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Leitzinger Paces Pirelli WC Practice 2 at Sonoma

Butch Leitzinger tops time charts in second Pirelli WC practice at Sonoma…

Photo: Melissa K. Smith/Pirelli WC

Photo: Melissa K. Smith/Pirelli WC

Butch Leitzinger has led his first practice session in Pirelli World Challenge with the top spot in GT during Friday’s second 45-minute practice at the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sonoma, part of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma weekend.

Leitzinger in the No. 08 Bentley/Breitling/Mobil 1 Bentley Continental GT3, set a best time of 1:35.272 at the 2.385-mile Sonoma Raceway road course near the end of the session. The time was actually 0.01 of a second off his morning time, which was fourth best, as times were slower in the afternoon heat.

“The car keeps getting better and better and we keep on learning more and more about the Bentley,” Leitzinger said. “Guy Smith being here this weekend has really accelerated that learning process.

“He has come here with his experience racing the car in the Blancpain Series plus all the development work he has done on the car in Europe, and he has been able to advise us on a lot of areas.

“Plus having two cars to try different things on has advanced us a lot. It has been great to have Guy here and to have the second car running, just like old times.”

In the rest of practice two, James Sofronas in the No. 14 Spyder/The Thermal Club Audi R8 Ultra and Leitzinger’s Dyson Racing Team Bentley teammate, Guy Smith in the No. 88 Bentley/Breitling/Mobil 1 Bentley Continental GT3, rounded out the top three. Sofronas is in a new livery this weekend and Smith makes his first Pirelli World Challenge start.

Mike Hedlund was fourth in the No. 77 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 (1:35.549) with Mike Skeen, of Charlotte, N.C., fifth in the No. 2 Hawk Performance Audi R8 Ultra (1:35.804). Skeen’s morning time of 1:34.700 was the fastest lap of the day overall.

GT class points leader Johnny O’Connell in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R, was 10th in practice two.

For the second straight session, Albert von Thurn und Taxis in the No. 24 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo FL2, was best classified GT-A driver. The German was sixth overall at 1:35.986.

In GTS, Jack Baldwin in the No. 73 RESET-MD Porsche Cayman S, topped the timesheets at 1:42.419 in the session.

“So far I have to hand it to the crew,” Baldwin said after morning practice. “They have given both Buz (McCall) and I really good RESET-MD Porsches and we are moving along nicely to find the right race setup. I like where we are right now.”

Defending GTS class champion Lawson Aschenbach, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro also got in the 1:42 bracket – 1:42.851.

Nic Jonsson in the No. 36 Kia Optima was third, with Joey Atterbury fourth in the No. 33 Capaldi Racing/Ford Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302S and GTS points leader Mark Wilkins was fifth in the No. 38 Kia Optima.

Qualifying occurs Saturday morning from 8:55 a.m. to 9:40 a.m. PT and local time.

RESULTS: Practice 2

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