Balzan, Nielsen leave VIR with larger lead
Scuderia Corsa‘s Alessandro Balzan and Christina Nielsen faced what may have been their most challenging yet unexpected race of the season on Sunday afternoon at VIRginia International Raceway, but was able to leave the track still at the head of the GT-Daytona driver’s championship.
An off-course excursion early in the race cost the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 a couple of positions and forced a slightly early pit stop to remove grass from the radiator intakes, while a punctured tire cost more time and forced another slightly early pit stop midway through the race. However, Balzan was then able to move the Ferrari up to sixth position before a penalty for overboost dropped the car to eighth position, where it finished the race to then learn one of the other GT-D cars was excluded from the final results. Scuderia Corsa Ferrari N. 63 is now provisionally classified in 7th position with a 20-point lead in the GT-Daytona championship.
The track here is super difficult in terms of finding grip, especially with the traffic – said Nielsen – Unfortunately, I had a bit of grass pickup which cost us a couple of seconds. Balzan was doing a great job but unfortunately, he had a puncture. Luckily for us, it was just around the time when we were supposed to pit again so we got away with it. It could’ve been a lot worse.It’s not the race we wanted, but that’s what happens. You have these races once in a while. I’m incredibly grateful for being with guys and gals who are fighters. People who can push through even when you go through situations like these. I can’t wait for CoTA – I wish it was next week already! I hate that I have to wait two-and-a-half weeks before I get to sit behind the wheel again.
Balzan has faced the ups and downs of fighting for a championship when he won the Grand-Am GT driver’s championship with Scuderia Corsa in 2013, and knows that overcoming a race like the one that the team encountered at VIR is part of the championship chase.
Today was a really challenging day – said Balzan – But I have never been so proud of my team! They managed flat tire, an overheating issue and still gave us a great strategy. The only way I can say ‘Grazie’ to Scuderia Corsa is to drive two perfect races to end the season!
Despite the challenging day at VIR, the collective team effort in challenging circumstances as well as their position in the championship leaves the team upbeat for the remaining two races.
Bad day in the office – said Giacomo Mattioli, Scuderia Corsa team owner. We are looking forward to the next race where we will be in full attack mode to close out the championship.
The next race for the IMSA SportsCar Championship will be September 14-17 at Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas.