Pit Stop Magic Helps McKane and Kremnicky Score Maiden GTSS Victory

Aston Martin scored their second straight overall victory to start the season with Ravenwest drivers Nathan McKane and Andrej Kremnicky scoring top honors at the 2019 Yas Supercar Festival.

After Gulf Racing driver Roland Davidson controlled the lead of the race for the duration of the middle stint of the race, Ravenwest driver Andrej Kremnicky and Racing Team Solvalou driver Antonio Fazio responded from the call from the Gulf pit wall to bring in Roland and followed right behind the Brazil race winner. The call proved decisive for the two cars that were following Roland jumped nailed their pit stops and leaped into the top two positions for the final run to the finish. The Slovakian Kremnicky remained behind the wheel of the Ravenwest Aston while Solvalou and Gulf changed drivers back to Emma Pescatore and Matteo Rossi for the finish respectively.

Rossi set to work early trying to undo the damage from the pit stop, passing the Solvalou Rookie two laps after pitting and then lapping the Euromotor Lister being driven at the time by Patrick Feldhoffer. It would give the Italian some time to start closing the gap to Andrej ahead, and some breathing room to Emma behind. However it wouldn’t take long for Emma to clear the Independant Lister, and would pass her countryman on lap 48 for second place overall, electing to take the brunt of the load in catching back up to the leading Ravenwest car. With fifteen minutes remaining Emma Pescatore and Matteo Rossi closed the gap to Andrej Kremnicky, meaning the race was on for the outright victory. Emma would not waste any time trying to go for the win, attempting to overtake the Slovakian for the lead for two straight laps at turn 11, the pair making contact multiple times but Andrej still holding on to the lead. Failing to make the pass stick, the Factory Lamborghini driver would be left to deal with the frustrated Rossi who was stuck in third while the action was going on ahead of him. He’d pass Pescatore once when the young Italian went wide at turn 3, but would drop back to third at turn 11 on the same lap; Pescatore making the Turn 11 move stick for second after failing to do so for the lead. On the last lap Emma would go for an overtake one last time at Turn 8, trying to give Racing Team Solvalou the overall win for the second straight year after Chris Winter delivered a last corner pass for the win in 2018. She, however, would not be successful in this last lap lunge; sealing the victory for Andrej Kremnicky and Nathan McKane in their second start in the series. It’s the second overall victory in a row for Aston Martin, after the Gulf Racing pair won in Brazil; they stayed in third overall when the two hour mark was elapsed and the race concluded.

Factors early on in the race, but faded out of the battle for the win as the race included pole sitters Joey Alliot and Jacques Malenfant, and World Driver’s Champion Chris Winter with new teammate Morgan Le Fay. Winter had a uncharacteristic spin part way through the first stint of the race which dropped him outside of the top ten. But after teammate Morgan Le Fay took over in the first round of pit stops, she would rally throughout the rest of the race before consolidating to a fourth place result with strong pace once the Brit could have some clean running. The Carson Speedworks crew made their bet to go long on each of the pit stop sequence, trying to take advantage of fresher tires later in the going, but lost too much time with the top three pitting as soon as the pit window opened. The two cars finished fourth and sixth respectively with the lead Gerald Pereria Lister having a quiet race, Fabian Rei and Ryota Wong finishing fifth overall.

The top eight finishers were comprised of Manufacture Trophy teams, finishing in ninth overall and taking Independent’s Honors for the race was the Winton Racing duo of Natsuki Yaname and Karen Faraday. This result gives Yaname her second class victory in three races, after she took top honors at the 2018 season finale, then sharing driving duties with Team Owner Sam Winton. They would slowly rise up the order after being deep in the mid field fight to start the race, and would find themselves second in class in the final stint of the race after David Simmons had a shock spin out of second in class after the race passed half distance in the Oliver Motorsport Lamborghini.

Ahead of them up to this point was the class of the Independent field, the 55 Tom Douglas Racing Saleen of James Douglas and Joel Melrose. After the lead Boutsen Ginion Corvette retired with a engine failure, it was thought that their lead in class would be unassailable by anyone else. Through better pit strategy and solid race pace, the Winton duo put themselves into a position to potentially attack for the class win if the cards fell into place come the final stint of the race. Yaname was in a four car pack at the end which featured James Douglas, as well as the second GP Lister being driven by Shane Sparks and Valeri Kozar in the other Scuderia Italia Ferrari. Douglas lead the group in ninth overall with Sparks close behind, desperate to get through. His desperation proved to be his undoing, as with five minutes remaining in the race he tipped Douglas into a spin entering turn one, trying to make a move under braking happen from way too far back. Douglas was facing the wrong way on the runoff and lost ten seconds, which was more than enough for Yaname to take the class lead and ultimately the victory. Shane Sparks was assessed a fifteen second penalty which dropped him out of points paying position; and with how spaced the mid-field was, Douglas only dropped to eleventh overall and second in class. Joining them on the Independent’s Podium was the Globex Scopio duo of Paul Jenkins and Ernest Bruno, putting in a solid drive after struggling in the wet at Interlagos.

Race Results – After 55 Laps

401MWinter/Le FaySolvalou+8.961
514MRei/WongGerald Pereria+21.178
828MConstantini/TantovichScuderia Italia+40.563
1027MKozar/MolinaroScuderia Italia+1:03.014
1155IDouglas/MelroseTom Douglas+1:03.290
1330IJenkins/BrunoGlobex Scorpio+1:04.306
1515MTravesen/SparksGerald Pereria+1:07.981
194IDiaz/ShideharaBoutsen Ginion+1:25.456
20555IA+V Reyna-SanchezTom Douglas+1 Lap
2145IFeldhoffer/BertinelliEuromotor+1 Lap
22550IKomarek/WombesiCzechmate+1 Lap
23007IMagnus/GeiszlerFalken Tire+1 Lap
2498IBandini/EinfeldtPeople's Republic+2 Laps
2532IAxelsen/PedersenRMR+2 Laps
2741ISetou/HortinBest In The WorldGearbox
2843MOlder Jr./JacobsonMacMillanSpun Off
303IBourne/LuisaBoutsen GinionEngine

Fastest Lap – Car 03 (Solvalou Lamborghini – Pescatore/Fazio) – 2:05.987

Infinite Improbability Drive of the Race – Valeri Kozar and Enrico Molinaro: 21st to the final points paying position overall was a good showing for the supersub pairing at BMS Scuderia Italia.

Reject of The Race – Oliver Jones: A amateurish accident saw him run into the back of the Agostini/Horvath Pagani late in the going, retiring on the spot. Leaving them on the back foot early in the championship.