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Jul 14, 2014 - 06:27 AM
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Ruscitti Sweeps Weekend With Perfect Drive In Rain
Posted by: newsla on Jul 14, 2014 - 06:23 AM
Sports Cars
Ruscitti Sweeps Weekend With Perfect Drive In Rain


Rain or shine, no one could touch Remo Ruscitti in Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

 

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Ruscitti, from Burnaby, British Columbia, completed his two-day reign over the IMSA Development Series by winning Round 8 of the season Sunday, July 13 in wet conditions in the No. 4 8Star Motorsports entry. He beat series leader Mikhail Goikhberg to the checkered flag by 16.749 seconds.

Young star Ruscitti, 20, also drove to victory in Round 7 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda and in the ST class in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge under sunny skies Saturday at CTMP. These were his first two starts in Prototype Lites.

"It's unbelievable to get two wins in my first weekend in the Lites car," Ruscitti said. "It's an awesome feeling. During the middle of the race, it actually started to dry, and then it started to get really wet. It was just car control. Keeping the car on the track is probably what won it at the end of the day.

"Definitely a perfect weekend. I wouldn't have thought it coming into the weekend. I think like they said yesterday, I should go buy a lottery ticket."

Goikhberg, from North Vancouver, British Columbia, returned to the podium after a first-lap crash eliminated his No. 10 JDC Motorsports entry from Round 7 Saturday. He leads the championship, 136-83, over Robert Alon with six rounds remaining.

Series rookie John Falb, from Las Vegas, placed third after starting 13th to earn his first career podium finish. He also was the leading Masters (age 40 and older) finisher in the No. 77 ONE Motorsports √Član DP02 chassis.

Madison Snow, from Lehi, Utah, finished a career-best fourth in the No. 29 Extreme Speed Motorsports entry, while Ruscitti's teammate Christian Potolicchio rounded out the top five in the No. 2 8Star Motorsports entry.

Ruscitti started sixth but wasted little time powering to the front in steady rain and a stiff wind in the open-cockpit cars. He pulled up beside pole sitter Goikhberg in Turn 10 entering the front straightaway near the end of the second lap, completing the decisive pass just before the start-finish line. Ruscitti never trailed thereafter.

The field bunched during a full-course caution with about 29 minutes remaining in the 45-minute race due to the stopped Lites 2 car of Jerome Mee, and Ruscitti lost his 9.788-second lead. But Ruscitti never was threatened on the restart, building a 4.728-second lead five minutes after the field returned to racing.

While Ruscitti pulled away, Falb's charge through the field created drama in the closing laps.

Falb passed Potolicchio for third with five minutes remaining. Falb pulled to within six-tenths of Goikhberg at the white flag while Goikhberg was trying to clear the lapped car of Lites 2 leader Brian Alder.

Goikhberg and Falb both passed Alder, and Goikhberg held his line and his cool over the final two turns to beat Falb to the finish by .367 of a second. Still, Falb took the lead in the Masters Championship, 114-106 over Craig Duerson, with his victory in the class in the race.

Michal Chlumecky, from nearby Windsor, Ontario, was the second-finishing Masters driver in the No. 31 Eurosport Racing entry for the second time this weekend. Falb's teammate Lee Alexander finished third in Masters in the No. 48 ONE Motorsports car in just his second career start in the series.

Alder, from Marysville, Ohio, completed a weekend sweep in Lites 2 in the No. 22 BAR1 Motorsports car. Todd Slusher finished third in the No. 62 ONE Motorsports car, followed by Mee in the No. 95 Alta Velocita Racing entry.

Rounds 9 and 10 of the season are scheduled for Aug. 9-10 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. For live updates on all the action, follow @IMSALive on Twitter.

ROUND 8 POST-RACE QUOTES:

REMO RUSCITTI (No. 4 8StarMotorsports, winner): "Again I was starting sixth. To win again without anybody crashing out like yesterday, I had to work my way through the field at the beginning. It's unbelievable to get two wins in my first weekend in the Lites car. It's an awesome feeling. During the middle of the race, it actually started to dry, and then it started to get really wet. It was just car control. Keeping the car on the track is probably what won it at the end of the day. Definitely a perfect weekend. I wouldn't have thought it coming into the weekend. I think like they said yesterday, I should go buy a lottery ticket."

MIKHAIL GOIKHBERG (No. 10 JDC Motorsports, second): "I want to thank the crew that stayed up all night fixing the car from yesterday. We were lucky we were able to even start the race. Given the big blow to our championship points yesterday, the only thing on my mind was to finish and collect points. I want to congratulate Remo (Ruscitti) on his win. He did a great job coming into the series and winning both races under different conditions. I'm happy with the end results and how we're leaving Mosport."

JOHN FALB (No. 77 ONE Motorsports, third; first, Masters): "We had a very wet race, and we seemed to set up the car very well. This was my first weekend at this track. It's an intense track, so to be able to come away with two podiums, I'm very happy with that."

MICHAL CHLUMECKY (No. 31 Eurosport Racing, second, Masters): "Wow, it was an interesting start, and I obviously spent some time getting acclimated to the track and trying to find some dry areas where I could find some grip. Through (Turn) 5B, I got overzealous on the gas and got it around. That cost me about a lap or so, but I was able to get the car back on the track and compete. Unfortunately, I think we had an electrical issue, and we were running three cylinders from that point on. But all in all, it was a great race. It was fun, but it was challenging finding good speed. But definitely exciting for me."

LEE ALEXANDER (No. 48 ONE Motorsports, third, Masters): "Well, it was very wet. I'm honestly just happy to have gotten through this weekend. It was the first time in my car, first time at this track; it was a lot to take in. And then to throw the rain in there, too. It was exciting, for sure, but it was fun. I want to thank ONE Motorsports for really giving me a good car."

BRIAN ALDER (No. 22 BAR1 Motorsports, winner, Lites 2): "It was a good race. The crew came in this morning and put a full wet setup on the car, and it worked to our advantage. We just stayed out of trouble and ran consistent laps, and luckily we were able to open up a gap in the beginning of the race and were able to keep that through the end of the race. I have to thank Top 1 Oil and the crew guys at BAR1 Motorsports for putting a great car together."

TODD SLUSHER (No. 62 ONE Motorsports, second, Lites 2): "Obviously, it was very, very wet and very challenging for me. I had a lack of vision with my visor and all the spray from the cars ahead. So it was all I could do to see the track, let alone stay on. I had a pretty good spin where I spun it around track but kept it on track, so I was pretty happy about that. And then I finished the race, which was spectacular."

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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