Montreal’s Jesse Lazare Sweeps Road America to Regain Championship Lead

From IMSA.com :

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 9, 2015) – Jesse Lazare led from flag to flag to win Round 10 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama on Sunday, sweeping both rounds of action at Road America and reclaiming the championship points lead.

Lazare, from Montreal, Canada, produced a dominating run in the No. 21 Kelly-Moss Motorsports Porsche for a victory by .691 of a second over Angel Benitez Jr. in the second race of the weekend for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned Single-Make Series. Lazare won both races this weekend from pole.

“I’m excited for both wins this weekend,” Lazare said. “He (Angel Benitez Jr.) tried everything, but that just made me go faster. The team put together a great car. They have worked so hard and I knew that I had the car to beat.”

The two victories helped Lazare retake the lead, 154-151, over Elliott Skeer in the Platinum Cup standings after nine of 16 rounds this season. The series will have three races at the end of August at VIRginia International Raceway, setting the stage for a big points weekend.

“Even with the lead I’m going into VIR with, the mindset is that I’m far behind in points,” Lazare said. “We have to keep pushing and come back even stronger.”

Benitez’s second-place finish in the No. 05 JDX Racing entry is his fourth in a row and sixth podium finish in as many starts. The finish moves Benitez, from Miami, to fourth place in Platinum Cup standings, only four points behind third-place Kasey Kuhlman.

Series rookies, Lucas Catania, from Cazenovia, New York, earned his first career series podium, finishing third in the No. 26 NGT Motorsport Porsche. He was locked in a tight battle for the final podium position with Skeer most of the second half of the race. Skeer finished fourth in the No. 14 Wright Motorsports entry after taking third place in Round 9.

Andrew Longe, from Naples, Florida, rounded out the top five in the No. 47 Fall-Line Motorsports entry.

Kuhlman, from Cincinnati, Ohio was the top Platinum Masters finisher, taking the checkered flag in sixth place overall in the No. 15 Wright Motorsports entry.

Joe Catania, father of Lucas, won the Gold Cup and Gold Masters classes in the No. 24 NGT Motorsport entry.

Lazare started Round 10 from pole and slowly built a lead over Benitez and the rest of the field. With just over 33 minutes left a caution was triggered by the No. 52 Porsche of Kurt Fazekas getting stuck in the gravel of Turn 5.

After the restart Lazare continued to build a lead at the front of the pack with as much as a 2.083-second gap with 11 minutes to go. Benitez would start to close the gap over the last 10 minutes, but Lazare would hang on for his fourth win of the season.

Platinum Masters

Kuhlman dominated the Platinum Masters class from start to finish for the second straight day. He finished 27.565 seconds ahead of second place finisher Charlie Putman.

“We had a great car today,” Kuhlman said. “I felt really fast and I felt great. I just took it too deep into Turn 5 one time and had a big lock-up and flat spotted my tires. They were ‘flat spots of the century’ and after that, I had to modify braking and everything so much it was just defend at that point.”

The win was the sixth of the season for Kuhlman. He has complete control of the Platinum Masters class standings. He has a 50-point lead – 174-124 – over second- place Jay Patel.

Putman’s second place finish in the No. 40 Atlanta Motorsports Group was his second Platinum Masters podium finish of the season.

John Goetz, from Weston, Connecticut, also picked up his second podium finish of the season, taking third place in the No. 18 Wright Motorsports entry.

Gold Cup/Gold Masters

Joe Catania enjoyed the podium with his son, Lucas, after winning his first Gold and Gold Cup race. Catania was also the Yokohama Hard Charger Award winner finishing 13th overall after starting 18th.

“It’s a priceless memory to be up here with my son,” Catania said. “It’s beyond excitement for me. Lucas has worked so hard and we work together so much and to be able to not disappoint my son and be on the podium with him is such an opportunity.”

The first-place finish moves Catania to second place in Gold Cup points standings and third in Gold Masters, only two points – 120-118 – behind NGT Motorsport teammate, Mark Llano.

Gold Cup and Gold Masters leader Jeff Mosing, from Austin, Texas, finished second in both classes. Mosing started from pole and built a lead over his competitors but two separate spins put him in second place.

David Ducote rounded out the podium finishing third in the No. 6 Kelly-Moss Motorsports entry.

Up Next

Rounds 11 and 12 and rescheduled Round 4 of the championship are scheduled for Aug. 21-23 at VIRginia International Raceway in Danville, Virginia.

 

 

 

 

 

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