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Root Takes Third Straight Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Win in Race 1 at Laguna Seca

Max Root is undefeated in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama competition since taking his first series victory last month at VIRginia International Raceway.

The 20-year-old driver from San Diego, California swept both races of the doubleheader last month at VIR and added a home-state victory on Saturday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in the first of two 45-minutes races at the 2.238-mile road course.

After putting the No. 7 Wright Motorsports Porsche on the pole position Saturday morning, Root surrendered the lead to Roman De Angelis in the No. 79 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche on the first lap. But Root kept the pressure on the points leader throughout and found his way past in Turn 11 with slightly more than 19 minutes left in the race.

Root pulled away once he took the lead, speeding to a 7.947-second victory over De Angelis.

“In the beginning, our pressures were a bit low starting off and (De Angelis) had a pretty hot car out of the box,” Root said. “But I was able to be consistent and smooth and then found my chance and just ran with it. Wright Motorsports did all the setup and those are the guys I can thank for a car I was able to drive.

“I don’t see it as a winning streak, I just see it as hard work paying off. It’s a team effort, it’s not just me. It’s 40 other guys behind the scenes and I’m just as happy for them to be here.”

While Root set sail, De Angelis found himself with his hands full in the closing minutes, as 17-year-old Texan Riley Dickinson applied heavy pressure in the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche. But De Angelis won the drag race up the hill from Turn 11 to the finish line to come home second.

De Angelis continues to lead the championship standings in the Platinum Cup class for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars built between 2017 and 2019. He is 55 points, 439-384, ahead of Root with three of 16 races remaining on the schedule.

Dickinson, meanwhile, finished third for the second consecutive race. It was his fifth podium result of the season.

Wright Motorsports celebrated two victories on Saturday, as No. 20 Porsche Fred Poordad picked up his fourth victory of the season in the Platinum Cup Masters class for drivers 45 years of age and over. Poordad was the beneficiary of a late-race spin out of the Masters lead by Alan Metni in the No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports Porsche.

Poordad then held off a charging Chris Bellomo in the No. 63 Moorespeed Porsche to take the victory. He also won Race 1 at VIR last month, Race 2 at Montreal in June and Race 1 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May. In the process, Poordad closed the gap in the Platinum Masters point standings to 12, 400-388, behind Metni.

“I started off a little tentative,” said Poordad. “This track, I haven’t been here for several years and some guys have never been here. It’s always dirty and tough to get around, but the race kind of opened up for me. Unfortunately, the No. 99 made a mistake for him and I was right there to capitalize on it. But I had my hands full with the No. 63. He was pressuring me the whole day. Some good, clean racing, I really enjoyed it. No (yellow) flags, which was awesome. Yeah, I’m looking to put some pressure on the points leader for the next three rounds here.”

Bellomo finished second in his series debut, one spot ahead of Michael Mennella in the No. 4 MCR Racing Porsche. It was Mennella’s first podium result of the season in Platinum Masters and he also won the Yokohama Hard Charger Award as the Platinum Cup driver who made up the most overall positions from start to finish in Race 1. Mennella finished 10th overall after starting 14th.

In the Gold Cup class for 911 GT3 Cup cars built between 2014 and 2016, Sebastian Carazo picked up his ninth victory of the season in the No. 27 NGT Motorsport Porsche. Carazo has finished on the class podium in all 13 races this season and now leads the Gold Cup standings by 44 points, 441-397, over Rob Ferriol.

“Up to now, it has been a really great season,” Carazo said. “NGT has really given me a great car all season. I’ve had everybody push me along the way just to be consistent, be safe every single race and finishing them.”

Ferriol finished second in the No. 5 Moorespeed Porsche for his 10th Gold Cup podium result of the season. Curt Swearingin completed the Gold Cup podium in the No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche for his third podium result of the season.

Sunday’s second 45-minute race of the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca takes the green flag at 4:20 p.m. PT (7:20 p.m. PT) and will be streamed live on IMSA.tv.

Source. IMSA

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