The Pirelli World Challenge 2018 drew to a close Sunday morning, and Flying Lizard Motorsports closed the season on a high note, clinching the GTSA class win in race two at Watkins Glen International. Mike Hedlund drove his No. 45 Audi R8 LMS GT4 to victory in the final race of the season, finishing fourth in the sprint championship points, narrowly missing out on a double podium weekend.
“As with any race season, there are lots of challenges and this season definitely had some but we also had some great results and it was nice finish the season with a class win,” said Program Manager Darren Law. “Mike Hedlund drove great this weekend and as always, the Flying Lizard Motorsports crew performed perfectly.”
Hedlund started the event strong, driving near the top of the GTS charts not only in his AM class, but overall. In Saturday morning’s qualifying session, Hedlund qualified in second, 0.29 seconds off provisional pole position. Throughout race one, Hedlund held his own during the first race, slipping to third on the race start, and defending his position from his professional and amateur competitors. His flawless run continued throughout the fifty minute race, but attrition struck in the final laps. With three minutes to go, a punctured tire ruined the podium run for the Audi R8 LMS GT4, forcing Mike to pit for a replacement. He finished seventh in the GTSA class, behind Adam Merzon, driver of the No. 23 Case-It Racing by Flying Lizard Motorsports. Merzon started the race in tenth in the GTSA class, but struggled with top line speed throughout the event. He kept the No. 23 Audi clear of contact from other cars and finished the race in twelfth position.
While a personal matter kept Merzon from competing in the second and final race of the year, Hedlund started race two in second place, next to the No. 99 of Jeff Courtney. Hedlund took the GTSA lead at the start and never looked back. Starting eighth overall, Hedlund settled into seventh position, putting heavy pressure on the No. 14 of James Sofronas in the GTS class. With little pressure behind Hedlund stayed within 0.2 seconds of Sofronas until a full course caution halted the race and brought the field back together. The No. 45 Audi got a strong restart, extending his lead to 2.2 seconds to the checker flag, earning his first win and sixth podium of the year.
Sunday’s win marked Flying Lizard’s first win at Watkins Glen International, and 34th win to date, closing out the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge race season on the top step. The team is working diligently on 2019’s championship efforts to be announced at a later date.
Source. Flying Lizard Motorsports