Watkins Glen, NY | 2 September 2019
It was a big weekend for Ferrari in Upstate New York after R. Ferri Motorsport completed a sweep at Watkins Glen International by winning their respective class in Sunday’s Blancpain GT World Challenge America event.
Toni Vilander and Daniel Serra both made passes in Turn 8 of the historic circuit to take the lead in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3, which scored its fifth victory of the season.
“It could not be any better,” said team owner Remo Ferri. “I think we did a great job, with two great guys. The weekend turned out very, very good.”
Pole-sitter Vilander lost the lead at the drop of the green flag, but regained it with an inside pass in the “Heel of the Boot,” Turn 8 of the 3.4-mile circuit. The opposing driver attempted to cut in on the Ferrari but spun, giving the lead to Vilander,
“It basically came down to the start,” Vilander explained. “We have agreed on a starting zone, but the starter waved the flag 50 meters earlier, so Maxime [Soulet] was actually in front of me, and was pulling away. He was pushing really hard, and he made a mistake coming out of Turn 7. I went to the right-hand side, and he blocked; I went to the left-hand side, he blocked. We got down to Turn 8. I got down to the first gear, and I touched him. I didn’t feel the touch inside the car, but it’s very unfortunate; I’m not here to spin any of the cars. At this age I will race clean – I’ve done my crazy battles in the past!”
SRO officials quickly ruled the contact a racing incident, with no penalties.
Co-driver Serra found himself in second when he took over at the midway point. He patiently bided his time until seeing an opportunity in the Boot, and took the lead with a dive to the inside in Turn 8. He led the rest of the way, winning by 3.993 seconds.
“It was supposed to be an easy race, because Toni had a bit of a gap,” said Serra, racing in the series for the first time in a substitute role for Miguel Molina. “But we lost a bit of time in the pits, and I was behind an Acura that was much faster than us on the straights. It was real difficult to overtake him, I had to wait for a mistake. Then Alvaro [Parente] arrived, and then it was like qualifying every lap until the end! But it was nice to come here and help them extend their lead.”
With the victory, Vilander extended his lead to 28 points with only four races remaining.