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Aug 24, 2014 - 07:43 AM
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Goikhberg, Alder Lock Up Season Titles With Victories At VIR
Posted by: newsla on Aug 24, 2014 - 07:42 AM
Sports Cars
Goikhberg, Alder Lock Up Season Titles With Victories At VIR


Mikhail Goikhberg and Brian Alder sealed Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda season championships in style with victories in Round 11 Saturday at Virginia International Raceway.

 

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Goikhberg, from North Vancouver, Canada, clinched his first Lites 1 season title with his seventh victory of the season in the No. 10 JDC Motorsports entry. He held off pole sitter Andrew Novich by .214 of a second at the finish after a fierce final-lap charge by Novich in the No. 61 Comprent Motor Sports entry.

"We're the champions," Goikhberg said. "I don't care what happened in the race, I'm just as happy as I could be. It took longer than I thought, but now it's done. I'm so happy. There just aren't any words at this time to describe my emotions. I'm really, really happy."

Alder, from Marysville, Ohio, earned his second consecutive Lites 2 championship in the No. 22 BAR1 Motorsports entry.

Goikhberg earned the title in his third season in the IMSA Development Series with JDC Motorsports. Goikhberg finished a distant second to Tristan Nunez in the championship in 2012 and a close third behind Sean Rayhall and Ryan Booth in 2013.

"Life teaches you sometimes you just have to wait for good things to happen," Goikhberg said. "It's really gratifying to have done this over the three years with the same group of guys at JDC Motorsports."

Matt McMurry, from Phoenix, finished third in the No. 20 JDC Motorsports entry, 1.717 seconds behind his winning teammate. It was second consecutive podium finish for McMurry, 16, who was runner-up in Round 10 two weeks ago at Road America.

Robert Alon, from Encino, California, finished fourth in the No. 9 Performance Tech entry. Enzo Potolicchio, from Hollywood, Florida, rounded out the top five and was the first Masters (age 40 and over) finisher in the No. 4 8Star Motorsports √Član DP02 chassis powered by a Mazda engine.

Goikhberg passed Novich for the lead early in the 45-minute race during which the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda cars shared the 17-turn, 3.27-mile circuit with the Prototype Challenge class of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. But Novich hung tough, staying within a second of Goikhberg for the next 15 minutes.

Then Novich, from Novato, California, went off track due to a clutch problem. McMurry climbed to second, 15.223 seconds behind Goikhberg, after turning blistering laps to rally from 14th place after dropping through the field during a first-lap incident.

But then Joel Janco hit the barrier in Turn 5 due to a mechanical problem in his No. 125 Performance Tech Motorsports entry, causing a full-course yellow. Goikhberg's lead evaporated, but he was able to fight off McMurry on the restart with eight minutes remaining.

Novich clawed his way through the field and pulled to within a car length of Goikhberg on the final lap despite his clutch nearing failure. But Goikhberg held off Novich through the final turns for victory and the season title.

Masters

Potolicchio earned his first Lites 1 Masters victory of the season with a strong performance.

Michal Chlumecky, from Windsor, Ontario, avoided numerous incidents that exploded in front of him to earn his third runner-up Masters finish of the season despite running a limited schedule in the No. 31 Eurosport Racing entry.

Don Yount, from Dallas, earned his fifth Masters podium finish of the season in the No. 28 Yount Motorsports entry. Yount fought his way to the podium after he was shoved off track in a Turn 1 incident that knocked his steering out of alignment.

Lites 2

Alder earned his eighth Lites 2 victory of the season. He has finished first or second in Lites 2 in all 11 rounds this season.

Todd Slusher, from Las Vegas, finished second in Lites 2 in the No. 62 ONE Motorsports entry after battling back from a couple of off-course excursions due to contact. Slusher was turning the quickest times in Lites 2 over the closing laps, but he fell 6.025 seconds behind Alder at the finish.

John Salmon, from nearby Lynchburg, Virginia, finished third in the No. 46 V.I.P.E.R. entry in his Lites 2 season debut.

Round 12 of the season, a 45-minute race, is scheduled to start at 10:45 a.m. (ET) Sunday. For live updates on all the action, follow @IMSALive on Twitter.


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