Derek Jones and Mat Pombo piloted the Daytona-winning #73 Mini to a fourth-place finish in the Street Tuner class in the two-hour Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Sebring. James Clay and Tyler Cooke finished sixth in the #84 BimmerWorld 328i.
The closely-fought race was a heartbreaker for the BimmerWorld team. Clay rocketed into the lead from his second-place starting position and dominated until he pitted under yellow about fifty minutes into the race. A problem with the fuel rig set the car back, but Tyler Cooke, who took over on the stop, was able to move up to what would ultimately be a sixth-place finish. The second BimmerWorld 328i driven by Ari Balogh and Greg Liefooghe also ran strong; Liefooghe was part of a five-car battle at the front of the pack late in the race. But just minutes before the end the car apparently ran out of gas. It was classified fifteenth in the final standings.
The ST class win went to Spencer Pumpelly and Nick Galante in a Porsche Cayman. Pumpelly won after a late race wheel-to-wheel battle with Owen Trinkler in the pole-sitting Nissan Altima that he shared with Sarah Cattaneo. The Nissan finished a very close second.
Mike LaMarra and James Vance finished eleventh in the #37 Mini, Jared Salenski and Mark Pombo finished thirteenth in the #52 Mini, and Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson finished fourteenth in the #54 BMW 228i.
There was no BMW presence in the Grand Sport class. The overall and Grand Sport wins went to Jade Buford and Scott Maxwell in the #60 Ford Mustang.
The CTSC series runs next at Circuit of the Americas on May 4-6.—Brian S. Morgan
Photo by Jon van Woerden