDT. The St Petersburg event will air on CBS Sports on Thursday, March 31, at 9 p.m. EDT.
Pirelli World Challenge GTS Championship rounds 5 and 6 will resume in five weeks at Barber Motorsports Park, Ala., on April 22-24.