Michael Cooper won the second Pirelli World Challenge GTS race at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, completing a strong weekend for the Chevrolet Camaro, following Andy Lee‘s Saturday victory.
Lee took the lead from the green, with Cooper and Jack Baldwin closely following him. Cooper managed to pass the leader at the turn 11 hairpin at the end of lap 1, whilst Baldwin was given a drive-through penalty for a starting procedure infraction.
A full course yellow was called on the second lap when Kurt Rezzetano and Ben Clucas made contact, with both cars needing to be removed from the gravel near turn 6.
The race restarted on lap 5, and Cooper launched well to leave Lee and Kris Wilson behind him. A few laps later, the race one winner closed the gap to the leader, but he was forced to retire soon after when he had a mechanical issue.
This left Wilson, Andrew Aquilante and Mark Wilkins trailing Cooper. Meanwhile, Jack Baldwin had recovered from his drive-through penalty and was storming through the field.
With the race two-thirds over, Cooper’s lead was 7.5 seconds over Wilson, whilst Baldwin passed 15-year-old for fourth at turn 7a/7b.
At the finish, Cooper took his fourth GTS win of the season, 5.5 seconds clear of Wilson. Andrew Aquilante completed the podium, ahead of Baldwin and Stacy.
“We made some changes over night, and that really helped with the first lap, because it looked like Andy (Lee) was struggling really badly, so once we got down to the end of the lap I knew somewhere I could get him,” said Cooper. “I more or less took a chance and stuffed it down on the inside because I knew from yesterday that it was going to be hard to pass him after the first two laps once everyone got settled in.
“So I really wanted to make that move early and got it done. Then the caution came out and the restart was a little iffy, I was wondering what was going to happen. Andy put some pressure on me for the first few laps, then I looked up at my mirror coming down one of the straights and he was completely gone. From there it was smooth sailing because these guys (Wilson and Aquilante) were battling.”