Sandberg wins GTS round 2 at COTA

Brett Sandberg led from start to finish in Sunday’s second round of the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge, part of the Nissan Grand Prix of Texas. Yesterday's winner Lawson Aschenbach finished second.

Sandberg wins GTS round 2 at COTA

When the lights went out for the standing start, Sandberg, in the #13 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4, got the jump he needed to keep the lead from pole heading into Turn 1, with Aschenbach who had started second, in the #10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro, right behind him on the corner exit.

Meanwhile, Max Riddle, in the #07 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4, charged from ninth to third through the opening corners, earning him the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award.

As the race developed, Sandberg and Aschenbach drew away from Riddle, who then came under attack from Nate Stacy, driving the #14 Roush Performance Road Racing Ford Boss 302, and Parker Chase, driving the #19 Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta GT4, with Stacy passing Riddle for third on lap 2 in turn 12.

Riddle was then challenged by Dollahite, in the in the #46 SDR Motorsports Lotus Evora, who passed Chase for fifth, and continued his charge, getting around Riddle for fourth.

Up front, Aschenbach turned up the heat on Sandberg, trying to pass the X-Bow around the 20-turn COTA circuit, while Stacy at the same time caught the two leaders, making it a three-car fight for the lead. That became a quartet as Dollahite tracked down the leaders.

At the 15-minute mark of the 50-minute race, Sandberg continued to lead, but by just .216 seconds as Aschenbach, winner of Round 1 on Saturday, continued to challenge in hopes of a weekend sweep with Stacy and Dollahite in pursuit. Riddle continued in fifth ahead of Chase, who was locked in a battle with Dore Chaponick Jr., in the #12 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4. Chase then separated himself from Chaponick Jr. and challenged Riddle for the top five in hopes of chasing down the lead group.

At the 20-minute mark, Jack Roush Jr., in the #60 Roush Performance Road Racing Ford Boss 302, got around Chase for sixth, as Chaponick Jr. had dropped behind the battle in eighth place and then hit pit road to replace a cut tire. On lap 13, Roush Jr. passed Riddle down the back stretch for fifth, with Chase then passing Riddle and taking on Roush Jr, who then pulled off with a flat tire.

Aschenbach then closed the lead in his Camaro but Sandberg responded and took the victory, while Dollahite passed Stacy in Turn 1 for the final podium position.

The VP Fuel Racing Hard Charger went to Mark Klenin, in the #62 Klenin Performance Racing Schomp/Premiere Copy/Mike Ward Maserati Maserati GranTurismo, who improved six positions throughout the race.

Said Sandberg: “The KTM X-Bow performed flawlessly today. The car was super consistent throughout the entire race. The ANSA Motorsports team worked outstandingly in conjunction with Reiter Engineering. The car felt so good through the entire run today.

“I felt some pressure from Lawson as the race went on and I needed to drive smoothly to keep our pace. To beat someone like Lawson, who really helped me out a few years back, this is a great feeling.”


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