Tomas Enge scored his second career Pirelli World Challenge Series GT win, and Bryan Heitkotter scored his fourth GTA win of the 2015 season in Round 11 at Road America.
From the standing start, Enge who started in the runner-up spot in his No. 25 Blancpain Racing Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 FL2, overtook pole-sitter Butch Leitzinger in the No. 20 Bentley Team Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3.
Through Turn 1, it was Enge, Mike Skeen, who started third in the No. 2 CRP Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra, and Ryan Dalziel, who started fourth in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, and Leitzinger.
Johnny O’Connell, in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R, limped off the line in the 11th spot bringing out a full-course yellow – but O’Connell regained power, and the field came around to take the restart to commence Lap 2 at the challenging 14-turn, 4.048-mile road course.
Of note, Chris Dyson, who originally qualified second for the race, was moved to the back of the grid due to a post-qualifying technical infraction.
Running in his first Pirelli World Challenge race of the season, Enge never relinquished the top spot, and won by a 6.3-second margin ahead of James Davison in the No. 33 AE Nissan GT Academy Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.
Skeen finished third to continue his hot streak at Road America after taking wins in both GT races last season.
Two of the top points contenders had issues during the race.
Kevin Estre, who came into Round 11 second in GT points, started in 10th for the race but faded on lap 18 when a flat left tire forced him to pit his No. 9 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3. Estre ultimately finished 20th on the day.
Meanwhile, Dalziel, who was running in second on Lap 19, fell off the pace and faded when his Porsche sustained a flat left rear tire in turn three.
Almost immediately as Dalziel slowed on course, Davison was able to get around Skeen going into Turn 2 to take over the runner-up position.
GT points leader Olivier Beretta finished fourth in the field piloting the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia.
Enge, who won the 2014 season-opening race at St. Petersburg, Fla., posted less-than-stellar results in last year’s Pirelli World Challenge’s stop at Road America, with ninth and 16th-place efforts. In securing the Round 11 win, Enge said he was pleased to take care of unfinished business.
“I knew today’s race wasn’t going to be easy,” Enge said. “I was shocked with my start today. It was very good. I haven’t driven in many standing start races lately. In Europe, we have had mostly rolling starts.
“I was pretty nervous before the start of today’s race. Ryan (Dalziel) was pushing me quite hard at the start of the race but I was able to concentrate well and keep focused on not making any mistakes.”
Heitkotter, who started on pole in GTA, was not challenged in clinching his fourth win in class of the season, driving the No. 05 AE Nissan GT Academy Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.
Arguably one of the most exciting battles of Friday’s event occurred in the GTA field between Henrique Cisneros and Eric Lux on laps 10 and 11.
The pair were battling for second spot in turn 14, and the racers ran side by side until Cisneros, piloting the No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, took over the spot ahead of Lux, driving the No. 08 DragonSpeed Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3, in Turn 3, 24 minutes into the 50-minute timed event.
Cisneros held off Lux for the runner-up position in GTA.
RESULTS: Round 11 (Provisional)