USRRC: Moretti Finishes Career with Win at First Union Six Hours at The Glen
24 August 1998WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.: Italian Gianpiero Moretti, Belgium's Didier Theys and Mauro Baldi, of Monaco, won the United States Road Racing Championship First Union Six Hours of the Glen in thrilling fashion, topping England's James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger, of State College, Pa., and Elliott Forbes-Robinson, of Sherrils Ford, N.C., by 0.656-second at Watkins Glen International. The win will serve as Moretti's finale, as he retired in Victory Circle.
Driving the No. 30 MOKART/Yokohama Ferrari 333 SP, the trio came back from falling one lap behind the leader early in the race to take the lead from the No. 38 Champion/STP/Michelin Porsche 911 GT1 of Belgian Thierry Boutsen and Germany's Ralf Kelleners with one hour, eight minutes remaining. Theys drove the final stint and held off a furious charge by Weaver in the No. 16 Goodyear/Safety Glow/300 Below Zero Riley & Scott Ford by the closest of margins. The No. 30 Ferrari averaged 98.129 mph, covering 589.95 miles in 171 laps.
"In the beginning, we had some problems with the setup, but as the race went on the car was handling very well," said Baldi.
"At the end we really had some pressure for sure," said Theys. "The blue and white car was very big in my mirrors. The team did a great job to get the lap back. I want to dedicate this race to Gianpiero."
"It's nice to finish my career the winner the winner of Daytona (Rolex 24), the 12 Hours (Sebring) and the six hours (Watkins Glen) in the same season," said Moretti. "I couldn't ask for more than this."
"We always appreciate racing against Mauro, Didier and Gianpiero," said Rob Dyson, team owner of the No. 16 car. "When were out there, the racing is always close."
The No. 38 Porsche won the GT1 class in third overall, marking a the first win for the Champion team, and a break in the dominance of the Visteon/Elan Natural Waters Panoz GTR race team, which had won three-straight races.
"The Watkins Glen circuit really suited our car ^ it is really well balanced and has a lot of downforce to handle the high-speed corners," said Boutsen. "It was an interesting race, we were leading and I thought we could go for the full win, but the long yellow really helped the Can-Am cars with fuel."
The No. 5 Panoz entry of Brazilian Raul Boesel, Great Britian's Andy Wallace and Eric Bernard, of France, finished second in GT1, fourth overall and one lap down. Jim Matthews, of Warsaw, N.C., Barry Waddell, of Evansville, Ind., and Tom Kendall, of Santa Monica, Calif., finished fifth overall, third in Can-Am.
Angelo Cilli, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., Dale White, of Las Vegas, and Trip Goolsby, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., won the GT2 class in the No. 25 Westward Ho Casino Porsche 911 after the No. 99 Schumacher Racing Porsche 911 GT2 crashed out of the lead on lap 159. Driver John O'Steen, of Cincinnati, Ohio, sustained minor injuries, and was taken to Skyler Hospital for routine observation.
Terry Borcheller, of Phoenix, and Randy Pobst, of Ormond Beach, Fla., drove the No. 22 AJR/Aerofab Porsche 911 RSR to the GT3 class-win over teammates Darryl Havens, of Seattle, Cort Wagner, of Santa Monica, Calif., and Kelly Collins, of Corona Delmar, Calif., breaking the four-race win streak of the Prototype Technology Group BMW M3s.
"It's been a long time since anybody beat the BMWs," said Pobst. "The level of competition always makes the win that much sweeter and the BMW team is very strong. This is a great win for Darryl Havens' team, Alex Job Racing and Porsche."
Season Drivers', Teams' and Manufacturers' Championships were not decided because of the possibility of a final race being added at Laguna Seca, October 24-25.