Another winning performance by Ivan Bellarosa at Spa-Francorchamps helped the Italian maintain his lead in the Sunoco Rolex 24 at Daytona Challenge.
After a dominant showing in the SpeedSeries openers at Paul Ricard the Avelon driver scored pole position for both races – and 20 points – by a considerable margin. Despite being passed for the lead by Darren Burke – starting the weekend second in the Sunoco Challenge after a strong Paul Ricard showing – Bellarosa retook the lead easing away to a third win of the season ahead of car of Julien Schnell and Fred Makowiecki and Jean Rihon and Nick Padmore.
Despite starting on pole Bellarosa's quest to keep up his perfect record came under attack from the Belgian weather.
It was Julien Schnell who coped best with the conditions as Bellarosa dropped to fourth through the opening laps. Schnell's lead only grew in the second half of the race with World Endurance Championship GT driver Makowiecki at wheel. The Frenchman – who also drove for Hexis in the GT3 and GT1 championships was some five seconds faster than any of his rivals as he eased to victory over the combination of Federico Vecchi and Ronnie Valori. Belarossa was a distant fifth across the line as he dropped his first points, both in the SpeedSeries and in the Sunoco Challenge.
In the Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship – the only other series with drivers competing for the prize of a Daytona Prototype drive at the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona – Javier Morcillo, Paul White and Manuel Cintrano notched up their second win of the championship.
The Anglo-Spanish team overcame a pitlane penalty early in the three hour race at Snetterton to come back through the field in a race that had five safety car interruptions.
The end of the race was a battle between the Motionsport Ferrari 458 of Simon Phillips and Pete Storey in the lead while Morcillo chased them down. With the Spaniard by far the faster in his Class One Mosler the lead came dwon at a rate that would put the cars together on the final lap.
However, a technical problem with the Ferrari, giving a false reading, bringing Storey into the pits for apparently urgent refulling.
The pitstop and the continuing problem dropped Phillips and Storey – who took the Sunoco Driver of the Day honour – to fourth place, though they still won Class Two.
The next challenge for the BEC field is the next points scoring event for the Sunoco Daytona Challenge, with a two hour race on the tight Brands Hatch Indy circuit on June 2.