SONOMA, Calif. – Mads Siljehaug and Nicolai Elghanayan steered the No. 71 Marco Polo Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4 to victory in Saturday’s Pirelli GT4 America SprintX event at Sonoma Raceway.
It was Siljehaug leading the field as the green flag waved and the No. 71 proved to be the dominant force all day. Siljehaug and Elghanayan controlled the field throughout the 60 minute distance to take the victory.
“We finally got the car dialed in and all the work it took to get this first win, we are extremely happy,” said Siljehaug.
“It feels so good.We weren’t that strong here last year, so to come this year and win, we’re really happy,” said Elghanayan.
At the start Robby Foley would slot in second overall, first in the Pro-Am class with Kris Wilson, who moved up two spots, running third overall, first in the Am class.
Five minutes into the race Ty Clarke would go off track at turn two, bringing out the first and only full course caution of the race.
The race went back to green with 44 minutes remaining with Siljehaug leading Foley, Wilson and Kenton Koch. Going into turn one on the next lap, Jason Hart overtook Bill Auberlen for sixth in class, eighth overall.
As the pit window opened for the required driver changes, Koch got past Wilson for third overall with Greg Liefooghe fifth overall, third in Pro-Am and Andy Lee sixth overall, fourth in class.
The pit window closed with 25 minutes remaining with Elghanayan now in the No. 71 and keeping the overall and Silver division lead, 4.5 seconds ahead of Pro-Am competitor Michael Dinan, now driving the No. 21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
John Allen, now behind the wheel of the No. 16 Rearden Racing Mercedes AMG GT4, kept the Am class lead, running seventh overall.
With 10 minutes remaining Jon Miller would sneak past his teammate Harry Gottsacker for ninth overall, third in the Silver class. Miller would then go on the hunt of the Colin Mullan-driven No. 36 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4, but come up just short and finish on the final podium step.
As the clock ticked past the 5 minute mark, the No. 47 NOLASPORT entry would face a drive through penalty and fall to fifth, giving second place in the Pro-Am class to Bryan Putt in the No. 15 BSport Aston Martin Vantage with Sean Quinlan in the No. 19 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 third.
As the checkered flag waved, the Mullan/Andretti pairing would bring the No. 36 McLaren home second in the Silver class with Jon Miller and Samantha Tan taking third.
Dinan and Foley would take the Pro-Am victory with the No. 15 Bsport entry of Koch and Putt getting second position in class by a tenth of a second over Quinlan and Liefooghe.
“It’s been really impressive seeing Michael’s [Dinan] improvement over the last three seasons. He’s killing it in Sprint too, so to grab the win with him now, it’s great,” said Foley.
“To win with Robby [Foley] feels incredible and grab our first SprintX win of the season is special,” said Dinan.
Wilson and Allen would control the Am field in their No. 16 Rearden Racing Mercedes AMG GT4, with Sean Gibbons and Zac Anderson finishing second in class.
“It was a pretty stressful race today, but I’m learning and getting better each race. Kris [Wilson] is a huge help and Rearden gives us a great car every race and we’re happy to get the win,” said Allen.
“John [Allen] is clearly more comfortable in his racing and he’s really coming along. Obviously we have a great car too, but I’m really impressed with his progress,” said Wilson.