Gulf Heartbreak Gives Rei and Wong Indy Victory

Fabian Rei and Ryota Wong took their first victory of the 2018 Season at the GT Super Series Round of The United States at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 2017 Championship runner-ups were deeply entrenched in the fight for second place after the first round of pit stops. After a quiet run in the first stint a slick pit stop from the Gerald Pereria pit crew would shoot Ryota Wong to second place, jumping Jacques Malenfant and James James Davies who were ahead before the pit stops. Joining the trio’s battles part way through the second and final stints of the race would be the lead Solvalou Lamborghini of Chris Winter and Einar Armannsson. Whilst second on the road at the end of the first stint, they were the final car to pit in the cycles which left them behind on track due to the undercut but with much fresher tires for the bulk of the later stints.

Ahead of that quartet for nearly the entire race was the Gulf Aston Martin of Matteo Rossi and Roland Davidson. They would jump Davies, whose co-driver Evgeny Restov lead the first stint after a good start, with a earlier pit stop in the pit cycle and would have built up gaps of ten seconds after each of the pit stops. The gap to the cars behind would remain stable at ten seconds with bold driving through lapped traffic and a string of fastest laps of the race. But with ten minutes to go, the suspension would collapse after the Italian attacked the Turn 1 curbs too hard leaving him stranded on the outside grass at turn 3, his race over. Leaving the battle for second behind to become the battle for the outright victory. Alliot and Wong would battle for the now lead as Rossi turned off his Aston Martin DBR9 with Chris Winter closing on the two ahead. The pair would continue the battle for another five minutes with the Japanese driver finally being able to make the pass stick at turn 10 with five minutes remaining. Ryota Wong would then never look back as the American struggled with lapped cars, surrendering second place to the Solvalou Lamborghini. Alliot’s struggles would continue as Evgeny Restov would clear the Corvette for third with three minutes left on the clock. The lead Solvalou would claw back two points on the championship leaders with that now being the gap between the two. Overall race winners Fabian Rei and Ryota Wong now firmly in third place in the championship, but seventeen points behind leaders Restov and Davies. This is the first win since the Super GP that closed out the 2017 campaign.

The top nine were manufacture championship contenders, with the bulk of them outside of the top five having quiet races beyond the battles with each other. Notable within the group would be the second points scoring result of the season for the second Solvalou Lamborghini, driven by Morgan Le Fay and Antonio Fazio; they finished sixth overall leading the second group home at the end. Le Fay would navigate the lapped cars the best out of the group in the final stint of the race after co-driver Fazio struggled with them during his stint of the race. Fellow Italian Giulio Mari fared the best out of the group in the second stint, but his co-driver Anton Robishaud would have reversed fortunes for the run to the finish and would finish ninth overall as a result. Between them would be the second Carson Corvette and Gerald Pereria Lister finishing seventh and eighth respectively.

Tenth place would be the highest finishing independent of Gia Van Dycke and Justin Case, putting the Belgian into second place in the Independent’s Trophy standings. It would be their race to lose after their main rivals, Independent’s Trophy leaders Markus Jacobson and Valeri Kozar, suffering a mechanical failure late in the race. They were the only ones up to the challenge from the Scuderia Belgio squad but as they fell by the wayside, it was smooth sailing for the only Independent car to finish within the top ten. Finishing eleventh overall and second in class was the LKM Lamborghini of Wilkinson and Cho in a bounceback drive after failing to Pre-Qualify last race weekend in Italy. They too were big benefactors of other Independent contenders retiring as they were running third in class on the road before the Tom Douglas Saleen of Antonio and Vidal Reyna-Sanchez suffered a engine failure with fifteen minutes remaining, retiring from second place in class.  Jumping up to the final step on the Independent Podium were class winners from Silverstone in Helena Bertinelli and Patrick Feldhoffer, their best class result since the maximum score in April.

Race Results – After 81 Laps

114MRei/WongGerald Pereria2:01:39.692
328MRestov/DaviesScuderia Italia+1.779
527Mvan Walwijk/ConstantiniScuderia Italia+11.265
603MLe Fay/FazioSolvalou+17.857
841MTravesen/SparksGerald Pereria+23.235
1021IVan Dycke/CaseBelgio+35.915
1330IJenkins/PellerinGlobex Scorpio+1:00.014
1555IDouglas/MelroseTom Douglas+1:14.546
1757IShidehara/FitzgeraldCommonwealth+1 Lap
1808IWhiting/de LangeChris Short+2 Laps
1932IAxelsen/PedersenRMR+2 Laps
2096IYoo/HortinBest In The World+2 Laps
2143IR.+W. JamesonJameson BrothersEngine
23555IA.+V. Reyna-SanchezTom DouglasEngine
2631IWinton/YanameWintonContact Damage
27007MMagnus/GeiszlerFalken TireSpun Off
2809IMelvanov/KabirovChris ShortSuspension
3011IO'Connor/JafferBest In The WorldGearbox

Fastest Lap – Car 6 (Gulf Aston Martin – Rossi/Davidson) – 1:24.802

Infinite Improbability Drive of the Race – Harrison Wilkinson and Carlton Cho:  Did everything they can to erase the DNPQ of Italy and did it with a strong drive.

Reject of The Race – Saleen: Three identical engine failures at their home race hurt deep as the Independent Title hopes for the lead cars now starts to seem out of reach.