Michael Mills, in the No. 41 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, leads Jim Taggart, in the No. 7 Taggart Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 R, as the two finished in the top spots in GT-A.
Lexington, Ohio. Ryan Dalziel (Winter Park, Florida) took both ends of the Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend. In his debut with the veteran Porsche team, the native of Scotland won overall in the rain on Saturday and under sunny/dry conditions today in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R. In the GT Amateur (GT-A) class, teammate Michael Mills (Angleton, Texas) also won his class both days and reclaimed first place in the GT-A point standings in the No. 41 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Jim Taggart (Cary, North Carolina) finished second in GT-A on Saturday and third on Sunday in his Taggart Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 R - his best World Challenge weekend to date.
Saturday - Downpour Ends Race Early
In yesterday's race, the 50-minute Pirelli World Challenge started under threat of rain, but everyone started on slick tires as the track was dry when the green flag dropped. But 41 minutes later, after multiple yellow flags and a huge downpour, Ryan Dalziel, driving the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, had won the Saturday round of the series. It was the second victory in three races for the No. 31 Porsche, which was driven to victory two weeks ago in Toronto by Nick Tandy (Great Britain). In GT-A, Michael Mills re-took the class point lead with his third win of the season in the No. 41 EFFORT Porsche team car, with the No. 7 Taggart Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 R of Jim Taggart taking second.
At the start of the race, Dalziel, who started third, was jousting with Mike Skeen's Audi R8 and Johnny O'Connell's Cadillac GTS for first place when the rains came. Skeen and O'Connell came in for rain tires during the yellow flag (thrown for multiple cars off the track), but Dalziel stayed out and gained track position, being careful not to spin behind the pace car. As EFFORT called him into the pits for the tire change, the sanctioning body threw the red flag ending the race because of wet track conditions. The cars were stopped on the front straightaway. Because they stopped the cars before many had completed the most recent lap, scoring reverted to the last completed lap for the final standings. As Dalziel had led that lap, he was declared the winner.
In the case of GT-A, Mills and Taggart were running second and third in the dry, when the leader had problems moving the duo to positions one-two. They held until the end.
The No. 73 GTSport Porsche Cayman S of Jack Baldwin (Marietta, Georgia) tangled with one of the Ford Mustangs as the track started to puddle, and Baldwin's car hit the guardrail and was forced out of the race.
Sunday - The Sun Comes Out
In stark contrast to the rainstorms that ended yesterday's race prematurely, today's Pirelli World Challenge was run in sunny and dry conditions, but the results were the same as the Porsche 911 GT3 R's had their best showings of the season. Repeating their achievements from Saturday, Ryan Dalziel scored his second straight win in the Pirelli World Challenge at Mid-Ohio in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R. In the GT-A class, Michael Mills drove the No. 41 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R to a class win - his third in four races - to stretch his point lead in that class. It's the first time a team has ever won two classes in both races on the same weekend in Pirelli World Challenge.
Dalziel, who started today's race on the pole as a result of turning the fastest lap yesterday, got a great start and was able to hold off Mike Skeen's Audi and Johnny O'Connell's Cadillac in the early going, and then the Porsche gained more track position as those two cars were fighting for second place. Dalziel had built a three-second lead when one of the Aston Martins spun, causing a yellow flag with 15 minutes to go. The course went green again with seven minutes to go, and Dalziel again got a great start, pulling away for the win.
Michael Mills lead the GT-A class throughout the race, keeping a 1.5-second lead over the Lamborghini Gallardo, with the Taggart Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 R of Jim Taggart third - another podium finish for the club racer from North Carolina.
Jack Baldwin's No. 73 GTSport Porsche Cayman S spun right before the last yellow flag, and came into the pits during the yellow, deciding the retire the car for a 19th place finish. Baldwin's GTSport teammate, Buz McCall, finished 16th in the No. 72 team car.
Ryan Dalziel, driver No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, GT/Overall winner: "Our initial pre-race strategy was to make sure there was no rain, and then to get the best start from the pole to make sure we could put some distance between our car and the Audi, which seemed to have good pace this weekend. It was gratifying to win yesterday, but having the race red-flagged in the rain doesn't leave you feeling like celebrating. Today, the Porsche was set up perfectly, and we got a clear lead all three times - the start and the two restarts after yellows. I've really enjoyed my weekend with EFFORT Racing."
Michael Mills, driver No. 41 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, GT-A class winner and point leader: "Between Toronto and this weekend, probably our biggest accomplishment has been climbing back into the point lead after some disappointing finishes. I didn't expect to be back in the hunt so quickly, but three wins in four races will do that. The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge series, where I ran the last couple of years, was a great training ground for me for World Challenge. The 911 GT3 R has the same feel as the 911 GT3 Cup I was used to, but it does everything better. My biggest learning curve has been the standing start, and I am sill learning that one, but this is a great next step for IMSA GT3 graduates."
Jim Taggart, driver No. 7 Taggart Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 R: "This was a huge weekend for me, and a great one for Porsche - my first World Challenge weekend with two podiums. The 911 GT3 R is a terrific racecar, and not just when it's sunny and dry. Dalziel, Mills and I stayed on the course when many others slid off in the rain, and today in the dry, we all finished on the podium again."
Sunday's Pirelli World Challenge, GT/overall results (top 6):
1.Ryan Dalziel, Winter Park, Fla., Porsche GT3R, 32 laps.
2.Mike Skeen, Charlotte, N.C., Audi R8 Ultra, 32 laps.
3. Anthony Lazzaro, Atlanta, Ga., Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 32 laps.
4. Andrew Palmer, Chicago, Ill., Audi R8 Ultra, 32 laps.
5. Johnny O'Connell, Flowery Branch, Ga., Cadillac CTS-V R, 32 laps.
6. Andy Pilgrim, Boca Raton, Fla., Cadillac CTS-V R, 32 laps.
GT Amateur (GT-A) results (top 3)
1. Michael Mills(A), Angleton, Texas, Porsche GT3R, 32 laps.
2. Albert von Thurn und Taxis (A), Regensburg, Germany, Lamborghini Gallardo FL2, 32 laps.
3. Jim Taggart (A), Cary, N.C., Porsche GT3 R, 32 laps.
GTS results (top 3 plus Porsches)
1.Lawson Aschenbach, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 32 laps.
2. Nic Jonsson, Buford, Ga., Kia Optima, 32 laps.
3. Mark Wilkins, Toronto, Ontario, Kia Optima, 32 laps.
16. Buz McCall, Boca Raton, Fla., Porsche Cayman S, 30 laps.
19. Jack Baldwin, Marietta, Ga., Porsche Cayman S, 15, 28 laps
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