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WORLD WRAP: McElrea narrowly misses USF2000 title

Monday 23rd September, 2019 - 1:16pm

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Hunter McElrea just missed out on the title pic: USF2000

USF2000 Championship

Hunter McElrea has missed out on winning the USF2000 Championship at season finale at Laguna Seca.

The New Zealander headed the competition going into last weekend’s event, but a tough second race saw him drop five points behind Braden Eves (Cape Motorsports) in the final standings.

Having qualified second for the opening race of the weekend, McElrea (Pabst Racing Services) finished second to Christian Rasmussen (Jay Howard Driver Development) to extend his points advantage.

However, having not set a time in qualifying for Race 2 courtesy of a broken throttle sensor, the Kiwi driver was forced to start from 18th and last.

Though he charged up to seventh by the finish, victory for Eves saw the American gather enough points to overhaul McElrea and take the championship at the final hurdle.

Daniel Serra and Toni Vilander won the title at Road America pic: Blancpain GT World Challenge America

Blancpain GT World Challenge America

Matt Campbell and his Wright Motorsports co-driver Alex Imperato recorded two top 10 finishes at Road America while Daniel Serra and Toni Vilander sealed the 2019 series title.

Campbell and Imperato recorded a fourth overall and second in Pro-Am class in Saturday’s race, before taking a third in class and seventh overall on Sunday.

The weekend’s opening race was dominated by the Ferrari of Serra and Vilander, who maintained the lead despite a late Safety Car obliterating their advantage.

That interruption preluded a brief battle for Pro-Am Class honours, with Campbell slipping to third in class before recovering the place from Martin Barkley and Kyle Marcelli’s Acura.

Pro-Am runners Mike Hedlund and Dane Cameron were second in an Acura NSX while third went to Patrick Long and Scott Hargrove in Wright Motorsports’ Pro Class Porsche.

Hedlund and Cameron then claimed overall honours in the weekend’s second race, the Pro-Am pairing edging out the Vilander/Serra Ferrari by less than half a second.

The Bentley of Andy Soucek and Alvaro Parente rounded out the podium, more than 10 seconds away from the leading two but less than a second ahead of their K-Pax Racing team-mates Rodrigo Baptista and Maxime Soulet in fourth.

It was a finish that proved controversial after a late full course yellow was called off by race officials, and saw Serra jump from fifth to second amid the mayhem.

By doing so, Serra and Vilander claimed the Pro Class title with a round to spare, the finale at Las Vegas Speedway on October 18-20.

Liam Lawson won the opening race in Barcelona

Euroformula Open

Liam Lawson claimed victory in Barcelona on a weekend that saw the Euroformula Open series title decided.

Heavy rain saw qualifying cancelled, with times from Friday practice instead used to form the grid, giving Billy Monger his maiden series pole position.

However, the English youngster wasn’t able to maintain the spot, with Lawson climbing from eighth to take victory.

Lawson moved into the lead on the final lap of the wet race, rounding Nicolai Kjaergaard at Turn 1, having risen to fifth on the opening lap.

Australians Calan Williams and Jack Doohan were 14th and 15th respectively, the pair among many to make mistakes and fall down the order in the conditions.

Qualifying fourth for Race 2, Lawson fell to sixth during the 17 lap encounter, which was won by pole-sitter Teppei Natori.

Doohan came home 12th and Williams 14th, while 10th in the opening race was enough to see Marino Sato crowned champion.

Euroformula Open moves to Monza for the season finale on October 12-13.

Philip Hamprecht and Daniel Lu Wenlong both took wins in Singapore

Carrera Cup Asia

Philip Hamprecht stands on the brink of a maiden Porsche Carrera Cup Asia title after a win and third place in Singapore.

Hamprechet was third on Saturday afternoon behind teenager Daniel Lu Wenlong and Martin Ragginger, before leading from pole on Sunday.

Lu Wenlong’s victory was his first in the series, while Will Bamber failed to start the race after being excluded from qualifying, having set the fastest time.

A tight turnaround between qualifying and the race meant the New Zealander was unable to take the start

In Sunday’s race he started from last before charging to fifth at the flag and claiming fastest lap.

Ragginger’s title hopes took a hit when he slid out of the race in the closing stages with tyre trouble, and was classified a lap down in 20th by the chequered flag.

Second place went to Lu Wenlong, with Tanart Sathienthirakul third.

The final round takes place in Shanghai as part of the World Endurance Championship weekend on November 8-10.

The 360 Racing entry of James Winslow suffered a fire during practice

European Le Mans Series

United Autosports claimed a surprise European Le Mans Series win at Spa-Francorchamps courtesy of a late drive-through.

Tristan Gommendy was deemed to have breached Full Course Yellow procedures and so was forced to trundle down the lane, allowing Phil Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque through for the win.

Nicolas Lapierre and Antonin Borga were classified second at the flag for Cool Racing, with the Graff entry of Gommendy third.

Aussie James Allen was seventh overall for DragonSpeed, sharing an Oreca 07-Gibson LMP2 with Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley.

John Corbett and James Winslow, driving for 360 Racing, ended the race in 32nd and the final LMP3 runners, the team having recovered from a fire during opening practice.

The Luzich Racing Ferrari 488 GTE Evo was the leading LMGTE runner to the flag.

The European Le Mans Series carries on to Portimao for the final round of the year on October 25-27.

Nissan won its first Super GT race of 2019 at Sugo pic: Super GT Facebook

Super GT

Nissan claimed its maiden Super GT win of 2019 at Sugo in wet conditions.

Frederic Makowiecki and Kohei Hirate combined to win the race which began behind the Safety Car owing to the conditions.

Jenson Button and co-driver Naoki Yamamoto led the early stages though slipped back as the race continued, having been harried by Nick Cassidy in the opening laps.

Makowiecki made his move for the lead at Turn 1 on Lap 53 holding on to win from Tadasuke Makino and Narain Karthikeyan in a Honda.

The podium was completed by a second Nissan, driven by Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli.

Fourth home was Cassidy and Ryo Hirakawa, who head into the final race of the season seven points behind series leaders Kenta Yamashita and Kazuya Oshima.

The final championship race of the year will be held at Motegi on November 2-3, ahead of a non-championship joint event with DTM at Fuji later in the month.

Brad Binder

Moto2, Moto3

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder won the Aragon Moto2 grand prix as Alex Marquez extended his championship lead with a podium.

Binder led away from the front row, got as far as 2.2s clear of the rest, and had enough in reserve when eventual runner-up Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) closed in near the end of the 21-lapper.

Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) was embroiled in a battle for second with Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex) for some time before being passed by Navarro on Lap 19.

His advantage in the standings is now 38 points, with Navarro taking over second after Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP40 Kalex) crashed at the Reverse Corkscrew on Lap 1 and finished 22nd.

Remy Gardner was just outside the top 10 for the entire race and brought his ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team Kalex home in 13th.

Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team KTM) also won in lights-to-flag fashion in Moto3, slashing Lorenzo Dalla Porta’s championship lead to two points after the Leopard Racing rider was classified 11th on his Honda.

The next round is in Thailand on October 4-6.

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