After a battle of over ten minutes, Ian James slipped by Lawson Aschenbach and into the lead in Turn 1 and went on to claim the third victory for the Panoz Avezzano GT in Race 2 of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS weekend at Mid-Ohio.
Aschenbach started on pole in his No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, and the Race 1 winner pulled out to a lead of nearly two seconds in the opening laps, but James quickly started to close the gap.
The two went side-by-side into the Keyhole and into Turn 4 regularly in a thrilling duel for the race lead, but James made the decisive move into the first turn after Aschenbach slipped slightly exiting the Carousel coming onto the front straightaway.
The win for James and Team Panoz Racing in Race 2 after Aschenbach’s victory on Saturday marks the first time all season that the Race 1 winner had not repeated the following day in PWC GTS competition.
Harry Gottsacker came home third, earning his second podium of the weekend in the No. 69 Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta G55, while Ernie Francis Jr. in the No. 40 PF Racing Ford Mustang outdragged Parker Chase in the No. 19 Ginetta to the checkers to take fourth.
Francis took the spot by just 0.014 seconds.
The win on Saturday and second-place result on Sunday for Aschenbach allowed him to extend his sizable lead in the GTS points standings after troubles hit second and third-place drivers Martin Barkey and Rodrigo Baptista.
Baptista suffered through an apparent mechanical issue in Race 2 and settled for sixteenth after being excluded from Race 1 for initiating a first-lap melee, while Barkey recorded finishes of seventh in both races.
James was the other big winner in the championship. He entered the weekend fourth in the standings and recorded finishes of second and first at Mid-Ohio.
GTSA honors went to GMG Racing’s George Kurtz in the No. 04 McLaren 570S GT4, who edged Tony Gaples’ Camaro by 0.615 seconds.
Up next is a trip to Utah Motorsports Campus August 11th – 13th.
RESULTS: Race 2