After losing the lead halfway through Saturday’s race, Renger van der Zande rebounded in a big way with his first career Pirelli World Challenge win Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.
Van der Zande started second in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R but immediately passed polesitter Robert Thorne, in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3, off the standing start.
A multiple-car accident behind them occurred at Turn 2, with Saturday third place finisher Mike Skeen spun at corner exit and falling to the rear of the field, Michael Lewis also apparently hit by another car, and Peter Cunningham having his second straight difficult day when his hood went up.
The caution tightened the field but on the restart van der Zande was able to pull away from Saturday winner Kevin Estre, in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3.
The Dutchman held on for the victory by 2.186 seconds over Estre.
Thorne had run most of the race in third, but was held up in slower GTA class traffic, and lost the position to Olivier Beretta in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.
Beretta was lucky to even make the start after apparent pre-race gearbox issues threatened to sideline him, but the Monagasque driver did make the start from fifth place as scheduled.
Thorne and Andy Pilgrim, in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R, completed the top five, and enjoyed a spirited battle for fourth place in the final stages of the race.
James Davison and Johnny O’Connell, the other two primary title contenders, finished sixth and eighth.
Frankie Montecalvo returned to the top of the heap in GTA in the No. 66 DragonSpeed Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, securing his seventh class win of the year in seventh place overall.
Another season-long dominator returned to the top of the GT Cup presented by MOMO class, as Colin Thompson scored his 12th win in 17 races in the No. 11 Kelly-Moss Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.