With all 34 classes completely full, the Porsche Club of America (PCA) Rumble at the Oak Tree at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) kicked off its races Saturday with more than 155 cars on track throughout the day.
The PCA Club Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East series completed two sprint races at this unique track Saturday. Cayman GT4 drivers Jason Hart, Keith Jensen and John Frank swept the Pro, Championship and Masters classes, respectively.
“VIR is like no other track on the planet,” said David Murry, professional race advisor and coach. “It’s a resort. It has everything from rooms over the garages to villas to a spa and restaurant, plus a shooting range – it’s a gorgeous track.”
The 3.27-mile, 17-turn track is located just north of the Virginia and North Carolina state line.
“The first half of the track is tight, slow and technical, while the second half is very high speed. It requires a different style of driving for both and a different type of setup for the cars, as well,” Murry said.
Polesitter Hart, representing the Maverick PCA Region, had no problem driving on this technical track, winning the Pro class in the No. 51 NOLAsport Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport. His fastest lap time was 1 minute, 59.701 seconds.
Keith Jensen, representing the Maverick PCA Region in the No. 32 NOLAsport Porsche entry, won the Championship class after running in sixth place during the first portion of the sprint race.
David Baum, representing the Western Michigan PCA Region, finished second in the No. 24 Autometrics Motorsports entry in the Championship class.
Leading the Championship class for a majority of the race was Adam Merzon, representing the Connecticut Valley PCA Region in the No. 7 DeMan Motorsport entry. About two-thirds of the way through the race, Rene Robichaud, representing the Ohio Valley PCA Region, went on the inside and tried to pass Merzon on Turn 1. The two cars made contact, which eliminated Robichaud from Sprint 1.
The contact also caused Merzon to fall behind, and he ended finishing third in the Championship class.
“The last two laps, I went off on the S curves, and Keith and David went by,” Merzon said. “I was lucky to hold on for third.”
In the Masters class, which is designated for drivers 57 and older, John Frank, representing the Connecticut Valley PCA Region, won for the first time this season in the No. 11 DeMan Motorsport entry.
Roger Halvorsen, representing the Connecticut Valley PCA Region, and Robichaud rounded out the podium for the Masters class in second and third, respectively.
Later in the afternoon in the second race of the day, Jensen swept the competition after winning Sprint 2. He continuously built a gap over the rest of the Championship field to take a 20.404-second victory over Baum.
Rounding out the podium for the Championship class was Merzon, who passed Joe Courtney, representing the Connecticut Valley PCA Region, on the last lap to grab third place.
In the Pro class, Hart once again won and recorded the fastest lap time of the event at 1:59.237.
In the Masters Class, Frank, Halvorsen and Robichaud repeated their 1-2-3 finish from the first race. Frank walked away with two wins Saturday, a first for him.
The third and final race of the weekend will be an 80-minute endurance race at 1:45 p.m. (ET) Sunday, June 26.
The other competing groups at VIR also enjoyed a day of close competition, completing two sprint races, as well. The white race group had 72 entries, with Glenn Wiedenbeck winning Sprint 1 overall in his SP996 class. In Sprint 2, provisional results show Maurice Smith winning in his GT4 class. Provisionally, in the red group, Cory Freidman swept both sprint races. In Sprint 1, he was 34.644 seconds ahead of Stuart Fain. Both Freidman and Fain are part of the GTA2 class.
Due to the success of the series, a limited number of Cayman GT4 Clubsport cars have become available for immediate purchase. Interested parties should contact Allen Shirley, GT4 Clubsport Trophy East series coordinator and PCA national steward, for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sprint 1 Post-Race Quotes:
KEITH JENSEN (winner, Championship): “It was not my best qualifying session, and Adam (Merzon) did a great job in qualifying. My coach didn’t really have a great start, so I ended up in sixth place by Turn 3. It was a hard-fought battle to get where I was.”
DAVID BAUM (second, Championship): “It was a really fun race. The four of us (Jensen, Baum, Merzon and Robichaud) were nose to tail for most of the race. We got one more to go – can’t wait!”
ADAM MERZON (third, Championship): “I want to thank my crew for putting my car back together from practice (Merzon had a minor crash during a practice session). I turned first into third; I don’t know what happened. The last two laps, I went off on the S curves, and Keith (Jensen) and David (Baum) went by. I was lucky to hold on for third.”
JASON HART (winner, Pro): “I have to start off by thanking Jon Scheurich and NOLAsport for letting me drive their car again. I always have a blast. Big congrats to my teammate, Keith (Jensen), who has been working very, very hard looking at video and data and really applying himself on the track. He came in first in the Championship class, so I’m very happy for him. Porsche made a fantastic car. We are really enjoying these Clubsport Caymans. I really want to thank PCA for putting on a great event and working out the schedule so we can have our own track time. It’s really a lot of fun. All of the drivers here have really been picking up the pace through the year, and I look forward to seeing how fast they are by the end of the year.”
JOHN FRANK (first, Masters): “It was a great race. I’d like to thank DeMan Motorsport and Andrea Frank. I’m looking forward to the next few races. My teammate, Adam (Merzon), helped me – great coaching. As they say, to finish first, first you have to finish.”
ROGER HALVORSEN (second, Masters): “Two pit stops in the sprint race! I was mowing some lawn and then I was securing my belts in the pits. I’m hoping to complete the next race without any interferences.”
RENE ROBICHAUD (third, Masters): “I started in fourth place, and I managed to get to second behind Adam (Merzon), who drove a great race. About two-thirds of the way through the race, I went on the inside and I was literally in the grass on Turn 1, and Adam (Merzon) and I made contact.”
Sprint 2 Post-Race Quotes:
KEITH JENSEN (winner, Championship): “Just did my best to keep up with my coach. It was a really good race. Really fun and great to be out here in my Pirelli tires. They held up great!”
DAVID BAUM (second, Championship): “Sprint 2 went pretty well. I got a decent start and tried to hang with Jason (Hart) and Keith (Jensen) but they started pulling away. I ran good and feel good and am looking forward to tomorrow.”
ADAM MERZON (third, Championship): “I have to thank all my crew for getting my car ready for the second race. We needed a steering rack. We got out in no time, but we just stayed in the race. I was in fourth place with a lap, maybe two to go. Joe (Courtney) had a good lead, maybe two or three seconds, and he went off and I got third. I feel bad for Joe.”
JASON HART (winner, Pro): “Another good race here. Grateful to win both races. The Championship guys are good competition because they are definitely getting darn quick. Had my teammate (Keith Jensen) behind me for the longest time. I had fun with that because he was definitely catching my draft for a little bit. And then I decided to have some fun myself and turned some good laps and came home with the win. Thanks a lot to the NOLAsport guys and Porsche for making a great car and definitely my crew that worked hard to make this car so fast.”
JOHN FRANK (first, Masters): “I managed to stay on the track today, and I am happy to take the win. The Clubsport race is a lot of fun, and I am really looking forward to Road America and Daytona to finish up this great series. I want to once again thank Andrea Frank, Lucas and Sarah for all their help this weekend.”
ROGER HALVORSEN (second, Masters): “I got second place because I went off twice! (Laughing) I got pushed off right at the start and just saw the pack take off away from me, so I am very fortunate to be in this circumstance.”
2016 PCA Club Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East Remaining Schedule
Sept. 3-5 Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Oct. 21-23 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida
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