The Marco Polo Motorsports duo of Mads Siljehaug and Nicolai Elghanayan was in control through all 60 minutes of the Saturday afternoon Pirelli GT4 America SprintX Round 7 at Sonoma Raceway, notching the first GT4 SprintX overall and Silver division win for the innovative KTM X-Bow.
“We finally got the car dialed in and (after) 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!” teammate Elghanayan added.
At the start, Robby Foley (No. 21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin GT4) gave chase to the MPM machine, slotting into second overall, first in the Pro-Am class, with Kris Wilson (No. 16 Rearden Racing Mercedes AMG GT4), who had moved up two spots, running third overall, first in the Am class.
Five minutes into the race, Ty Clarke’s No. 111 Motorsports USA McLaren 570S went off track at Turn 2, 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 in the No. 15 Bsport Aston Martin GT4.
As the pit window opened for the required driver changes, Koch got past Wilson for third overall with Greg Liefooghe (No. 19 Stephen Cameron BMW M4 GT4) fifth overall, third in Pro/Am, and Andy Lee (No. 8 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4) sixth overall, fourth in class.
The pit window closed with 25 minutes remaining with the Marco Polo KTM, now with Nicolai Elghanayan driving, keeping the overall and Silver lead, 4.5s 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 Mercedes, kept the Am class lead, running seventh overall.
As the clock ticked past the 5 minute mark, the Jason Hart/Matt Travis No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 would face a drive through penalty and fall to fifth, giving second place in the Pro/Am class to Koch’s teammate in the No. 15, Bryan Putt, with Sean Quinlan (No. 19 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4) up to third.
As the checkered flag flew, the Colin Mullan/Jarrett Andretti pairing would bring the No. 36 Andretti Autosport 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 Koch/Putt Aston Martin finishing second in class by just a tenth of a second over Quinlan/Liefooghe.
“It’s been really impressive seeing Michael (Dinan)’s improvement over the last three seasons, said Foley. He’s killing it in Sprint too, so to grab the Pro/Am win with him now, it’s great,” said Foley.
Kris Wilson and John Allen would control the Am field in their No. 16 Mercedes AMG, with Sean Gibbons and Zac Anderson finishing second in class in the No. 7 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4. The No. 3 Motorsport USA McLaren 570S GT4 of Michael McAleenan and Dan Rogers would come home third in class.
“It was a pretty stressful race today, but I’m learning and getting better each race,” Allen explained. “Kris [Wilson] is a huge help and Rearden gives us a great car every race. We’re happy to get the win!”
“John [Allen] is clearly more comfortable in his racing and he’s really coming along, teammate Wilson said. “Obviously we have a great car too, but I’m really impressed with his progress!”
The final Pirelli GT4 America SprintX race of the weekend will run tomorrow morning, Sunday, August 9, at 9:30 a.m. PDT. Stream it live at https://www.gt4-america.com/live.