SONOMA, Calif., (Aug. 25, 2013) — Team Cadillac driver Andy Pilgrim won today's running of the Pirelli World Challenge Cadillac Grand Prix of Sonoma. Teammate Johnny O'Connell was classified in 11th position. Pilgrim was able to get a strong standing start from his front-row grid position. He sped by teammate O'Connell who had a bad start.
Pilgrim was side by side with the Volvo of Randy Pobst into Turn Two, but was able to hold the lead. On lap seven, the only caution of the race flew. The Florida-based driver was able to control the restart to lead every lap of the race for his first victory of the season.
"At the start Randy and I went up the hill to Turn Two side by side," Pilgrim said. "At the brake zone I thought we were going to go through the turn together, and then he came down a little, and we touched, and he went around. It was a racing deal; I tried to miss him. I thought he would have given me a little more room. Then on the restart, Mike Skeen (No. 2 Corvette) was right on, and I knew the Audi guys were right there as well. After our troubles in practice, the Team Cadillac guys did a great job to put a good car under me for the race. We had a great day; it was a good win."
O'Connell started his No. 3 Cadillac CTS-V from the pole. However, when the lights went out to start the 50-minute race, he had trouble selecting first gear. That had him stopped in the middle of the track, while the GT and GTS field filed past. He was able to get the car going, but five turns later was involved in a crash that resulted in heavy rear damage. The team was able to get the car going for one more lap, gaining valuable championship points. O'Connell is now second in GT points with 1,335. James Sofronas (Audi) leads with 1,350. Pilgrim is third with 1,279 (points are provisional).
"It was a scary moment," O'Connell said. "When the lights go out and you can't select first gear, you are working to get it going, knowing that 30 cars are coming up on you. I was able to get it into gear and get going. The first four corners were chaos. I made a move on the inside of one of the GTS cars, and there was another one on the outside of him, and there was nothing I could do at that point. The Team Cadillac crew did a great job to get the car back out for one lap, which gained me three points toward the championship. We will now have to go to Houston on a mission."
Team Cadillac will travel to Houston, Texas, for the Pirelli World Challenge finale Oct. 4–6. The race from Sonoma will be televised on NBC Sports, Sunday, Sept. 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET. The race can be viewed at world-challengeTV.com on demand after the event.