SEBRING, Fla. (March 20, 2015) – Jesse Lazare completed a sweep of the opening two rounds of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, winning Friday at Sebring International Raceway after being pushed to the limit by Elliott Skeer.
Lazare, from Montreal, started from pole and edged Skeer by .121 of a second in the No. 21 Kelly-Moss Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car after a stirring final-lap duel between the two young stars. Lazare moved to Kelly-Moss Motorsports for his second season in the championship in 2015, opening his tenure with the reigning Platinum Cup Team Champions with two victories.
“This is what I was hoping for, and it came true,” Lazare said. “It was a great race. I worked hard, and it’s paying off.”
Reigning Platinum Masters champion Kasey Kuhlman, from Cincinnati, finished third overall in the No. 15 Wright Motorsports entry and also was the top Platinum Masters finisher.
Michael Schein, from New York, followed up his third-place finish Thursday by placing fourth in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports entry, helping Wright earn three of the top four spots in the results.
Series rookie Lucas Catania, from Cazenovia, New York, rounded out the top five in the No. 26 NGT Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
Sebastian Landy, from Falls Church, Virginia, rebounded from an accident Thursday to win the Gold Cup class and finish eighth overall in the No. 49 Atlanta Motorsports Group car. Jeff Mosing, from Austin, Texas, swept the Gold Masters class at this event and finished second in Gold Cup in the No. 01 TOPP Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
Skeer, from Carlsbad, California, stayed within eight-tenths of a second of pole sitter Lazare during the first 32 minutes of the 45-minute race. But Lazare expanded that gap to 1.136 seconds with 12 minutes to go when Santiago Creel spun into the wall in Turn 3, triggering a full-course caution period.
The race resumed with just more than five minutes remaining, and Lazare kept the lead on the restart. But Skeer pulled his No. 14 Wright Motorsports Porsche to Lazare’s back bumper on the front straightaway with the white flag in the air, signifying one lap to go.
Skeer tried to dive under Lazare in Turn 3 on the final lap, with white tire smoke shooting from the front wheels of both cars as they were on the limit. But Lazare outbraked Skeer on the outside and held his line – and his lead – through the corner. He kept his cool and drove the final 14 turns to a thrilling victory.
“I had to fight a little bit,” Lazare said. “But it was a great learning experience, and I’ll be better for the next one. He had an inside run on me going into Turn 3. It was scary. I had to outbrake him on the outside. Thank God it worked great.”
Said Skeer: “It was good. We kept it clean. There was no contact between us. We both made it through. Props to Jesse for an amazing weekend. I’m happy to come out of here with second-place points, double seconds and no scratches on the car, so I’m very happy with the weekend.”
Kuhlman overcame a spin that dropped him out off the overall podium and the Platinum Masters lead Thursday to earn his first overall podium finish and Platinum Masters victory of the season.
He fulfilled his goal of a clean race, earning redemption for Round 1 on Thursday.
“My job today was to make no mistakes,” Kuhlman said. “No mistakes, hit my marks. I didn’t have the pace for the front two guys, and I knew that. So my job was to go just as fast as I could go. I’m really happy with the car; Wright Motorsports is awesome. And I’m so happy to be on the overall podium.”
David Williams, from Annapolis, Maryland, scored his second Platinum Masters podium finish of the event in the No. 37 TPC Racing Porsche. He finished third Thursday.
Jay Patel, from Crown Point, Indiana, overcame a painful broken foot suffered in an accident in testing three weeks ago at NOLA Motorsports Park to finish third. It was his first Platinum Masters podium of the season in the No. 00 Kelly-Moss Motorsports entry.
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