SALEEN SCORES HIS FIRST WORLD CHALLENGE S2 CLASS WIN; SNOW TAKES THE OVERALL WIN IN DEBUT OF S1 CLASS; GIGLIOTTI TAKES T1, SCHWARTZOTT CLAIMS T2 IN TOURING DIVISION CONTEST WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Steve Saleen, driving the ...
SALEEN SCORES HIS FIRST WORLD CHALLENGE S2 CLASS WIN; SNOW TAKES THE OVERALL WIN IN DEBUT OF S1 CLASS; GIGLIOTTI TAKES T1, SCHWARTZOTT CLAIMS T2 IN TOURING DIVISION CONTEST
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Steve Saleen, driving the #65 Saleen/Allen Saleen Mustang, scored his first SCCA World Challenge victory after race leaders Kim Baker and Almo Coppelli were given late-race stop-and-go penalties for by-passing Watkins Glen International's "inner-loop." Coppelli also lost early ground for the same infraction on lap three.
"I had some trouble with the inner loop," said Coppelli. "The first time I was braking hard and a little too late. The second time there was a lot of oil in the inner loop--I was sliding all over the track."
Inheriting the lead on lap 32 of the 39-lap, 95.55-mile 50-minute timed race, Saleen, of Irvine, Calif., had to hold off the hard charging Coppelli, in the #00 Callaway SuperNatural Corvette LM, to score the victory, winning by a scant 0.992-second.
"I kept working my way up, watching the whole race develop," said Saleen. "I saw Almo (Coppelli) slide through the chicane, and then he and Kim (Baker) were called in to the pits and I found myself in first place."
Finishing third was Baker, in the #5 Young Chevrolet Corvette. Melanie Snow, in the #73 Martin Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT2, finished fourth from her 10th overall starting position, and Monte Smith, in the #48 Eaglecrafts Inc. Porsche 911 Turbo, claimed the fifth position after starting ninth.
Taking the overall and debut victory in the S1 class was Martin Snow, in the #56 Martin Snow Racing Porsche 911 EVO. Snow led his two-car class and overall from laps 24-29 and the final seven laps. Finishing second in S1 and fourth overall was Klaus Bytzek, in the Bytzek Motorsports Porsche 911 EVO. Bytzek finished just over 36 seconds behind Snow.
"I made a mistake in gear selection for the race but we were able to deal with it," said Snow. "I just drove a dependable race so I could finish. I got a little loose in some oil, and it made for a couple of close calls. Towards the end, I didn't even realize I was working on the lead--I just drove conservative and tried to avoid the oil in the chicane."
After seven races, Coppelli leads the S2 Drivers' Championship point standings with 195, followed by Shane Lewis, 192; Saleen, 161; Doc Bundy, 141; Steve Dinan, 140; and Rob Rizzo, 135.
In the separate combined T1/T2 race, Lou Gigliotti, of Dallas, Texas, came from a fifth-place start to take the T1 class SCCA World Challenge victory, his second T1 class victory of the season.
Gigliotti, driving the #28 LG Motorsports Saleen Mustang, moved into the top spot when race leader Willy Lewis was forced to pit with a flat tire 22 laps into the 37-lap, 90.65-mile contest. Once in the lead, Gigliotti held off hard charges first from Kermit Upton, in the #25 Warsteiner BMW M3, and then from Bill Lester, in the #70 Mostly Mazdas Mazda RX-7 Turbo.
"What a race," said Gigliotti. "We've got a heavy car, and this is a real hard track on the tires, but we bedded them in, and the Goodyear's performed perfectly."
Finishing second, 1.056-second behind Gigliotti, was Upton, who passed Lester just at the checkered flag as the duo crossed side-by-side, separated by just 0.018- second.
Taking fourth was Greg Theiss, in the #32 Archer Motorsports Eagle Talon AWD Turbo, followed by his teammate Willy Lewis, in the #33 Eagle Talon AWD Turbo.
In the T2 class, Peter Schwartzott, of Niagra Falls, N.Y., came out on top of a race-long battle with second and third-place finishers Terry Borcheller and Paul Booher.
Schwartzott, in the #41 Buffalo Motorsports Honda Prelude, eventually claimed a 16.394-second margin over Borcheller, in the Last Minute Racing BMW M3, with Booher, in the #04 ICY Racing Quaker State Saturn SC, finishing third.
"I first raced here 32 years ago and have been racing here ever since," said Schwartzott. "This race was great sport--this was my most difficult race here ever because of this guy Terry (Borcheller). I was a great battle."
Finishing fourth was Booher's teammate David Rosenblum, in the #18 Quaker State Saturn SC, followed by Borcheller's teammate Alain Chebeir, in the #22 BMW M3.
After eight races, Gigliotti leads the T1 class Drivers' Championship point standings with 197, followed by Theiss, 187; Upton, 178; Lewis, 176; and Peter Cunningham, 129.
In the T2 class, Taz Harvey tops the points chart after seven races with 166, followed by Chebeir, 155; Michael Galati, 148; Booher, 140; Schwartzott, 137; and Rosenblum, 136.