LAKEVILLE, CN – Jade Buford won Saturday’s GTS Round 10 race at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Lime Rock Park presented by Bentley. The 50-minute race was held under light cloud cover and temperatures in the high 80s.
From the standing start, pole-sitter Brett Sandberg, in the No. 13 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4, got a solid launch into the lead heading for turn one, but it was Lawson Aschenbach, in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro, who took the outside line around Big Bend and came out first. Parker Chase, driving the No. 19 Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta GT4, slotted into third in the early stages of the race.
The early big mover was Mark Klenin, in the No. 62 Klenin Performance Racing Schomp/Premiere Copy/Mike Ward Maserati Maserati GranTurismo, who charged from eighth to fourth on the opening lap, earning him the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award.
Klenin came under attack from Hugh Plumb, in the No. 12 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4, on lap five, who had closed in on the Maserati for position. Running in sixth at the time was Jack Roush Jr., driving the No. 60 Roush Performance Ford Boss 302.
By lap six, the race was mimicking Friday’s Round 9 GTS race with Aschenbach leading Sandberg by about half a second while Chase followed 1.6 seconds behind them.
While Aschenbach kept his Camaro ahead of Sandberg’s X-Bow, Chase slowly closed the gap from third place, bringing it down with each lap until he caught the leaders, making it a three-car fight for the race lead at Lime Rock.
A full-course caution came out on lap 14 for cars stopped on course on the back straight.
The green flag came back out with 30 minutes remaining the race, with Aschenbach again leading into turn one while Sandberg had to defend second place from Chase into turn one. On the move, Plumb had moved up to fourth and Roush Jr. got around Klenin to take fifth.
Chase then came under fire from Plumb, who had picked up the pace in the second half of the race. Up front, Sandberg managed to get alongside Aschenbach but could not execute a pass for the lead.
The 20-minute mark saw a tight race for the lead, with 1.2 seconds covering Aschenbach, Sandberg, Chase and Plumb as the four cars essentially ran nose-to-tail.
Buford, in the No. 45 Racers Edge Motorsports Sin R1 GT4, was another car on the move, as he cleared both Klenin and Roush Jr., moving up to fifth place on lap 30. Buford earned the Motortrendondemand.com Clean Pass of the Race for his move on Roush Jr.
A lap later, Chase ran wide in turn one and Plumb took his opportunity, with the two making contact and Plumb spinning exiting the turn and Chase running off course. Chase maintained third, while Plumb had dropped back down the order, promoting Buford to fourth and Roush Jr. to fifth. Chase then received a drive-through penalty for contact and racing room, per Series Officials.
With 10 minutes to go, Sandberg continued to challenge Aschenbach in a close race for the lead, while Buford ran third ahead of Roush Jr., and Klenin, while Martin Barkey in the No. 80 Mantella Autosport MBRP Sportlab Sawmill Creative KTM X-Bow GT4, ran in sixth with Scott Dollahite, in the No. 46 SDR Motorsports Lotus Evora, in seventh.
With five minutes left, Sandberg got to the inside of Aschenbach down the back-straight, as the two went improbably side-by-side through the chicane and up the hill, and then continued side-by-side for a thrilling moment in West Bend, before Aschenbach powered back into the lead down the hill.
Two laps later Sandberg tried another pass, and this time scored the lead exiting the right hander onto the back stretch, earning him the Cadillac ATS-V Move of the Race Award. Sandberg then lost control in the chicane before Lime Rock’s uphill, and collected Aschenbach in an explosion of bodywork as he spun.
With three minutes left on the clock, Buford now had a 9.2 second lead over Roush Jr., with Aschenbach and his damaged No. 10 in third, followed by Dollahite and Chase.
The race would go full-course caution at that point for the damaged car of Sandberg, with Buford taking the Pirelli World Challenge victory and Barkey and Aschenbach completing the podium.
Of note, Nate Stacy, driving the No. 14 Roush Performance Road Racing Ford Boss 302, earned the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger, advancing seven positions to finish sixth.
“We definitely took advantage of other people, making all the right moves so they kind of gave that to me,” said Buford. “I just kind of knew we had to give it our all. Doing standing starts in this car is tricky but with some practice it’s getting easier.”
Of note, prior to the race going full-course caution with just under three minutes remaining in the race, Roush Jr.’s progress was impeded by a safety vehicle on course resulting in a number of lost positions. A post-race ruling moved him to the position he was in prior to being impeded, and the final results show Roush Jr. scoring a second place finish. Results are now final.
GTS action from Lime Rock Park will air on CBS Sports Network Thursday, June 9 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Pirelli World Challenge next heads to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin and the famed Road America, June 23-26.
Lakeville, Conn. — Results from Saturday, May 28, 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Championship GTS Race Round 10, part of the Lime Rock GP presented by Bentley. Results shown by driver position, name, hometown, car and number of laps completed. Results are final.
1. Jade Buford, Brentwood, TN, SIN R1 GT4, 48
2. Jack Roush Jr, Livonia MI, Ford Boss 302, 48
3. Martin Barkey, Huntsville Canada, KTM X-Bow GT4, 48
4. Lawson Aschenbach, Palm Beach Gardens FL, Chevrolet Camaro, 48
5. Scott Dollahite, Austin TX, Lotus Evora, 48
6. Parker Chase, New Braunfels TX, Ginetta GT4, 48
7. Nate Stacy, Owasso OK, Ford Boss 302, 48
8. Bill Ziegler, Ponte Verdra FL, KTM X-Bow GT4, 48
9. Mark Klenin, Lone Tree CO, MASERATI GranTurismo MC Trofeo, 48
10. Hugh Plumb, Miami FL, KTM X-Bow GT4, 48
11. Brett Sandberg, Allendale NJ, KTM X-Bow GT4, 44
12. Harry Gottsacker, San Antonio TX, Ginetta GT4, 15
13. Anthony Mantella, Toronto, Canada, KTM X-Bow GT4, 12
14. Tony Gaples, Libertyville IL, Chevrolet Camaro, 6
15. Scott Heckert, Ridgefield CT, SIN R1 GT4, 1