The Touring Car A and Touring Car B classes produced thrilling battles at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course‘s round of the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge Championships.
Racing alongside the lead Touring Car (race reports here) category, TCA and TCB rounded out the 37-strong field at the Lexington, Ohio circuit.
From the line, Jason Wolfe established a strong lead in TCA over Toby Grahovec and Patrick Seguin. Meanwhile, the TCB field was headed by Glenn Nixon with P.J. Groenke and points leader Johan Schwartz behind.
A couple of laps into the race, Schwartz had made his way up to the TCB lead moving Nixon into second position ahead of Tom O’Gorman. The top TCA positions remained stable.
Wolfe held onto his lead for the entire race and took the chequered flag by a whole lap over Grahovec and Seguin. Schwartz took his first victory of the weekend in TCB followed by Nixon and Kevin Boehm.
“I took some stress off by qualifying on the pole and I was able to get a good start too,” said Wolfe. “I am usually an instructor here at Mid-Ohio but I was off for this week’s classes. I just concentrated on this weekend’s races. I really needed the win here or I would never hear the end of it from the other instructors.”
In a repeat of the morning’s TCA action, Wolfe held onto his lead at the start of Friday afternoon’s race ahead of Grahovec and Seguin. Schwartz led Nixon and Groenke in TCB.
A few laps into the race, third positions in both classes had changed, as Steve Kohli and Nick Lougee made their way up the TCA and TCB fields respectively.
At the race’s mid-point, Wolfe was under pressure from Seguin for TCA lead but the Kia driver defended well into the first corner. By this point, Grahovec had worked his way back up to third.
By the end of the race Wolfe won over Seguin and Grahovec with a 3.3 second lead. Behind TCB winner Johan Schwartz were Nixon and O’Gorman, who retook the final podium position from Lougee.
“The Chevy Sonic has had some challenges throughout season with various weight adjustments,” commented Schwartz. “We were fortunate in the first race today with Glenn Nixon having a little bit of a handling problem. I was lucky to have some clean track too as second through fourth were really battling for positon today.
“I just had to deal with the faster cars today. No contact today and it was a lot of fun. I probably won’t take chances if we are in the point lead with a large margin. I think it is our season to lose right now.”
Grahovec led Wolfe through turn one at the start of Saturday’s round, whilst Schwartz was once again out front in TCB, followed by O’Gorman.
Following a full course yellow mid-race, both Grahovec and Schwartz held on to their respective leads. Rounds 10 and 11 winner Wolfe suffered a mechanical issue and retired from second position, allowing Seguin to slot in behind the TCA leader, and ahead of Tony Rivera.
Lap 18 saw a battle between O’Gorman and Nixon for TCB second position. Although the Canadian temporarily made the move, it was O’Gorman who eventually came out on top, before he ran into the gravel trap losing vital positions. Jay Salinsky moved up to third as a result of this.
A flag-to-flag victory for Grahovec gave the BMW driver his first in the series. He finished in front of Seguin and Rivera. Meanwhile, Johan Schwartz completed a clean sweep of TCB wins followed by Nixon and Salinsky.
“I’m so happy to win here at Mid-Ohio for the first time in Pirelli World Challenge,” said Grahovec. “Ten years ago I won first my first national championship here driving the same BMW Z4 for Classic BMW. It feels awesome to be on the podium for all three races. I can’t thank the guys from Classic BMW enough.”
Wolfe now leads the TCA championship with 30 points on Seguin. Schwartz has increased his TCB dominance to 125 points over Nixon.