Dinan & Foley Thrill In Road America SprintX Event

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Robby Foley and Michael Dinan triumphed in Saturday's Pirelli GT4 America SprintX event at Road America.
Robby Foley and Michael Dinan triumphed in Saturday's Pirelli GT4 America SprintX event at Road America.

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Michael Dinan and Robby Foley partnered to wheel the No. 21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 to victory in Saturday’s Pirelli GT4 America SprintX event at Road America.

Due to poor weather conditions during qualifying, the grid was set by the fastest lap from the second practice session, with Andrew Davis and the No. 2 GMG Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 bringing the field to the green flag. Bill Auberlen started second, with Jan Heylen third.

At the start Auberlen continued his race one form and powered past Davis for the overall and Pro-Am class lead. Kenton Koch, in the No. 15 Bsport Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 would slip past Heylen for third overall and third in Pro-Am.

Nick Wittmer, in the No. 28 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4, would also get past Heylen for fourth overall, first in the Silver class. Heylen would quickly fall behind Samantha Tan’s No. 38 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 as Tan would claim fifth overall, second in the Silver division.

The Am leader, Kris Wilson in the No. 16 Rearden Racing Mercedes AMG GT4, would slot in sixth overall.

As Tan and Heylen battled, Tan would go wide at turn 12 and drop to ninth overall allowing Wilson, Heylen, Patrick Gallagher and Ian James to sneak through.

Michael Cooper would add more salt to the wound of Tan and pass the BMW driver for ninth overall going into turn seventh. Silver competitor Jarrett Andretti would then get past Tan on the next lap for 10th overall, second in the Silver class.

Fifteen minutes into the 60 minute race, Auberlen would stretch the overall and Pro-Am lead to more than three seconds, with Wittmer controlling the Silver lead from fourth overall, and Wilson leading Am from seventh overall.

Two minutes later the hood of Wittmer’s BMW M4 GT4 would flip up into the windshield of the car, forcing the driver to pull over, fix the hood, then limp around to the pits. Andretti would inherit the lead in the Silver division with Nicolai Elghanayan second in class.

As the pit window opened for the required driver changes, Auberlen had stretched the overall and Pro-Am lead to more than eight seconds with Davis, Koch, Heylen and Gallagher rounding out the top five.

When the pit window closed, James Walker Jr., now driving the No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4, would lead overall and in Pro-Am, Colin Mullan, now in the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Window World of Michigan McLaren 570S GT4 would lead Silver, with John Allen, now driving the No. 16 Rearden Racing Mercedes AMG GT4, on top in Am.

With 22 minutes left on the clock, Jason Bell, now driving the No. 2 GMG Racing Porsche 718 Cayman, would fall to fifth overall and in class, allowing Bryan Putt and the No. 15 Bsport Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 to move into second position overall. Charlie Belluardo, in the No. 37 RS1 Porsche Cayman CS MR took third, with Dinan in the No. 21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 moving up to fourth.

At the same time Mads Siljehaug, now behind the wheel of the No. 71 Marco Polo Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4, would catch the Silver-class leading Mullan as the two would battle for seventh overall and the class win.

With 15 minutes remaining Dinan would get past Belluardo for third overall going on the inside of turn three.

Dinan’s run would continue as two laps later he would slip past Putt in the Carousel for second overall. He would then turn his attention to catching Walker for the lead, who was 9.1 seconds ahead with 10 minutes remaining.

With less than three minutes to go, the battle for the Silver lead remained hot as Siljehaug would move to the inside of Mullan coming out of the left-hand turn six, then stick to the outside line through the right-hand turn seven, overtaking the McLaren for first in the Silver class, third overall.

Jon Miller and the No. 38 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 would take third in the Silver category, seventh overall.

At the same time, Dinan caught the Overall and Pro-Am leader Walker. Dinan would swing around the outside of the BMW at turn one and claim the lead with one lap to go. Dinan would pull away and go on to take the win with Walker in second and Putt third in class, fifth overall.

“Obviously you always want to get the win, like we did at Sonoma, so we did not want to turn down the opportunity to grab another! Robby [Foley] had a great stint and gave me a great car,” said Dinan.

“This is a great win. Michael [Dinan} did all the work though, I just wanted to give him a clean car and let his pace do the talking,” said Foley.

John Allen and the No. 16 Rearden Racing Mercedes AMG GT4 would take the Am class win with Race 1 winner Sean Gibbons and the No. 7 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 second and Tom Collingwood and the No. 69 BGB Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 in third.