Brett Sandberg flew to Utah with one goal in mind: Score maximum points toward the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge GTS driver championship that he led, before rounds 14 and 15, by a thin 22-point advantage over second-place Lawson Aschenbach.
On Saturday, Sandberg finished second in round 14, and on Sunday, the driver from Allendale, New Jersey, ended the race in third place in round 15. Those two additional podiums, nine so far this season, rewarded Sandberg with 44 points over his direct competitor for the 2016 driver championship. With four races to go, Sandberg now leads the GTS championship with a 66-point advantage over the second- place driver.
The week started with a promoter test day at Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele, Utah, where ANSA Motorsports entered three KTM X-Bows for Sandberg, Dore Chaponick Jr. and Bill Ziegler. Miami, Florida’s Chaponick drove the No. 12 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4 to within one second of the top practice lap Friday morning and ended the first official session in third place. Chaponick was returning, after a three-month break, with a big desire to do well. Chaponick qualified 12th for race 1 and finished ninth, scoring his fifth top-ten of the season. In race 2, after starting eighth, Chaponick finished 11th.
Sandberg qualified fifth for race 1 and had to fight hard to finish second in the 50-minute race.
“It was a great race,” Sandberg said, after race 1. “The ANSA Motorsports guys did an amazing job. We made some changes to the car after a not-so-great qualifying, and it improved the car quite a bit. We got caught up in the start and shuffled back all the way to tenth or so. It was all about managing my pace and working my way back up, trying to gain as many spots as I could on the restart. Overall, we are super happy with second and will take the points for the championship.”
In race 2, thanks to the second-fastest race lap in round 14, Sandberg started second, and after a good standing start, was able to lead the first lap. Like in race 1, Sandberg had to drive at his best to manage to keep his podium position all the way to the end.
“Overall, we can’t complain,” Sandberg said, after race 2. “In third place, we get solid points toward the championship. We got an adjustment overnight, and we were pretty down on straight-line speed, which harmed our chances to win. In general, the car was good, very consistent. Our lap times were good. Good weekend all-in-all, two podiums and a move forward to California.”
Bill Ziegler qualified 15th for race 1 and unfortunately was not able to finish the race, due to a racing incident. He was ranked 16th. In race 2, Ziegler started 16th and finished 12th.
Following rounds 14 and 15, ANSA Motorsports is now third in the Pirelli World Challenge team championship, only 6 points behind the second place team and thanks to a great weekend in Utah, KTM continues to lead the manufacturer championship after 15 races.
CBS Sports Network broadcasts of GTS action from Grand Prix of UMC presented by Energy Solutions start Sunday, Aug. 21, at 4 p.m. EDT.
GTS action returns for Rounds 16 and 17, when Pirelli World Challenge heads to Sonoma, California, Sept. 16-18.
Follow ANSA Motorsports on Facebook.com/ansamotorsports and Twitter @AnsaMotorsports. Visit www.ansamotorsports.com. and on Instagram #AnsaMotorsports.
Photos by Chris Green and PWC, Copyright.