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Jun 29, 2014 - 06:07 AM
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Goikhberg Sweeps Watkins Glen With Fifth Win Of Season
Posted by: newsla on Jun 29, 2014 - 06:06 AM
Sports Cars
Goikhberg Sweeps Watkins Glen With Fifth Win Of Season


Mikhail Goikhberg continued his march from the front of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda series, completing a weekend sweep of Rounds 5 and 6 with a victory Saturday at Watkins Glen International.

 

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Goikhberg, from North Vancouver, British Columbia, has won five of six rounds this season in the No. 10 JDC Motorsports √Član DP02 chassis powered by a Mazda engine and on Cooper Tires. He finished second in Round 3 on June 7 at Kansas Speedway and has 118 points this season, just two shy of perfection.

"I want to thank JDC and everyone who is involved in that program," Goikhberg said. "We are getting better every weekend, and I really like where this program is going. And thanks to Cooper Tires and Mazda for making this series possible. The tires were very consistent and manageable in this race."

Andrew Novich and Hayden Duerson finished second and third, respectively, today on the 11-turn, 3.4-mile circuit at scenic, historic Watkins Glen to each record their first career podium finishes in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Development Series.

Goikhberg won Round 5 under caution Friday. But he had to work harder for the victory Saturday morning under a second consecutive day of brilliant sunshine.

After starting from the pole, Goikhberg rocketed to a lead of 13.009 seconds over Craig Duerson just 15 minutes into the 45-minute race. But Goikhberg's cruise control ended shortly thereafter when the No. 31 Eurosport Racing entry of Michal Chlumecky spun into the gravel in the famous "Boot" section of the circuit, triggering a full-course yellow.

"We worked to a nice, comfortable lead there and just tried to conserve the tires," Goikhberg said. "When you are chasing someone, that (full-course yellow) is the greatest thing in the world. But when you are leading, you are not looking forward to being chased."

Craig Duerson's No. 27 Performance Tech Motorsports entry suffered a mechanical problem in Turn 3 during the caution period, forcing him out of the race. The withdrawal of Duerson - Hayden Duerson's father - lifted 16-year-old Matt McMurry to second and Novich to third.

But Novich judged the restart perfectly, zooming from third to first on the front straightaway and into Turn 1. Novich, from Novato, California, built his lead to .469 of a second over Goikhberg two laps after the restart in the No. 61 Comprent Motor Sports entry.


Round 6 Masters podium finishers (from left): John Falb, Lamont Harris, Gerry Kraut
Goikhberg struck back one lap later, passing Novich for the lead with eight minutes remaining in the race. Goikhberg then pulled away over the closing laps, taking the checkered flag 4.336 seconds ahead of Novich.

"There is just no holding off Mikhail," Novich said. "He's so much quicker through the corners. He didn't even out-motor us; it was pure driver skill. He's got a lot of experience, and that's what it takes to win here."

Hayden Duerson, from Gulfport, Mississippi, was 8.349 seconds behind the winner in the No. 39 Performance Tech Motorsports entry. He took third late in the race when McMurry spun.

Lamont Harris, from Palm Beach, Florida, finished fourth overall and was the leading Masters (age 40 and older) finisher in the No. 65 8Star Motorsports entry. John Falb, from Las Vegas, finished fifth overall and was the second Masters finisher in the No. 77 ONE Motorsports entry.

Gerry Kraut, from North Oaks, Minnesota, was sixth overall and the third Masters finisher in the No. 55 JDC Motorsports car.


Round 6 Lites 2 podium finishers (from left): Brian Alder, Jerome Mee, Ludovico Manfredi
Jerome Mee, from Bellaire, Texas, rebounded from a crash in Round 5 Friday to earn his first Lites 2 victory of the season in the No. 95 Alta Velocita Racing entry. Lites 2 championship leader Brian Alder, from Marysville, Ohio, finished second in the No. 22 BAR1 Motorsports car. Round 5 Lites 2 winner Ludovico Manfredi, from Key Biscayne, Florida, placed third today in L2 in the No. 30 ANSA Motorsports entry.

Rounds 7 and 8 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda will take place July 10-13 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, the only rounds of the series in Canada.

For live updates on all the action, follow @IMSALive on Twitter. For more information about Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, visit www.imsa.com, follow hashtag #CTPL @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.

VIEW: Round 6 Results | Points After Round 6

ROUND 6 POST-RACE QUOTES:

MIKHAIL GOIKHBERG (No. 10 JDC Motorsports, winner): "We worked to a nice, comfortable lead there and just tried to conserve the tires. When you are chasing someone, that (full-course caution) is the greatest thing in the world. But when you are leading, you are not looking forward to being chased. We made a mistake on the last restart, so that is something we need to work on. Overall, I want to thank JDC and everyone who is involved in that program. We are getting better every weekend, and I really like where this program is going. And thanks to Cooper Tires and Mazda for making this series possible. The tires were very consistent and manageable in this race."

ANDREW NOVICH (No. 61 Comprent Motor Sports, second): "We started sixth and had a Lap 1 shemozzle with some Masters drivers, so that was interesting. But the cars just started to pick themselves off, and then on the last restart I was lucky enough to go from third to first. I had a lead for one or two laps, but there is just no holding off Mikhail (Goikhberg). He's so much quicker through the corners. He didn't even out-motor us; it was pure driver skill. He's got a lot of experience, and that's what it takes to win here. I am really happy to be on the podium today after missing out yesterday. So I am super stoked to be up here. The Comprent guys gave me a great car."

HAYDEN DUERSON (No. 39 Performance Tech Motorsports, third): "Starting 12th, we really had our work cut out for us today. We thought we had to change engines last night, so going into today I was hoping to just survive the race and see what happened from there. As the race progressed, I just picked off one car at a time and really kept my head about me. Coming up to the restart I realized I was in fifth, and after my dad had a mechanical issue, I was able to capture fourth, then third at the start. And when I looked in the mirrors, I saw they were really far behind and Mikhail (Goikhberg) and Andrew (Novich) had gotten away. I decided it was best just to maintain my pace, finish the race and bring the car home for Performance Tech."

LAMONT HARRIS (No. 65 8Star Motorsports, first, Masters): "It was a great race and a really fun weekend. It took awhile to get going. I really like the longer races and wish all of the races could be longer. The biggest difference between yesterday and today for me was the time in the car. It takes a little bit longer for me to get into my groove, so the longer races play better into what I'm doing out there."

JOHN FALB (No. 77 ONE Motorsports, second, Masters): "The race was great. It was good to get a lot of laps in and get almost a full 45 minutes. That allowed me to crawl back up from 15th to fifth and second in Masters, so it was a great day. The longer race and more time help. I'm better in the long run, and all those days in the gym between races pay off."

GERRY KRAUT (No. 55 JDC Motorsports, third, Masters): "It was a clean race for most of the session, which was much better than yesterday. And for me, the restart was very important. I picked up about three positions on that restart and was able to hold on to them and passed some people after that to end up sixth, which I am very happy with after being 13th. My lap times in the race were better than my qualifying times, so I'm pleased with that. We changed the setup today. I had a really bad push yesterday, so I just couldn't carry the speed into the corners and I'd have to lift the exit. We changed the setup completely, and it made a huge difference."

JEROME MEE (No. 95 Alta Velocita Racing, first, Lites 2): "I am very excited. It was a long race. Great race. I got very lucky and got a jump on Brian (Alder) early. He had great pace in qualifying, so I was quite surprised by that. But my car got up to speed really quickly, and I was able to build a good lead for a while. Then the restart came, and Ludovico (Manfredi) did a great job catching me on the restart. I was able to rein him back in, and then he just had a slight mishap, I think, at (Turn) 7, and I cut inside him and got him and cruised it the rest of the way home. I have to thank Brad and my crew. We were here until 12:30 a.m. last night wrenching that car after the wreck, and I am just flat-out exhausted. Great race."

BRIAN ALDER (No. 22 BAR1 Motorsports, second, Lites 2): "Our car, the setup wasn't right on it. We were having a lot of oversteer in the high-speed stuff. So it was really a handful trying to hang onto it and not crash. Jerome (Mee) and Ludovico (Manfredi) had a great race, and they were battling it out up front, and I wish I could have been up there with them. But hats off to Jerome for his first win of the year."

Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda

The two classes of competition in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda series take drivers and teams down unique, exciting roads of prototype sports car racing. Nimble, high-tech, purpose-built Lites 1 machines pack in the power with a 230-horsepower, 2-liter Mazda engine designed to prepare aspiring professionals for prototype competition in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Equally capable and affordable Lites 2 machines offer world-class competition for semi-professional drivers. Both formulas take competition to the next level, producing thrilling, high-speed action at premier venues across North America.

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