Ferrari entered the second half of the 2021 GT World Challenge America powered by AWS season with its seventh consecutive Am class victory of the season at Road America, taking the triumph despite being involved in an accident in the closing laps of the race.
Conrad Grunewald and Jean-Claude Saada led all the way in the No. 61 AF Corse Cambridge Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 building its lead in the championship to 175 points with only six races remaining.
Grunewald turned in his best qualifying effort of the year, timing fifth fastest with a lap of 2:08.048-seconds, out-qualifying all of the challengers in the Pro-Am class.
Grunewald was sixth overall at the opening of the pit window. He chose to pit last with 40 minutes remaining while holding the overall lead.
“Luckily for us, the team has done a lot of testing during the long break since VIR, and it’s really helped Jean-Claude and myself to get the most out of this car and apply it here this weekend,” Grunewald said after the pit stop. “The car was doing great and the team was great”.
Saada ran conservative throughout his stint, maintaining a five-lap lead over the Am class competition. With less than 10 minutes remaining, the competitor who was running second-place overall came up to lap Saada in the kink with a risky side-by-side move. The two cars touched, moving Saada off the track to the left. Saada managed to avoid the barrier, but the Ferrari came back across the track and hit the wall with the left side, badly damaging both the front and rear suspension.
The incident forced the race to end under caution, with AF Corse managing to record enough circuits to win by one lap.
“It’s a hairy place to pass an Am driver,” Grunewald said. “It’s unfortunate. It’s a long, hot race, and I don’t think Jean-Claude realized he was so close. It’s a real bummer. Now we hope the team can get the car together for tomorrow”.
Sunday’s final race is set to start at 2:15 p.m. CT. Saada qualified second in the Am class with a lap of 2:12.067-seconds and will start 15th overall.