The Pirelli World Challenge GT, GTA and GT Cup classes contested their final race of 2017 with Patrick Long having already clinched the Overall GT championship but like Saturday’s Round 8, Michael Cooper took control early and dominated all 50 minutes at Sonoma Raceway.
- RESULTS: 2017 Sonoma GT-GTA-GT Cup Race 2
Cooper took the lead on the run up the hill after the drop of the green flag, passing pole sitter Long. Green-flag running did not last long with a caution coming out on Lap 1.
The incident took championship contender Alvaro Parente out of the race in an accident caused by Daniel Mancinelli’s TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3. The damage to Parente’s No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 took it out of the race with one lap complete.
Once back to green, Cooper retained his lead and managed to maintain a healthy gap to Long’s No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Long did get close but couldn’t execute a successful pass. In the closing stages of the race, the Porsche had to fend off the No. 4 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS of Pierre Kaffer.
Cooper went on to take the checkered flag by 0.9 seconds over Long. With the victory, the GT SprintX champion swept the Sonoma weekend. His victory bumped him to 338 points, securing second place in the GT Sprint standings.
Long’s second-place finish combined with Parente dropping out of the race after one lap cemented the GT Sprint championship for the longtime Porsche driver with 365 points.
Kaffer completed the Pro podium for Magnus, finishing one second behind Long. Kaffer started from the third position but lost it to Mancinelli. Following the penalty for the Ferrari driver, Kaffer reclaimed the position.
Bryan Sellers started sixth and advanced two positions in the race to finish in the fourth position. The No. 6 K-PAX McLaren was 11.9 seconds behind Kaffer at the checkered flag.
Ryan Dalziel also advanced two positions behind the wheel of the No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. He started seventh and completed the top five to make it five different manufacturers in the group.
James Sofronas topped GTA in the No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R. Pablo Perez Companc and Tim Pappas completed the Am podium.
While the series has one more date on the schedule at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the event does not feature any of the GT classes. They will be out of action until the 2018 season kicks off in March on the streets of St. Petersburg.