Kevin Estre has secured his third win in 2015 following a dominant drive on the streets of Detroit, in Saturday’s Round 10 of the Pirelli World Challenge season.
The field was set by points entering the race after qualifying Saturday morning was scrubbed after a chaotic session.
The GTA drivers set times OK in their group. However, Renger van der Zande crashed in Turn 2 in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, which brought out an early red flag to the session and did not allow the rest of the GT field to complete representative laps.
The incomplete qualification session left the grid sorted by points, per Rule 126.96.36.199 of the series rulebook.
Estre, in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3, started second behind polesitter Olivier Beretta in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.
Estre had passed him by Turn 12 of the third lap, and proceeded to check out for the remainder of the caution-free 50-minute race.
Estre, who also won Round 2 at COTA and Round 7 at Barber, beat Beretta by 9.031 seconds and will close on him in the championship chase.
“I could follow Beretta in the beginning, and he made a small mistake in Turn 8 that put him out of line,” Estre said. “I pulled on the inside. The race was pretty smooth from there. I had a great car at the beginning of the race, and I had to try to push to match the lap times from the fastest guy.”
Chris Dyson finished third in the No. 16 Bentley Team Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3, which was the only Bentley that started after Butch Leitzinger’s practice accident on Friday left his No. 20 with too much damage to continue for the remainder of the weekend.
Dyson hailed both his battle with James Davison and the series itself after the day’s race.
“It showed what this series is capable of,” he said.
Despite a damaged front splitter from contact, Davison made it home in fourth in his first race of the day in the No. 33 AE Nissan GT Academy Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, and Robert Thorne completed the top five in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3.
Henrique Cisneros, the GTA class points leader, took his first win of the year in the category in the No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3. Bret Curtis and Christina Nielsen completed the GTA podium.
The GTA driver points were reset prior to Saturday’s Round 10, following a driver petition brought to the series.
The petition asked to allow GTA points to follow the points format for all classes, rather than having their points totals integrated based on overall finishing position. Points would be adjusted retroactively from the start of the season, and World Challenge officials confirmed the change.
Cisneros led the revised GTA points coming into the weekend anyway, and Saturday’s result will see him extend that gap.
Sunday’s Round 11 will mark the series’ last street course race of the season.