Pirelli GT4 America Season Saturday in Rainy SprintX Race
Murillo Racing Secures Fifth Pirelli GT4 America SprintX Victory of the Year Saturday at Road America; Leads RENNtech Motorsports in Mercedes-AMG GT4 Top-Two Sweep
Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams Murillo Racing and RENNtech Motorsports shined in a rain-soaked Pirelli GT4 America SprintX race Saturday at Road America with the first 1 – 2 finish of the season for the Mercedes-AMG GT4. Matt Fassnacht and Christian Szymczak co-drove the No. 34 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 to victory in the 60-minute race, the team’s seventh win of the season in the last six Pirelli GT4 America event weekends. The No. 34 crossed the finish line 4.936 seconds ahead of the No. 89 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 that was co-driven to second by Patrick Byrne and Guy Cosmo.
With Byrne starting second overall and Fassnacht fourth on the Pirelli GT4 America grid, both Mercedes-AMG GT4 competitors avoided the various accidents and off-course incidents in the opening laps of the rainy race.
Byrne and Fassnacht ran second and third for most of their race-opening stints before each pitted at the race’s halfway point. Cosmo took over for Byrne one lap before Fassnacht pitted to hand off to Szymczak.
A well-executed pit stop by the Murillo Racing team returned Szymczak to the race in first place and just ahead of Cosmo. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 competitors battled for the lead before settling in for quick but cautious runs to the checkered flag on the wet 4.048-mile road course.
With the victory, Fassnacht and Szymczak took the lead of the Pirelli America GT4 East AM championship heading into today’s season finale.
Saturday’s win follows SprintX victories by Fassnacht and Szymczak in the No. 34 in May at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) and one race ago at Watkins Glen International on Labor Day Weekend.
Szymczak and Kenny Murillo in the No. 34 won two more SprintX victories in the race weekends preceding The Glen -- at Sonoma Raceway and Portland International Raceway.
The first two victories of the year for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 were Fassnacht’s sweep of the weekend’s single-driver Pirelli GT4 America Sprint races at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) in April.
In Saturday’s first 90-minute race of this weekend’s featured Blancpain GT World Challenge America doubleheader, George Kurtz and Colin Braun finished fourth in No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
An early puncture knocked the No. 63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of David Askew from contention Saturday, but the team is ready to rebound after co-driver Ryan Dalziel qualified third overall and on the Pro-Am pole for today’s race.
Sunday’s race schedule at Road America begins with the weekend’s final Pirelli GT4 America 60-minute race at 12:10 p.m. CDT, with live streaming available at www.gt4-america.com/watch-live.
The Blancpain GT World Challenge America final round is scheduled to go green at 2:15 p.m. CDT Sunday and can be seen in exclusive live coverage on the CBS Sports Network starting at 3 p.m. EDT.
Matt Fassnacht, Driver – No. 34 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “It’s a great day again. Christian’s driving was just epically outstanding. The Murillo Racing team did everything right. It takes everybody, from the tire guys to the setup to making strategy decisions on the fly, to put it all together. The last few races the team has done just such a great job. They put us in a position to drive our Mercedes-AMG GT4 well, and it is just a tribute to everybody. I have run a lot of rain races in highly stressful conditions, but I have to tell you this was the hardest. It was a big challenge, more than I thought, but I love racing in the rain, I love the challenge, the random things and all of the chaos!”
Christian Szymczak, Driver – No. 34 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “It’s just fantastic. Last year we were just kind of finding our feet and putting everything together. This season we have been hitting our marks and doing many things right. That’s been the key, and now the culmination of the hard work by everybody. Guy Cosmo drove a great race. He was quick where we weren’t quick, I was quick where he wasn’t, but it was pretty close there. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 is great everywhere. It’s a great all-around car and today it was fantastic in the wet. I haven’t had a lot of laps in this car in the rain but at times it was even better than in the dry, and it’s great in the dry.”
Patrick Byrne, Driver – No. 89 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4: “It’s the first time I have ever been in this Mercedes-AMG GT4. The boys at RENNtech really set us up with a great car. We finally made some changes we were trying to find, and the car was great in qualifying. I got pole in our class and Guy got pole overall. Fast forward to the race, we went out on slick tires but it just down-poured rain. It was a mess, but we restarted on rain tires, the car was still strong, and I handed it off to Guy who did some great passing and stayed up front.”
Guy Cosmo, Driver – No. 89 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4: “It’s a pleasure to work with RENNtech. I have know them since I moved to Florida 15 years ago. To bring Patrick into this environment, where we are working with great people and have a real competitive car in the Mercedes-AMG GT4 to get some results together, is just fantastic. We are really choosy on where bring our sponsors to race, but this decision has really panned out well for us.”