PWCgts3

St. Petersburg, FL, March 27, 2015 -- Dean Martin, of Westland, MI, won the Round 3 GTS race on the streets of St. Petersburg, at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Kurt Rezzetano, of Phoenixville, PA finished second and Spencer Pumpelly, of Atlanta, GA, finished third.

Starting from pole, Martin, in the No. 50 Rehagen Racing/Picture Cars East Ford Mustang Boss 302 got a great start rocketing off the line when the lights went out to lead into the first turn. Behind Martin, Rezzetano, in the No. 37 Calvert Dynamics/Phoenix Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302 also had a great start moving up from sixth on the grid to second through turn 1 and was awarded the Cadillac Move of the Race for the feat. Pumpelly, in the No. 87 DWW Motorsports/ iTrackzone.com Ford Mustang Boss 302, started second and followed in behind Rezzetano for third. Kia Racing teammates Mark Wilkins, of Toronto, ON in the No. 38 Kinetic Motorsports/Kia Racing PutOnTheBrakes.Org Kia Optima and Ben Clucas, of Northampton, England in the No. 36 Kinetic Motorsports / Kia Racing DonorsChoose.Org Kia Optima who had started third and fifth respectively on the grid took up the battle after the first turn in fourth and fifth.

Coming into the St. Petersburg weekend, GTS points leader Kris Wilson, of Monument, CO, in the No. 07 Orion/Royal Purple/LaSalle Solutions/PassTime USA TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4 started 19th on the grid after a mechanical issue prior to Thursday's qualifying session did not allow him to post a time. On the start, Wilson gained seven positions earning him the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award.

Through laps 1 to 9, Martin, Rezzetano, Pumpelly, Wilkins and Clucas held position with Andrew Aquilante, of Chester Springs, PA, in the No. 32 Calvert Dynamics/Phoenix Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302 closing up the gap on the top five after falling off the leaders from the standing start. Aquilante had started fourth on the grid.

By lap 10, Aquilante passed Clucas for fifth and set his sights on Wilkins. By lap 19, Aquilante moved pass Wilkins out braking the driver of the No. 38 car through turn 1. On lap 24 though, Aquilante's Boss 302 encountered a mechanical issue and he retired from the race.

Up front, Martin put a gap of 1.5 seconds on Rezzetano, but by lap 26 the driver of the No. 37 Boss 302 had closed to within under a second and by lap 30 it was down to under half a second. Pumpelly held firm in third with teammates Wilkins and Clucas having a spirited battle for fourth. Joining that battle was Jack Baldwin, of Marietta, GA, in the No. 73 RESET-MD Porsche Cayman S , who had started ninth, followed closely by Wilson who had passed over half the field to get back into contention. Wilson would claim the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award gaining 14 positions on the day.

On lap 31, Baldwin moved up to fourth with deft moves on both Wilkins and Clucas. Wilson followed Baldwin to climb into fifth. The pass on Clucas earned Baldwin the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award.

By lap 33, it was Martin, who had now gained back a second lead on Rezzetano, Pumpelly in third, Baldwin fourth, and Wilson fifth. As the checkered flew, Martin claimed his fifth career Pirelli World Challenge win with all his series victories coming on street courses. With a fastest lap of the race at 1:19.841, Martin will start on pole for Saturday's Round 4 race.

"It's always nice when you can qualify on pole position and then lead flag-to-flag with the fastest lap," said Martin. "The street courses are such that when you are up front it's tough to pass so you just want to stay there. I did have a moment where I bounced it off the wall in Turn 3 but other than that it was good. The Mustang is great on the street courses. My style works on street courses, and we talk about it, I have a low self preservation factor. You have to ignore the fact that the walls are there and don't get intimidated. Because if something happens on the street course with the walls, you are a pancake. You just have to have faith in the car. With the Mustang everytime I go to the brake or throttle I know its going to be there."

"Thank you to the crew for giving me a car that was really pretty good today," said Rezzetano. "We did a decent start and I was surprised because I thought I got some wheel spin but then I looked over and saw I was in front of Spencer. I worked hard to get heat in the tires on the warm up lap and then went back to my drag racing days to focus on the standing start. The Mustang is a great car for the standing starts. Once we all got going I could see that Dean was driving a smart race and gauging me and my pace. When I saw him brush the wall in Turn 3, I thought I might have a chance. But then we got into traffic and it got pretty interesting."

"Thank you to everyone on the team for being here. It was a lot of fun today for me," said Pumpelly. "I watch every PWC race and follow timing and scoring when I'm at home and its great to be here now to be apart of it. The series as you can see is really going somewhere. Driving the Mustang was a ton of fun and the throttle response is great. Coming from endurance racing to this series is a huge difference. For me a big difference is the focus on setting the car up for me only. This is something I will continue to work on because in the endurance world we as a team have to work on two drivers in one car."

Results are provisional until posted final. With the win, Martin takes over the points lead from Wilson who now sits in second.

GTS Round 4 is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, March 28th. Watch live streaming of the race at world-challengetv.com and www.torque.tv. GTS Round 3 airs on CBS Sports Network Sunday, April 5 starting at 5 p.m. eastern.

 

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