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Squadra Corse, TR3 Racing Come Home Winners at Austin

Squadra Corse, TR3 Racing Come Home Winners at Austin

07.03.2019: Picking up right where the program left off last year—victory lane—both Squadra Corse and TR3 Racing came home winners in the opening event of Blancpain GT World Challen

Picking up right where the program left off last year—victory lane—both Squadra Corse and TR3 Racing came home winners in the opening event of Blancpain GT World Challenge America competition this weekend.



Martin Fuentes and Caesar Bacarella scored a two-event sweep in the No. 7 Squadra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari 488 GT3, while TR3 Racing’s No. 31 Ferrari 488GT3 with drivers Jeff Segal and Wei Lu took a resounding win in the first race of the weekend.




Fuentes and Bacarella opened the defense of their GT Am title in the same manner they began last season, winning both races. The two drivers have now won 11 of the last 12 races in the series.



The second race was the toughest, with Fuentes boxed in during a chaotic opening lap that saw him lose 11 positions. But after the initial scare, Fuentes patiently worked his way forward for the next 15 laps to regain the lead. Partnered with Bacarella, they led the remainder of the race.



“The start of the race was chaotic; I had nowhere to go but the grass because everyone was spinning,” Fuentes said. “Then I was able to work my way back into first, and Caesar again did an incredible job and kept this baby in P-1.”



There were no close calls on Saturday. Bacarella started second and took the lead early in the event – and the No. 7 dominated the remainder of the race.



“I love Austin, and we love this track,” Fuentes. “We always come here to test. Caesar drove amazing. He drove aggressive and gave me the car in P1. I just kept it there.”



“We’re super-excited to come back here so strong, because we love this track,” Bacarella said.
Having made a breakthrough appearance at COTA last year, the TR3 Racing pair of Segal and Lu were eager to return to the Formula 1 grade facility.  Lu debuted at Circuit of The Americas last year, finishing third with Segal in the opener before winning the Sunday finale.


Once again, it was an eye-opening performance as Lu started second and took the class lead on the opening lap of Saturday’s Race 1 as he and Segal raced to victory.



“I had a really good car to drive, and the team did the best pit stop ever,” Lu said. “My coach (Segal) is trying make me a better driver. This is the best weekend I could ever hope for.”



“I can’t say enough about this TR3 Racing guys,” Segal said. “Everything came together pretty late, but we knew what we had, and it showed. The car was fantastic, but I have to say that the star of the day was Wei. Last year he raised some eyebrows, but he’s made an amazing transformation over the winter. Today, it was like we were in the pro race. I can’t ask for a better co-driver.”



Looking to double up on the weekend, Segal started on the pole and gained the lead late in his opening stint in the Sunday race. Lu needed only a few laps to get the car up front after the pit stop, and the team seemed headed to a weekend sweep when a late-race caution erased Lu’s four-second lead.



Unfortunately, Lu was hit in Turn 1 on the ensuing restart and was knocked off course and out of the race. That resulted in a ninth-place finish in the class.



The next action for the Blancpain GT America will be on April 26-28 at Virginia International Raceway.



- Matt Cleary - photos SRO

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/squadra-corse-tr3-racing-winners-austin---187435.html

07.03.2019 / MaP

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