Starworks Motorsport claimed another podium finish with Renger van der Zande in the #8 Martini liveried Oreca Chevrolet FLM09 in segment (race) two in the ‘Oak Tree Grand Prix’ in Virginia today. However, the Monterey GP and Road America PC class winning pair of Renger and Mirco Schultis take home a sixth place finish, with Martin Fuentes and Kyle Marcelli a fifth place result due to the split TUDOR United Sportscar Championship points structure of the weekend at Danville.
The tightly scheduled, two-day event at the Virginia International Raceway commenced on Friday. Both Starworks cars encountered minor issues during the two practice sessions and it was Martin’s first outing at the track. Mirco, in the #8 Starworks, set the eighth fastest time in qualifying to sit just ahead of Martin in the #7 Bomberg liveried Oreca Chevrolet FLM09 in P9 on the starting grid for segment (race) one on Saturday afternoon.
The ‘Oak Tree Grand Prix’ comprised two 45-minute sprint races for the Prototype Challenge and Prototype Lites classes only. The results of race one determined the starting grid for the weekend finale and delivered half the weekend’s points for the PC teams (silver and then for the Pro’s in race two).
Both Starworks Oreca’s made a good start to race one on Saturday afternoon. Martin was up to P5 when a lengthy Full Course Caution came out. The track returned to green after 38 minutes of running and both he and Mirco, in the 8 car in P8, maintained positions to the chequered flag of the 23 laps race.
Canadian driver Kyle Marcelli stepped in to the #7 Starworks for warm up to the second segment on Sunday morning, with Renger van der Zande on driving duty in the 8 car. Renger made an impressive start to the day setting the second fastest lap time in warm up, with Kyle in P7.
As the race went green an hour later, both drivers made an impressive charge, with Kyle soon up a position to P4 and Renger shooting up five places from the back of the PC grid to run in fourth. The Dutchman and his Canadian team-mate drove a blistering race and were battling the top four, and with cars who were unfortunately in the Lites race, with Renger hot on the heels of race leader Diaz and #54 Braun for most of the 45 minute sprint. After fiercely attacking and defending, a late yellow with only six minutes on the clock meant that Renger would cruise home to claim the third placed podium for the Fort Lauderdale based squad, with Kyle right behind him in the 7 car at the end of the combined total, 47 laps race.
The third placed segment trophy, combined with team mate Mirco Schultis’ result from race one, means that the weekend result for the #8 Starworks Oreca-Chevrolet FLM09 is sixth.
For the #7 Starworks, the combined results of Martin Fuentes, who finished P5 in race one yesterday and Kyle Marcelli’s fourth place today means that the pairing come away from the Virginia International Raceway with a fifth place overall finish.
Renger van der Zande, #8 Starworks Motorsport:
“It was a really cool race to drive. From eighth to second, it was fantastic. You have to take a risk, and I took a lot of risk – a little paint scrubbing with the other cars – but it was all fair and good. The speed in the car was amazing. We had a really fast car in the race. I actually only drove today as we didn’t run in practice due to the wet and Mirco drove the rest of the weekend, but the car felt mega in warm up and the race today. It the end finishing third is good; it’s a bit of a strange format with these 45 minutes races, but we got a lot of points again and we are still second in the Championship so I look forward to finishing the rest of the season like this.”
Peter Baron, Team Owner, Starworks Motorsport:
“This very short weekend ends a streak of a fair amount of races. We are happy to head in to the break with no damage to our cars and shall be testing for our Petit Le Mans line-up before the next round at COTA. Both the 7 and 8 cars come away from Virginia with a decent amount of points and are looking good, especially the 8 car, in the overall standings.”
The next round of the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship is the all classes enduro ‘Lone Star Le Mans’ at Circuit of the Americas, Austin, TX, 19-20 September, 2014.
Source. Starworks Motorsport