R. Ferri Motorsport returned to victory lane for the first time in nearly three years, with a dominant win for Toni Vilander and Miguel Molina in Saturday’s Pirelli World Challenge SprintX opener at Circuit of The Americas.
A near perfectly-timed pit stop for the Toronto-based team, with a 77.3-second pit lane delta, saw Molina’s No. 61 Ferrari 488 GT3 get past the pole-sitting No. 80 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 on pit lane.
Toni Vilander’s three-second deficit prior to the pit stop turned into a 5.559-second win for the Spaniard at the checkered flag, over the No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes GT3 of Fabian Schiller in second.
Schiller, in his PWC debut, was forced to surrender his position to Scott Heckert on Lap 18 due to a pass on the Lone Star driver that was deemed to have exceeded track limits.
The 20-year-old German, however, quickly re-took the position, en route to a runner-up finish for he and co-driver Daniel Morad.
Up front, it marked both Vilander and Molina’s first career PWC wins, coming after the tragic loss of team owner Remo Ferri’s brother and father this month.
It marked the team’s first overall series victory since Long Beach 2015, with Olivier Beretta at the wheel.
Heckert and pole-sitter Mike Skeen completed the podium in third, followed by the No. 96 Pfaff Motorports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Scott Hargrove and Wolf Henzler in fourth.
Maxime Soulet and Rodrigo Baptista picked up GT3 Pro-Am class honors with a fifth place overall finish in the No. 3 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3, ahead of the sister No. 9 entry of Andy Soucek, which tangled with Mathieu Jaminet just past the halfway mark.
Jaminet was forced to retire his No. 41 GMG Racing Porsche due to damage, following a starring opening stint from Alec Udell, who came from 9th to 2nd on the first lap.
An issue for the No. 19 TruSpeed Autosport Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Ryan Dalziel on the final lap gave second in Pro-Am to Jeff Segal and Wei Lui in the No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari.
GT3 Am class honors, meanwhile, went to the No. 07 Squadra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari of Martin Fuentes and Cesar Bacarella, with David Baker picking up GT Cup honors in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
Race 2 gets underway Sunday at 2:10 p.m. CT.
RESULTS: Race 1