Relatively speaking, the fourth round of the America Sprint Series followed quite a quick turnaround following events in Great Britain. Silverstone Circuit did little to unsettle the formbook though; Igor de Oliveira Rodrigues picked up a third pole position and win to continue his dominance of the competition.
Back on North American soil for the Assetto Corsa Competizione drivers, the Brazilian was looking very likely to sew up the championship around the challenging Watkins Glen.
His one concern was the potential threat of rain but come race day conditions were bone dry. This left the rest of the field turning to hopes and faith – practice hardly did much to suggest a miracle was on the way.
Indeed, Rodrigues found almost a full three-tenths to place between himself and Jyeed Hutchinson who joined the points leader on the front row. Then came Renan Negrini who bagged a third place in England behind Fidel Moreira. As the man now closest to Rodirgues, he would have been incredibly frustrated with a rotten lap only good enough for eighteenth.
Cody Sherratt and the Silver class in general looked strong. The South American lined up fourth ahead of Skyler Loverink in the PRO category. Leandro Werle led a contingent of Sherratt’s direct rivals locking out the top ten.
The Glen offers a high-speed, dangerous opening sector through the tight first turn and up through the Inner Loop. To the pleasant surprise of most, only a couple of drivers found issues the first time around. Leandro Werle had made up a place on Loverink, his brother Lucas now right behind the PRO runner.
This would not be for long, the American falling behind the second of the Arnage cars within minutes. Mérick Lévêque was next in the queue although his eventual overtake would take far longer to complete.
Once Loverink was in the rear-view mirror, the hunt for the Werles was on. With the pitstop window open for business, one target would be dealt with rather easily. Sadly for Lucas, his day came to an end by the devastating power of disconnection. Meanwhile, class leader Sherratt had taken advantage of the strategy options; passing Negrini for third overall.
Simmering up front this entire time was the chess match between Rodrigues and Hutchinson. From start to finish, the Lamborghini driver had been shadowing his Williams target like a hawk. Yet, at no point did it look like the move was actually going to arrive. Much like his performance back at the Circuit of the Americas, Rodrigues handled the pressure masterfully.
He would go on to claim that fourth victory and, with it, the PRO class championship title! History was in the making too – this was the first time in class across all Sprint Series regions that four-in-a-row had been achieved. Now all that was left to do was to complete the perfect season at Indianapolis.
“I’m really happy, I did my personal best in the qualifying so I was confident [going] into the race,” said Rodrigues.
“Hutchinson was really pushing me, but everything went great.”
GTWCEA 2023 Round 4, Pro classification
- Igor de Oliveira Rodrigues – 1st – 1’01:25.810
- Jyeed Hutchinson – 2nd +1.647
- Renan Negrini – 4th +22.205
- Vinny Oliveira – 8th +37.079
- Skyler Loverink – 9th +37.834
GTWCEA 2023 Round 4, Silver classification
- Cody Sherratt – 3rd – 1’01:39.619
- Leandro Werle – 5th +11.522
- Mérick Lévêque – 6th +14.993
- Estefano Barrera – 7th +16.105
- Marc-Antoine Landry – 12th +31.201