ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Spencer Pumpelly won the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class race held on the Streets of St. Petersburg Saturday as part of the Cadillac Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Pumpelly, an accomplished veteran that has competed at the top levels of sportscar racing for more than a decade, recorded his first career win in Pirelli World Challenge.
Off of the standing start, pole sitter and round three winner Dean Martin led second on the grid Kurt Rezzetano through turn one with Pumpelly, who had qualified fourth, in close pursuit.
With Rezzetano battling to pass Martin through turns four and five on lap one, both Mustangs ran wide allowing Pumpelly to cut underneath and move into first. Martin held onto second over Rezzetano. The race went full-course yellow on lap three after Dan Martinson made contact with the concrete barriers through turns four and five and sat wounded. Debris from the No. 33 car lay on the track.
On the lap eight restart, Pumpelly maintained his lead over Martin, while Rezzetano was passed by teammate Andrew Aquilante for third. Pursuing in fourth was round one winner Kris Wilson while round two winner Michael Cooper held fifth.
On lap 10, Aquilante was closing the gap on Martin while Pumpelly opened up a 10-car lead in first. On lap 11, it was Pumpelly leading over Martin, Aquilante, Rezzetano, Wilson and Cooper. On lap 18 Martin went wide on turn one leaving the door open for Aquilante to take second. Rezzetano followed suit and passed Martin as well.
By lap 26, Pumpelly had opened up a gap of over 2.5 seconds on Aquilante. When the checkered flew on lap 33, Pumpelly scored a dominating three-second win. Aquilante finished second, while teammate Rezzetano finished third. Rounding out the top 5 were Martin in fourth and Cooper in fifth.
“We learned a lot yesterday,” said Pumpelly. “One of the things we learned was to really attack on the start. We did that today. This got me off good and moved me into third. Once there I saw that the two in front began to drift wide. And again it’s a street course. When they went went wide I went for it and was able to use the momentum to get in front. I chock it up to some luck. It’s good to be back and have success this weekend. I have to thank the guys for the effort on the Mustang. This win is up there with my other big wins and it is a really special deal.”
“Thank you to the guys on the team who had to make some changes in the drive line to my car to be ready for today,” said Aquilante. “It was a really good race. It was good for Ford and the manufacturer points to go 1-2-3 because this may impact the weight of the Mustang at the next race. The ability of the Mustang and its torque to drive off so many of the 90 degree corners is a big advantage here, especially with the live rear axle keeping all four Pirelli tires on the ground. We felt we would be able to be strong and we were.”
“I am really happy for this weekend,” said Rezzetano. “Also, thank you to Pirelli World Challenge for the professionalism and fun we had this week. St. Petersburg is an interesting place to race because as Spencer said it is tough to pass. I got a good start and tried to get past Martin but Spencer slipped by. It is so important to have the traction and use the torque and that separated us this weekend.”