AUSTIN, Texas – Brett Sandberg and Ernie Francis Jr. scored wins in round three of the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car and Touring Car B-Spec championships at Circuit of The Americas Sunday, part of the series’ Cadillac Sports Car Challenge weekend.
Sandberg, in the No. 70 Ultimate Racing/HPD Honda Civic Si, took home his first Pirelli World Challenge win, pulling out a 5.663-second lead over teammate Ryan Winchester, of Mason City, Iowa. , in the race that averaged 76.908 mph around the 2.3-mile, 20-turn National road course. Sandberg led the second-consecutive all-Compass360 podium in 2013.
“It feels awesome to get the first win,” Sandberg said. “I’ve been in the series a few years now and I’ve been struggling quite a bit. I finally got together with these Compass360 guys and I think we’re in for a good season.
“Traffic was a lot better than yesterday. The TCB guys showed a lot of respect to us today, considering they need to keep that momentum up. I got lucky a few instances in traffic and I was able to get a gap. The car was great from the beginning to the end. If anything, the car got better and better as the race went on. I was really impressed with the guys. They did a great job with the car.
“This is the second-straight day that Compass360 swept the podium and it’s just awesome. I know it means a lot to [team principle] Karl [Thompson]. He’s done it in other series and to be a part of it here is really an honor.”
Saturday’s double winner, Winchester, in the No. 72 Ultimate Racing/HPD Honda Civic Si, got around his teammate, Remo Ruscitti, on the penultimate lap of the 23-lap, 52.9-mile race. Winchester felt fortunate for the finish, struggling with handling issues throughout the race
“I got a pretty decent start and I got inside of [Sandberg] going into Turn One,” Winchester said. “I thought I might get him there, but when I didn’t, I knew that was probably my best chance. We missed it a little bit on the setup today. The rear end was too stuck to the track and I had to lift in places where yesterday, I was flat. That costs you time. He [Sandberg} drove a great race and didn’t make any mistakes.
“I was basically settling for third. I don’t know what happened to Remo there. Something happened on the front straight and I got by him. It’s a great weekend for us—two wins and a second and we’ll get out of here with the points lead. But, I’d like to win all of these if I could.”
Following the pass, Ruscitti, in the No. 71 Ultimate Racing/HPD Honda Civic Si, pushed hard to get back around his teammate on the white flag lap, but settled for third, completing the second-consecutive Compass360 podium of the weekend.
“Great result for us in our first weekend in Pirelli World Challenge,” Ruscitti said. “It was a little frustrating when I was getting into the traffic, with some of the cars not letting me by. It was a great race between me and Ryan [Winchester] at the end. We were going two-wide through the shortcut section, which you really shouldn’t be able to do. Overall a good result for the team.”
Jon Miller finished fourth, behind the Compass360 trifecta on the podium. Miller, driving the No. 68 Shea Racing Honda Civic Si, crossed the line 26 seconds behind Ruscitti.
Patrick Seguin notched his sixth career top-five in Pirelli World Challenge competition, after a fifth-place finish in Round Three in the No. 64 Gear Tie Racing/Fortune Auto Honda Civic Si.