EFFORT Racing Wins in Wine Country
After another successful double header weekend in the Pirelli World Challenge season, EFFORT Racing and Porsche remain at the top of the 2015 Manufacturer’s Championship. Heading into Rounds 18 and 19, the GT team held the driver championship points lead with Ryan Dalziel. However, a prior commitment in the World Endurance Championship for Dalziel left the points leader with no choice but to hand over his Porsche 911 GT3R to Dutchman Renger van der Zande for the Sonoma double header.
Van der Zande did the team proud, never placing below second place in the practice, qualifying and race sessions. He clinched the Race 1 pole position, and opened a commanding lead over the field in the laps to follow. Ultimately he finished Race 1 in second position, after an impressive battle for the lead with McLaren GT Factory driver Kevin Estre. While challenging for the lead, Renger set a quick lap to score him a second place finish for Race 2. Current Rookie of the Year Michael Lewis qualified for Race 1 in an impressive 3rd position, but while battling for position, an unfortunate move pushed him back to 10th on the charts. He focused the remainder of the race on setting a clean, fast lap for Race 2, resulting in a 7th place grid position.
On a mission to reclaim the top spot, van der Zande’s standing start for Race 2 quickly brought him from 2nd to the head of the field, where he remained for the rest of the race. Despite pressure from Estre, van der Zande’s tire and race management along with cooler track temperatures kept the No. 31 Porsche out front all the way to the checker flag. Unfortunately, the race for Michael Lewis ended early, as contact shortly after the start damaged the No. 41 Porsche GT3R.
Just one race remains in the 2015 of the Pirelli World Challenge, September 11-13 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Former points leader Ryan Dalziel will resume his driving duties for the No. 31 Porsche for the season finale.
This is a nice one. It’s a sequence: Free practice one, I was first, then second in qualifying 1, then second in the first race and won the second race. I’m very happy. It’s so nice the team got me back in the car after Detroit. It’s so nice to give them back a win and a second place finish. It’s good for the team championship and the manufacturer’s championship. I’m very happy to help out. Overnight we made some really good changes, and it worked out really well so I could manage the tires properly and keep it out front. I hope Ryan Dalziel has a good one at Laguna.
We had a really good qualifying for Race 1. I placed P3 just three-tenths off of my teammate who was P1. Into Race 1 I had a little mistake on my part battling for the top three positions, and ended up falling back. That was on me. For Race 2, we were getting better in the standing start scenario by adding some rolling starts. Up into the first two turns today there was a big crash and it was just a deal where I couldn’t find a hole. I had contact, which ended our race. It was unfortunate our race was cut short, because overall we had good speed this weekend. My teammate won Race 2 and finished 2nd in the Race 1. That really showed the pace of these EFFORT Racing prepared Porsches. On my side, I’m just going to keep my head up. We had a really good start to the week, and just didn’t finish it up. We’ll see what happens at the final Round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the third of three California races for us.