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PWC: Circuit of the Americas – Estre, McLaren take wet Round 2 win; Dalziel P2 again

Race officials moved Round 2 of Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTA/GT Cup competition at Circuit of the Americas forward by 30 min due to expectations of worsening weather and decided on side-by-side rolling start as well.

Nick Catsburg (#25 LG Racing Lamborghini Gallardo GT3) posted the fastest lap in yesterday’s Round 1 to earn pole today with Johnny O’Connell (#3 Cadillac Racing ATS-VR GT3) starting next to him. Catsburg led from the start in the first round until a driver through penalty put him back into the pack. Ryan Dalziel (#31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R) and Kevin Estre (#9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3) made up Row 2 with O’Connell’s teammate Andy Pilgrim and Round 1 winner Olivier Beretta (#61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia) in Row 3.

Peter Cunningham (#42 RealTime Racing Acura TLX-GT) was sidelined before the race began due to damage suffered in yesterday’s Round 1 that could not be repaired at track. Ryan Eversley in the #43 sister car looked like a contender given the chassis’ all-wheel drive configuration, the wet weather, and his previous success driving the Civic Si at COTA for Compass 360, but was starting at P25.

Estre moved all the way to lead exiting Turn 1, with Catsburg running second, and Dalziel third. Pilgrim spun and dropped back. Estre opened up a 9.553-sec lead in just the first two laps before a full-course yellow came out and closed the field. Eversley circulated in P13 behind the pace car.

Restart was single-file on Lap 6 with 30 min left in the 50-min race. Estre maintained his lead with Dalziel moving into second. Mike Skeen (#2 CRP Racing Audi R8) took third from Catsburg during Lap 8. After 10 laps Estre had rebuilt a 10.726-sec lead, with Skeen running another 5.920 sec back. Eversley had climbed to P7.

With 5 min to go Estre led by 22.953 sec, Catsburg having retaking third 6.060 sec behind Dalziel. Skeen continued to battle Catsburg for third as the white flag flew, but Catsburg held on for the final lap.

Estre, still pulling away, won by 30.344 sec over Dalziel who finished P2 for the second straight day. Catsburg helped ease the pain from the Round 1 penalty by finishing third, 34.771 sec off the pace. Skeen took fourth, just 0.349 sec behind Catsburg, with Eversley climbing all the way to fifth another 7 sec back. Madison Snow (#21 GMG Audi) rounded out the Top 6.

Michael Lewis (#41 EFFORT Racing Porsche) repeated his GTA victory from Saturday, with Colin Thompson (#11 Kelly-Moss Motorsports Porsche) doing the same in GT Cup.

 

 

 

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