HARRISBURG, N.C. – Last weekend at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR), CRP Racing put on a stellar performance in both races of the double header event, finishing the weekend with the overall win. Drivers Ryan Dalziel and Daniel Morad shared the driving duties for the No. 2 Mercedes AMG GT3 for the SprintX season opener to win at the North Carolina team’s home event.
The team rolled off the truck at VIR with impressive speed, placing well in each test and practice session. Ryan Dalziel qualified for race one in second place, the team’s highest starting position of the 2017 season. The race went green and after a clean start, Dalziel settled into second position behind Mike Skeen. He remained close, reeling Skeen in when in the corners. Skeen went off course and the first group of GT cars completed their mandatory pit stops, changing drivers in the required 60 second window. Dalziel stayed out for a few extra minutes, trying to extend a gap over the field. Traffic started to interfere with his run, and he pitted to have Daniel Morad take over to the finish.
Morad joined the field in sixth, and as pit stops cycled through, the bright orange Mercedes AMG GT3 climbed to the top with a nine second lead over the Wright Racing Porsche. As he worked to continue his lead, a full course caution came out, bunching the field close together. With Jorg Bergmeister hot on his heels in the Porsche, Morad produced a strong restart, pulling away on the straights of the road course. With eleven minutes to go, the team and seven other cars got the call from race control that there was a discrepancy with the timing pit stop. Morad served a drive through penalty from the lead with ten minutes to go, and rejoined in ninth. He continued to push and worked his way up to sixth overall by the end of the race. Despite the penalty, the No. 2 Mercedes AMG GT3 still finished fourth in the Pro/Pro class, and set a fast lap time to start second for race two.
The Mercedes showed its strength on the start of race two, with Morad grabbing the lead from Jeroen Bleekemolen in the opening turns of lap one. Bleekemolen remained close on Morad’s tail for the entirety of the stint, as Morad pushed hard enough to stay in the lead while still preserving the car and tires for Dalziel’s stint. The two had pulled away from the field, but a full course caution brought the field back together just before the pit window opened. The field went green, and the pit window opened, resulting in the first group of GT cars to make their stops. Before the race, co-driver Dalziel challenged Morad to give the car to him with a better gap than Dalziel did in race one. Never to back down from a challenge, Morad stayed out to gain valuable track time. After leading every lap, Morad pitted just a few laps later with a one second lead. Dalziel took over and joined the field in third overall, first in the Pro/Pro class. The final pit stops were completed, and the orange Mercedes again sat at the top of the charts, this time with an impressive 11 second lead over Alvaro Parente. The McLaren was no match for Dalziel’s Mercedes, working through traffic to maintain the lead position. With seven minutes remaining, a crash in the esses brought out a caution, with debris scattered all over the track. Given the severity of the track, the race officials confirmed the race would end early under caution. The checker flag flew, and the No. 2 Mercedes AMG GT3 earned its first win of the 2017 race season. The race ended not a moment too soon, the team discovered, when they noticed the right rear tire of car had a tire puncture from the crash debris.
The Pirelli World Challenge SprintX Championship continues May 19-21 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Morad’s home track. For schedule and ticket information, visit world-challenge.com.
Great day for CRP Racing and our Mercedes AMG GT3. We opened the season with a couple of rough races where we had the speed, but didn’t qualify right. We turned that around this weekend. The car was great from when we got off the truck. Having Daniel on board and us being so compatible, we got dialed in and made good changes. We had a lot of people here from Devilbiss, so it’s a nice one for us to win, and it’s going to be the turning point for the season.
That definitely makes up for yesterday’s race. Ryan and I discussed earlier that people only remember the last race of the weekend, and we had to make sure we won that race. The Mercedes AMG GT3 was fantastic all race. CRP Racing gave us a perfect car again, and we were able to deliver results. This is our first win for Devilbiss, so I can’t be happier on my debut with the team to get the win. I’m looking forward to the next one. We collected good points for the championship. The next race is my home race, so I’m looking forward to that.
About CRP Racing
CRP Racing is a leading edge race car engineering company with a winning pedigree that offers full service race car prep, full track set-up, restoration and custom fabrication, and shock, dyno and design services. Owner Nicholas Short has made a career out of motorsports with experience in IndyCar, NASCAR, Trans-Am, Group C Endurance Racing, Baja desert racing, Vintage SVRA and HSR and the World Challenge series.