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GT World Challenge America

Baptista Wins, Aschenbach Clinches GTS Championship in COTA Race 2

Rodrigo Baptista wins GTS Race 2, Aschenbach clinches title at COTA…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

Rodrigo Baptista dominated the race and Lawson Aschenbach clinched the GTS season championship in Race 2 of the Pirelli World Challenge weekend at Circuit of The Americas.

Baptista got a tremendous jump from fifth in his No. 3 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR on the standing start and used a bold maneuver around the outside of Turn 1 to jump into second place, then passed polesitter Harry Gottsacker a few turns later to take a lead he would not relinquish.

It is the fourth win of the season for Baptista and the Flying Lizard Motorsports squad.

Parker Chase slipped around his Performance Motorsports Group teammate Gottsacker seven minutes into the race and held on to the runner-up spot despite a late duel with the sister Ginetta G55.

On the final lap Gottsacker spun shortly after retaking the second position, allowing Jeff Courtney in the No. 99 Maerati GT4 through to take the final podium spot. Gottsacker settled for fifth behind Drew Stavely’s Ian Lacy Racing Ginetta.

While Baptista got the race win, the big winner was Aschenbach who unofficially wrapped up the GTS championship with a ninth place finish in the No. 10 Blackdog Speedshop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.

Aschenbach’s quest to clinch the title before the final two races of the season in Sonoma was aided when misfortune struck his only remaining championship rival early in the race.

Ian James, who was promoted to the Race 1 win after Scott Dollahite’s Lotus Evora was disqualified for a ride-height infringement, came into the pits after the first lap reporting a heavy vibration.

The Team Panoz Racing crew was unable to get the Panoz Avezzano GT back on track and James did not score points due to failing to reach the 50% of the winner’s race distance threshold, handing the championship to Aschenbach.

It is the fifth championship of his PWC career which has Aschenbach tied with Michael Galati for second on the all-time list.

George Kurtz took his ninth victory of the season, and eighth straight, in the GTSA category in the No. 04 GMG Racing McLaren 570S GT4.

Tape-delayed television coverage of this weekend’s GTS action will air at 8 p.m. ET on September 13th on CBS Sports Network.

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is a pit reporter for SRO America's TV coverage as well as for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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