Chris Dyson clinched his first career Pirelli World Challenge GT win in Round 12 at Road America. Frankie Montecalvo scored his second GTA victory of the year, while Colin Thompson scored the win in Round 10 of the GT Cup presented by MOMO championship.
Dyson gave Bentley its first win of the season at the 14-turn, 4.048-mile road course where the team and manufacturer debuted in GT in 2014.
Dyson won by a 3.838-second margin of victory in the No. 16 Bentley Team Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3. Thompson, piloting the No. 11 Kelly-Moss Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, scored his eighth win of the 2015 season.
From the standing start, polesitter Butch Leitzinger in the No. 20 Bentley Team Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3 bogged on the start and thir-starting Tomas Enge, in the No. 25 Blancpain Racing Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 FL2, moved around Leitzinger.
Enge then drag-raced Dyson to take the lead through the first turn. Leitzinger was able to get his No. 20 machine moving, but before he could, Race Control issued a full-course yellow.
Enge and Dyson paced the field to the lap 2 restart. Rounding out the top five on the restart were Mike Skeen, in the No. 2 CRP Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra, Olivier Beretta, in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia and Ryan Dalziel, in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
By lap 5, Enge had build an 0.832 second lead over Dyson, but the driver of the No. 16 set the fast lap of the race at that point with a 2:06.611 to move on towards closing the gap.
While working on Lap 10, Dyson gained speed out of the kink in Turn 11 and pounced on Enge to take the lead in Canada Corner at Turn 12.
James Davison, in the No. 33 AE Nissan GT Academy Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, took second spot when Enge pitted for a tire change.
Dyson led by as much as seven seconds before a full-course yellow on Lap 15 was issued to remove the No. 14 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra of James Sofronas, that sat wounded at the outside of turn 1 with a mechanical issue.
On the Lap 17 restart, Dyson extended his lead again and never looked back, en route to the victory. Davison and Dalziel were second and third in GT, respectively.
Leitzinger proved his Bentley was dialed in, and recovered nicely from the bogged start to post a fourth-place finish. Enge, Friday’s race winner, finished seventh in the field, while Beretta, the GT points leader coming into Round 11, was 24th.
The GT win was satisfying for Dyson, especially considering the accomplishment and 30-year anniversary of father and team owner, Rob Dyson, whose team secured its first win at Road America in 1985 with drivers Bobby Rahal and Drake Olson.
“I love Road America,” Chris Dyson said. “I grew up coming here watching my dad race. Every time I come here I try not to leave anything on the table.
“The Bentley guys gave me an unbelievable car. We had a great car at Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) a few weeks ago, and it was just about refining the setup a little bit. The track suits the car beautifully.”
Chris Dyson went out of his way to praise the performances of Montecalvo and Thompson, young drivers who are making an impact in the Pirelli World Challenge.
Thompson, the GTC points leader, said he wouldn’t be able to string together stellar finishes race by race, if it weren’t for the hard work put in by his Kelly Moss Motorsports team.
“They put in the long hours to make this Porsche successful,” Thompson said. I’m just glad I can take the top step each time.
“I go into every weekend thinking that I am 300 points behind the leader rather than 300 points ahead. I treat every race as if it is my first one.”
Meanwhile, Montecalvo remains optimistic his team continues to make strides toward improvement in the points standings.
“It was a tough battle today since there are so many super fast cars in our class,” Montecalvo said. “This is a great track and I just tried to be patient. I was trying to race as clean as possible, and pick off each car as best as possible.”
The third race of the weekend occurs Sunday afternoon.
RESULTS: Round 12 (GT/GTA), Round 10 (GTC)