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GT World Challenge America

Molina, Vilander Take Points Lead With Race 1 Victory

Molina, Vilander draw ahead in the points chase with Saturday win at CTMP…

Photo: SRO America

Miguel Molina and Toni Vilander moved to the top of the Blancpain GT World Challenge America drivers’ standings with victory in Race 1 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

The No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 pair scored their second win of the season to draw ahead of K-PAX Racing’s Rodrigo Baptista and Maxime Soulet, after the crews arrived level on points.

Molina started Saturday’s 90-minute race from third behind the No. 22 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Daniel Morad and pole-sitter Patrick Long in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche.

Long held off Morad in the opening exchanges before working up a three-second lead, but was forced to make an unscheduled stop for a left-rear tire issue.

This promoted Morad to the lead and Molina to second, but the Ferrari fared better in the mid-race driver swap with Vilander emerging out front ahead of Soulet in the No. 3 K-PAX Bentley Continental GT3.

Morad’s co-driver Michael de Quesada, who was on warmer tires because the Alegra crew pitted at the first opportunity, swept around Soulet into the first part of the Moss Corner double-right to grab second.

Soulet’s teammate Alvaro Parente then overtook the No. 3 Bentley with a lunge into the final corner, before setting off in pursuit of de Quesada.

With five minutes remaining, Parente poked his No. 9 Bentley underneath the Porsche into the second part of Moss Corner, which unsettled de Quesada and enabled both K-PAX cars to file through.

This left Vilander clear to take victory by four seconds over Parente, who shared driving duties with Andy Soucek, and Soulet who took over from Baptista.

De Quesada pitted shortly before the end with a suspected issue following the contact with Parente, but maintained fourth position ahead of Marco Holzer in the sister Alegra car.

The pole-sitting Wright Porsche recovered to finish sixth in the hands of Scott Hargrove, ahead of the Pro-Am lead battle.

Miller Holds Off Marcelli in Acura Duel

Gradient Racing scored its first win this year after Marc Miller, in his first appearance of the season, held off the identical Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo of Kyle Marcelli to win by 0.661 seconds.

Miller’s co-driver Till Bechtolsheimer started from fourth on the class grid but moved up to second with overtakes on Bret Curtis and George Kurtz.

The Gradient Acura then assumed the lead 30 minutes in when the leading No. 91 Wright Motorsports Porsche of Anthony Imperato pitted unexpectedly with an apparent problem.

Miller retained the lead after the driver swaps and held on to win despite the advances of Marcelli, whose co-driver Martin Barkey was running second behind Bechtolsheimer when the pit window opened.

Kurtz and Colin Braun completed the Pro-Am podium in the No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.

The Turner Motorsports BMW M6 GT3, which was the only car entered in the Am category, finished unclassified after completing only 15 laps because of an early engine overheating issue.

Race 2 is set to get underway tomorrow at 10:10 a.m. eastern time (3:10 p.m. UK).


Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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