Roman De Angelis marked himself out as an early championship contender as he took a pair of lights-to-flag victories in the opening round of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Challenge USA at Barber Motorsports Park.
The 18-year-old, racing for Kelly-Moss Road and Race, led every one of the 62 laps in the pair of 45-minute races having also taken pole for both encounters in Alabama.
In the first race, De Angelis got a clean getaway from the chasing pack behind and was untroubled as he eventually won by more than 17 seconds to claim the third victory of his GT3 Cup Challenge career having previously won at Barber in 2018.
Seemingly unsatisfied with his gap in the season opener, in the second encounter on Sunday afternoon he increased his margin of victory to 21.227sec.
Despite his comfortable victories, the Canadian said he had to keep his focused heightened to avoid a race-ending mistake.
“I think people underestimate how difficult it is when you have that big of a lead, or just to pull it,” De Angelis said. “It’s not easy to be that quick. Even with a really good car, you still have to hit all your marks, all your braking zones and just focus on what you have to do.
“But the hard thing is, when there’s no one around you, just keeping focused on hitting all your marks. I think we executed pretty well and it’s a good learning experience.”
Finishing a distant in both encounters was series rookie Riley Dickinson. In the first race, the Moorespeed driver got the better of Parker Thompson in a mid-race scrap for the runner-up spot, before showing Thompson a clean pair of heels in the second race to have a comfortable margin over the JDX driver who finished third in both tests.
With two wins under his belt, De Angelis is the obvious leader of the drivers’ standings on 70 points but with two second places, Dickinson is only six points behind with 14 more races still to go.
The Gold Cup class, for previous generation 911 Cup cars, proved to be more competitive. The opening race was secured by Sebastian Carazo for NGT Motorsport as he took advantage of polesitter Rob Ferriol’s multi-car collision at the first corner of the opening lap to take his maiden win in the IMSA-sanctioned championship.
He could only secure third in the second race, though, as Kurt Fazekas improved on his runner-up finish in Saturday’s race to get the better of Ferriol who again started on pole. Despite a last lap off, Ferriol managed to salvage second from the weekend.