Matt Fassnacht has claimed overall victory in Race 1 of Pirelli GT4 America Sprint at Virginia International Raceway, following issues for championship rivals Spencer Pumpelly and Ian James.
Fassnacht drove his No. 34 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 to a 1.080-second win over the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S GT4 of Michael Cooper in the caution-free 50-minute race.
While having started second on the grid, Fassnacht took the lead on Lap 11 when the pole-sitting No. 66 TRG Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport of Spencer Pumpelly had a left-rear tire puncture.
It came just one lap after Ian James had a similar issue in his No. 50 Panoz Avezzano GT4, which had been running third at the time.
The suspected curb-related tire issues for the pair of GT4 Pro entries gave clear sailing for Fassnacht, a GT4 Am competitor, to pick up his first overall victory.
While Fassnacht’s lead had been reduced in the closing laps, Cooper managed to hold off a strong challenge from the pair of Robinson Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.Rs for second.
Cooper, meanwhile, claimed top class honors in GT4 Pro.
Gar Robinson completed the overall podium in third in the No. 74 Camaro GT4 ahead of teammate Shane Lewis and the No. 18 Andretti Autosport McLaren GT4 of Jarett Andretti, who completed the top-five.
Pumpelly and James finished outside of the points in 19th and 20th, respectively, with the Panoz incurring a second puncture later in the race.
Race 2 for GT4 Sprint is set for a 10 a.m. EDT start on Sunday.
RESULTS: Race 1