At the Circuit of the Americas, Flying Lizard Motorsports again graced the Pirelli World Challenge podium, securing a race win and a third place finish in the second to last race weekend of the 2017 season. Under sunny skies and in temperatures in the low 90s, drivers Rodrigo Baptista and Nate Stacy showed strong performances in their Porsche Cayman Clubsport MRs.
Baptista started race one in third, and took second position in the opening corners of the 20 turn track. Stacy started 12th, but quickly charged forward to fight for ninth in the opening lap. Baptista slipped behind the No.50 of Ian James, opting to save his tires for the second half of race. With track temperatures of 111F, both Lizards fought hard to keep and gain positions as the field spread out. With heavy pressure from behind from Parker Chase and the No.19 Ginetta, Baptista stayed close to Dakota Dickerson's bumper, fighting for a third place finish with 19 minutes remaining. Parker Chase joined the fight, and with ten minutes remaining, Chase and Baptista fought for the final podium spot. Chase took the advantage, with Baptista finishing fourth. Stacy brought his Porsche to the checker flag with a top ten finish in tenth. A post-race infraction was found on the race winning car in technical inspection, disqualifying the leader, resulting in Baptisa earning a third place finish, and Stacy a ninth place spot.
Baptista and Stacy sat fifth and eleventh for the standing start of race two, and again the Porsche Cayman Clubsport MRs showed their strength in launching off the line. Baptista went three wide and made the pass on the outside of turn one, climbing from fifth to second in the opening lap. Just a few corners later, he made the pass on Harry Gottsacker to take the lead. Stacy showed yet another impressive standing start, launching from 11th to seventh by turn three. Despite heavy pressure from the Ginettas of Parker Chase, and Gottsacker, Baptista continued to lead the field. The three cars pulled away from the rest of the field, but the secondary pack worked to stay within three seconds. With 39 minutes remaining, Lawson Aschenbach drove through pit lane, moving Stacy up to sixth. Stacy stayed close to Jeff Courtney, conserving his tires for a late race push. Scott Dollahite joined the fight, and he and Stacy ran side by side for eighth. With 20 minutes remaining, Dollahite took the position. Baptista continued to lead the Ginettas of Gottsacker and Chase, who stayed just 0.3 seconds behind the Brazilian. The two Ginettas battled back and forth in the final 15 minutes, allowing Baptista to create a 1.4 second gap. In the final laps, the Ginetta of Chase found additional speed, closing the gap on Baptista by four tenths of a second. Baptista held his ground to the checker flag, clinching his fourth win of the 2017 season.
"I think I won race two on the start." said Baptista "I had a really good start. I passed the Ginetta on the first lap, and from there, I just had to hold them off. It was very difficult, and the Ginetta was fast in the esses. The Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR was so strong on the straights, and I created a small gap and stayed there. It was difficult to manage the tires in the heat while getting pressure from the Ginettas. I stayed calm, drove carefully, and finished the race. Thank you to the team for all their hard work."
Stacy finished in eighth position.
"Congratulations to Rodrigo for getting a race win." said Stacy "It was really hard fought for him. Race two was good for me. I had a really strong start. I held our spot, but the KTM and the Lotus came up late. Unfortunately, they got us, and we didn't have anything for them in the end."
The final race of the season will take place at the Lizard's home track, Sonoma Raceway. The final fight of the Pirelli World Challenge championships will play out at the Grand Prix of Sonoma will run September 15-17. For more information, visit world-challenge.com.
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