Dinan dominance at Road America

Monday, August 31, 2020

Sundays third and final day of the fourth round and third triple header weekend of the GT4 America Series at Road America proved itself to be another display of driver domination from Flying Lizards Gentleman driver Michael Dinan over the events three races in both Sprint and Sprint X.

Having already secured three class podium finishes out the four races so far, Sunday would see Dinan extend his 2020 trophy haul with another two class wins over the day as Dinan literally raced with the class of driver above his own all weekend. Indeed, Road America proved itself to be another fine display from all the Aston Martin Racing teams over both series of racing as Rearden Racing, Bsport Racing and Rennsport One all enjoyed multiple visits to the socially distanced podium.

Road American even became the first event since the opening round of the Series at the Circuit of The Americas to enjoy the company of race fans over the weekend although not many probably enjoyed the torrential rain of Friday. Their patience was ultimately rewarded with clear skies and sunshine for the remainder of the race programme so hopefully all came away with smiles on their faces.

With Sprint X being the first race of Sunday, Dinan would again be the front AMR car on the grid starting from P4 on the grid with the #15 BSport AMR of Bryan Putt in P10 and the #33 Rennsport One of Matt Dalton in P17. This race also saw the return of the Rearden Racing #91 car of Jeff Burton and Vesko Kosarov after engine issues early on Friday saw that car not compete in either of the two opening races.

Despite an initial clean start the race soon came under the control of the Safety Car as car cars tangled  into the concrete wall with another car having its bonnet lift and obscure its windscreen. Fortunately that was just a quick FCY and soon the remaining twenty cars were on their way.

Having missed all racing since Race 1 of Sprint and his accident, Burton was the one making quick progress through the field as having started from last on the grid he was soon snapping at the heals of Putt and Dalton in P10 whilst Dinan was way out front in the Pro-Am class (P3 overall) and chasing after the Silver Cup race leader and the Pro-Am Porsche ahead.

With all four AMR cars electing to pit for their respective Pro drivers as soon as the pit window would allow, as Kozarov (#91), Gallagher (#33) and Koch (#15) exited pit lane almost line astern and that would lead up to a great battle between them to the flag.

Buoyed by there earlier two podium finishes, AMR Academy Driver Kenton Koch managed to pass both the Rearden and Rennsport One car for position and after one more overtake found himself upon what would be the final step of the Pro-Am podium early on into his 30 minute stint.

With little over ten minutes remaining, Dinan passed the #47 Nolan Porsche to take both P2 overall and the lead in Pro-Am as both Gallagher and Kozarov continued battle for P8 overall. By the chequered flag, Dinan and Foley continued to secure P2 overall and P1 in class with the #15 BSPort holding on to their third podium in P5 overall and another P3 finish in class.

The efforts of Rearden Racing to sort the engine issue of the #91 out was rewarded with the cars P6 finish in class whilst the red, white and black Rennsport car finished just ahead in P5.

The final race of the GT4 America programme was the third Sprint race - another event so far dominated by the #210 Flying Lizard Vantage with Dinan having secured two wins out of two so far.

With fastest laps per class again deciding the starting order for the final race it came as no surprise that the #210 car would again start as the lead Aston from P4 overall and P1 in the Am Class. Paul Terry's #59 Rearden car would be close behind in P5/P2 whilst his team mate Jeff Burton would also return to for this final race of the day aboard his #91 car. The #191 that he usually races in this class was obviously too badly damaged to repair at the circuit following his Race 1 accident but at least it was good to have him back on the grid.

As with all the races so far, Dinan again made his move right from the start temporally stepping up to P3 overall before leaving the door open for that car to repass him going through the opening sequence of corners and whilst Terry dropped two early places, his team mate Burton picked up tow early places as he again had to start from the rear of the grid.

With three Pro cars ahead, Dinan soon realised that he didn't need to pass any of the cars infront as long as he could keep up with them and they were faster than the chasing Am pack and soon that gap elongated itself to nearly ten seconds.

In their efforts to close that gap, both Terry and Burton started to make mistakes and errors of judgement as first Burton went wide and ragged through Turn 6 and Terry locked up heavily a few corners later.

With nobody able to close down the gaps to the cars ahead, Dinan would go onto secure another class win with his P4 overall finish as Terry would collect another podium finish for his weekend in P6 overall - P3 in class with team mate not too far behind in P7 overall - P4 in class. Hopefully that went to brighten up and otherwise expensive weekend for the lumber merchant!!

As the Series moves back to CoTA for the penultimate event of the season in little over three weeks time, the results from Road America still leave both Sprint and Sprint X as achievable targets for others should Dinan's excellent roll of race results come to a sudden end. Terry remains Dinan's nearest threat in Sprint bing just 40 points behind whilst in Sprint X Dinan/Foley remain 22 points behind Matt Travis and Jason Hart in Pro-Am.

So there is still all to play for at both CoTA and the season finale at Indianapolis in early October.

Photo credits - GT4 America / Flying Lizards / CSJ Motorsport

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