Michael Mills in the No. 41 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R edges closer to the Pirelli World Challenge GT Amateur title with a win and a fifth-place finish at Sonoma Raceway.
Sonoma, California. Ryan Dalziel, Michael Mills and Jack Baldwin scored two class victories and three runner-up positions between them in Rounds 13 and 14 of the Pirelli World Challenge this past weekend at the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sonoma. On Saturday, Michael Mills (Angleton, Texas) added to his points lead in the GT-Amateur (GT-A) class by sprinting to a fourth straight victory in his EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R. Ryan Dalziel (Winter Park, Florida) finished second overall in GT class in the team EFFORT Racing Porsche. Jack Baldwin (Marietta, Georgia) captured the GTS class win in his GTSport Porsche Cayman S in the multi-class sprint event for GT cars at Sonoma Raceway. On Sunday, Dalziel repeated his second-place finish in GT, giving him two first and two seconds in the four races he has entered this season. Baldwin was second in GTS and Mills was fourth in GT-A.
Dalziel's second place on Saturday driving the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R was well earned as he spent most of the race holding off the Bentley Continental GT3 of Butch Leitzinger (State College, Pennsylvania), who had started the 50-minute race on the pole. Leitzinger made multiple runs at the Porsche, but was unable to make the pass. Mills' GT-A win was equally hard-fought as his No. 41 Porsche 911 GT3 R was in last place on lap one after a poor standing start. Baldwin, on the other hand, never looked back as his No. 73 GTSport Porsche Cayman S captured the GTS class pole position and went flag-to-flag for his top-step podium finish.
GTS saw Baldwin in the Porsche Cayman S stay on top after a weekend where he had led the timesheets throughout. After surviving a close battle with Lawson Aschenbach (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) in a Chevrolet Camaro off the starting line, Baldwin was able to lead cleanly the remainder of the race. He set the fastest race lap and held off Aschenbach by 1.956 seconds at the checkered flag.
The win was emotional for Baldwin as the GTSport Racing team continues its Racing4Kelsey campaign. The No. 72 GTSport Racing Porsche Cayman S of Buz McCall (Boca Raton, Florida) and Baldwin are running this season for Kelsey Flanigan, a 23-year-old battling brain cancer. Flanigan and her family were in attendance this weekend.
On Sunday, Dalziel, Mills and Baldwin all ran well, but there were no Porsche victories to be had for the 50-minute sprint race that was cut short because of a late-race accident on track.
Dalziel finished second in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche, this time to veteran Anthony Lazarro (Atlanta, Georgia) in a Ferrari 458 Italia. Despite Mills' fourth, he was able to extend his GT-A points lead, as the three finishers above him were not in the championship chase. Baldwin was second to Aschenbach for his sixth podium finish of the year.
Michael Mills, No. 41 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R: "I had the worst start in the world on Saturday, and was rolling around in last place, wondering how I could do this. My car was so good, but I had contact with someone that knocked the alignment out. Then I put my head down, made no mistakes, let the race come to me and the guys started falling like flies. I can't believe it; it's awesome. Can't thank EFFORT Racing and Porsche enough."
Jack Baldwin, No. 73 GTSport Racing Cayman S: "It's a great day for GTSport Racing, RESET-MD and, above all, Porsche. The entire crew, led by Bob Sanderson and Steve Ruiz, has worked all year and has overcome many obstacles to get the Cayman where it is today. We have had a great car in the past but luck hasn't been going our way but the guys never gave up. They fought back hard and today was the payoff. I'm honored to be their driver and I am honored to have been 'Racing for Kelsey' today. For me, I wanted to seal the deal for these guys who have worked so hard all year. My wife's here, daughters are here, we raced for Kelsey today. So to do this at Sonoma, we got our monkey off our back. When you look at the entire weekend we had here, I am quite pleased with the results. Two poles, two fastest laps, a new track record, a first and a second. We're now back in the hunt for the title."
Complete results from both races can be found at www.world-challenge.com.
The final two rounds of the Pirelli World Challenge series will be held at Miller Motorsports Park, September 12-13, in Tooele, Utah outside Salt Lake City. The GT, GT-A and GTS classes will run Rounds 15 and 16.
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