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Root Doubles Up at VIR, Scores Weekend Sweep in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA

After scoring his first career Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama victory Saturday, Max Root completed his first weekend sweep Sunday morning at VIRginia International Raceway.

The 20-year-old from San Diego led every lap of the 45-minute race in the No. 7 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine after taking the lead from polesitter Roman De Angelis going into Turn 1 following the drop of the green flag. He was never seriously challenged throughout the remainder of the race and beat Victor Gomez IV to the line by 4.140 seconds to get the victory.

“It was just tire management and consistency,” Root said. “We came out with a strong platform both days. There were mixed conditions yesterday and a perfect track today. I was smiling ear-to-ear the whole time. It was a great time.”

Gomez – the 2018 GT3 Cup Challenge USA Gold Cup class champion for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars built between 2014 and 2016 – picked up his best result since returning to the Platinum Cup class for cars built since 2017 with the runner-up finish in the No. 25 NGT Motorsport entry. Gomez claimed the runner-up spot from De Angelis, who had a last-lap off-track excursion and lost several positions.

Third place went to 17-year-old Riley Dickinson in the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche. It was Dickinson’s fourth podium result of the season and his first since a third-place run at Montreal in June.

De Angelis wound up fourth in the No. 79 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche. It was the first time the 18-year-old Canadian missed the podium all season, but he still holds a comfortable, 58-point lead, 407-349, over Root with four races now remaining on the schedule.

If the Platinum Cup race was fairly straightforward, the race in the Platinum Masters class for drivers 45 years of age and over was not. Jeff Mosing built a relatively comfortable early lead in the No. 68 Topp Racing Porsche before sliding off course and into the tire barrier in the Oak Tree Turn with 28 minutes to go.

That gave the lead to Platinum Masters points leader Alan Metni in the No. 99 AM Motorsports/Kelly-Moss Porsche and he too had a nice lead before being bitten by the Oak Tree as well. He spun with 10 minutes remaining, handing the Masters lead to Saturday’s winner, Fred Poordad in the No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche.

After Juan Manuel Fayen got into the Turn 3 tire barrier in the No. 19 FMS Motorsport Porsche and brought out a full-course caution with under eight minutes to go, the race went back to green with just over three minutes left. That’s when the Platinum Masters lead changed for the final time, as Metni and Poordad tangled in Turn 1, forcing Poordad to spin and drawing Metni a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility.

That gave the lead and the win back to Mosing. It was his third win this year after sweeping both races in June at Watkins Glen International.

“It just goes to show, if you’re not under any pressure, you might have a little brain fart and I did,” Mosing said. “Metni seemed to be gaining on me about a couple of tenths per lap, so I was trying to figure out where I could pick it back up. I thought I might be able to go 10 feet deeper into Oak Tree and I couldn’t, so I just kind of lost it.

“Eric Foss, my coach, he’s the one that keeps my spirits up. I keep the attitude that he does, ‘Put your head down, you’ve got plenty of time left, this isn’t over.’ Sure enough, things just happened, as GT3 Cup does. I got lucky. I want to thank Charlie Luck; he raced me clean down the back straightaway, he raced me clean the whole race. Everybody did. It was a fun race.

“Thanks to Yokohama for putting out a great tire. The tires never gave up, even though the toe got knocked out of the rear. Thanks to Porsche Motorsport for putting on a great series and thank you to VIR. This is officially my favorite track on the planet.”

Luck picked up his best Platinum Masters result of the season with a second-place run in the No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche. It was his fourth class podium this year. Vernon McClure scored his first Platinum Masters podium with a third-place finish in the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche.

Metni, who wound up seventh in Masters following the penalty, still leads the class point standings by 19, 372-353, over Poordad, who was fifth on Sunday.

In Gold Cup, points leader Sebastian Carazo earned his eighth class victory of the season in the No. 27 NGT Motorsport Porsche. Not unlike Root in the Platinum Cup class, Carazo also got a nice lead at the start and stayed upfront throughout to take the victory. He now leads Rob Ferriol by 41 points, 406-365, in the Gold Cup standings.

“It was a great race,” Carazo said. “It was a fun race up to that last-lap restart. It was amazing. A lot of action on track everywhere, you could see it. It’s great to be here. Big thanks to the team, my sponsors, my fans, everybody who supports me. I was hospitalized last Sunday for an appendix surgery, so it was getting a quick recovery in, drink a lot of water, rest the most I could during the week and get ready for this weekend.”

After winning on Saturday, Ferriol came home second on Sunday in the No. 5 Moorespeed Porsche for his ninth podium of the season. Curt Swearingen was third in Gold Cup aboard the No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche, matching his best result of the season. Swearingen previously finished third at Watkins Glen.

Randal Bryant claimed the Yokohama Hard Charger Award in the No. 15 TPC Racing Porsche as the Gold Cup driver who improved the most overall positions from start to finish in Race 2 at VIR. Bryant finished 19th overall after starting 22nd.

Next up for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama is a doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as part of the IndyCar event weekend on Sept. 21-22.

Source. IMSA

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