Ian James took his sixth Pirelli World Challenge GTS win of the season in dominant fashion in Race 1 at Sonoma Raceway.
The Team Panoz Racing driver started from pole in the No. 50 Panoz Avezzano GT and led flag-to-flag, finishing 1.368 seconds ahead of runner-up Martin Barkey in the No. 80 KTM Xbow GT4 for Mantella Autosport.
Despite entering the weekend third in the GTS points, it was the first podium finish of the year for Barkey.
Performance Motorsports Group driver Parker Chase ultimately prevailed in a thrilling duel with GTS champion-elect Lawson Aschenbach in the fight for third and fourth at the midway point in the race, taking the final spot on the podium.
GTSA class-winner Derek DeBoer slipped past shortly thereafter to take fourth overall in the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4, snapping George Kurtz’s streak of eight-consecutive class wins.
Rodrigo Baptista completed the top-five in the No. 3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR.
Aschenbach finished sixth in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, his 15th finish of sixth or better in 17 starts this season.
The result was enough to secure the GTS Team Championship for the squad in the car’s debut season.
Race-winner James set the fastest lap of the race and will start on pole position for the standing start in Race 2 and earning Panoz a valuable point in the Manufacturers’ Championship.
Unofficially, Chevrolet heads into Sunday’s race with a 110-103 edge over Panoz in those standings with Porsche sitting at 110. A maximum of 10 points are available for a race win in Race 2.
The final GTS race of the season is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. PT on Sunday afternoon with live streaming coverage available at World-Challenge.com.
RESULTS: Race 1