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Kay van Berlo Best wins Round 2 of Porsche Carrera Cup North America at Sebring

Porsche Carrera Cup is widely recognized as one of the most competitive motorsport formats in the world. With the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars – both the newest type 992 and previous generation 991.2 – forming the classes, the one-make championship is a battle between equal race cars. The difference? The driver. This generates the kind of strong competition that was witnessed at Sebring International Raceway, March 17 – 19, when Porsche Carrera Cup North America made its competition debut with a pair of 45-minute races. In the second, and final, race of the weekend, Kay van Berlo (Netherlands) took his first win in the championship just ahead of Seb Priaulx (United Kingdom) – winner from Friday’s Round 1 – and Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas) in third-place. The balance not only between these three drivers, all part of the Porsche Junior Program North America, but the entire field is early proof of concept for the first year championship.

The 3.74-mile, 17-turn circuit in central Florida hosted 34 race versions of the iconic Porsche 911 GT3 road car. Split with 23 of the type 992 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car – making their first appearance in customer racing teams’ hands this weekend – and 11 of the previous generation 991.2 models, the competition was heated amidst the three classes: Pro, Pro-Am and Pro-Am 991 throughout.  Pro and Pro-Am use the newest car – the first 23 delivered in the world – while the Pro-Am 991 category uses the previous generation car that set the standard for one-make racing  worldwide since 2017.

Brian Blocker, Series Manager, Porsche Carrera Cup North America.  
“I have to look at this weekend as the culmination of years of planning and preparations. This was a full group effort and I could not be more proud of this team of people associated with Porsche Carrera Cup North America at all levels. To see everything come together behind the scenes and then be displayed so well on track by all of our drivers and teams was very rewarding for everyone. The new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car performed exceptionally well and we are learning more about it every time we turn a wheel. Combined with the Michelin tires, this proved to be the right platform to put on an amazing show in both races. Our congratulations not only to the winners this weekend but to everyone involved.”

Pro Class. 
The name Priaulx was a constant at the top of the timing sheets since the first open test for the new one-make championship here at Sebring, March 8 – 9. The 20-year-old was the fastest in every session and earned the fastest two laps in qualifying placing him on the pole position both Thursday and Friday. However, always close on his heels were drivers like van Berlo, Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas), David Murry (Cumming, Georgia) and Leh Keen (Dublin Georgia). In Race 2, like in Race 1, Priaulx in the No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road & Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car brought the field down to the green flag – today waved by Tony Menard, Michelin Director of Motorsport North America to highlight the significance of the relationship between the French tire maker and the German sports car manufacturer. With van Berlo’s No. 3 Kelly-Moss Road & Race Porsche on the outside the two cars powered into turn one side-by-side and stayed that way until the Dutchman nosed ahead of the Englishman into turn three. Priaulx challenged but eventually fell back to a shadow position matching his teammate corner for corner. Now in the lead, van Berlo used lessons learned in the  first day to slowly increase the gap. With no caution periods and a flawless drive by van Berlo, Priaulx  was unable to attack securing another Kelly-Moss Road & Race 1-2 finish but in reverse order from the day before. Charging toward the leading drivers but also unable to attack was Dickinson in the No. 53 Team Hardpoint-EBM Porsche. The 2020 Hurley Haywood Scholarship winner earned the first podium – third-place – in the Carrera Cup North America for the team. Keen, who finished in third-place in Race 1, took fourth-place in the No. 12 311RS Motorsport Porsche after a spirited battle with Dickinson. Parker Thompson (Canada) finished in fifth-place driving the No. 9 JDX Racing Porsche.

Porsche Junior Program North America drivers  swept the Round 2 podium with van Berlo leading Priaulx and Dickinson across the finish line in 1-2-3 order. Program drivers, all of whom fit the 23-years-old and young requirement, also took fifth-place – Parker Thompson (Canada) – and sixth-place – Sean McAlister (Beverly Hills, California). Sebastian Carazo (Puerto Rico) brought home ninth-place while Dylan Murry (Cumming, Georgia) was 11th to give Junior Program racers seven of the top-eleven spots. Max Root (San Diego, California) was 13th in the Pro class after retiring the car due to contact.

Kay van Berlo, Driver, No. 3 Kelly-Moss Road & Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. 
“The first lap, I was in P2 [second-position] so you can either lose a lot in the first couple corners or win. Obviously, I was awake when the green flag waved and overtook Priaulx on the outside. After that I started to manage the tires. We kept quite close at the beginning but he started to slide and I started to slide so we dropped our lap time down a bit to save the tires. At a certain point the car stayed stable, there was no drop-off anymore. We came into traffic but then I knew the tires would stay strong to the end so I started pushing again. A great car by the Kelly-Moss Road & Race guys and the Racing for Children’s Hospital. It has been a good weekend.”

Sebastian Priaulx, Driver, No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road & Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. 
“It was a great start, winning the first race of the year. I am really happy with that. I wanted to win this one but my teammate did a good job. He just had a better race than me today. I couldn’t do anything. Today I was second. This is a great series. I am glad it came here to North America. It is a great championship to progress in my career.”

Riley Dickinson, Driver, No. 53 Team Hardpoint-EBM Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.  
“Coming back out and getting a podium today was important to me. To go out today and get the job done was definitely a positive for us. It is something we can take with us to the next event. I can’t thank everyone at Team Hardpoint-EBM enough for everything they have done to get this program up and going. With Efrin [Castro] getting a podium yesterday and me the one today, as a team we should be really proud of that result. Obviously, there are a lot of things we can learn from this weekend and move forward with. I am a huge fan of this series. This is what it is all about. For me, personally, it is a lot of fun. To be able to race with someone like Leh Keen, it is pretty surreal. It has brought out all of the high-level of talent that we have in the younger generation. With Kay, Seb, myself and all of the other Juniors out there it generates high competition. I think every weekend there will be eight or ten of us capable of winning every week. Porsche, Michelin and IMSA have put together an incredible series.

Pro-Am Class. 
Alan Metni (Austin, Texas) is two-for-two in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America. The driver of the No. 99 iFly Kelly-Moss Road & Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in the Pro-Am class – for drivers 40-years-old or older who do not consider motorsport their primary profession – is the only driver to win his class in both events over the first weekend of one-make racing. The veteran of Porsche one-makes drove a clean and steady race pulling away into the class lead. It was good the Texan had a healthy gap as, late in the race, he spun the car off-track. His lead was large enough he was able to return to the track and proceed to the checkered flag 4.3-seconds ahead of BGB Motorsports’ driver Tom Collingwood (Canada) in the No. 69. Porsche-regular Tim Pappas (Boston, Massachusetts) crossed the line for his first Carrera Cup North America podium in third-place driving a Black Swan Racing Porsche entered by JDX Racing.

Alan Metni, Driver, No. 99 Kelly-Moss Road & Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.  
“I was pushing a little bit too hard there at the end and ran out of talent in Turn 16. I was able to get back in it quickly and didn’t lose the lead. This was a great start to the season. I really enjoyed it. This series is a definite step up. It is challenging but rewarding. I am loving it. This one is for my four beautiful daughters.”

Pro-Am 991 Class.  
Showcasing the close competition throughout the Porsche Carrera Cup North America, the Pro-Am 991 class, like its 992 successor, flipped positions in Race 2 from the day before with Matt Halcome (Dalls, Georgia), driving the No. 55 Goldcrest Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, type 991.2,  moving ahead one spot to take the win. Kurt Hunt (Atlanta, Georgia), behind the wheel of the No. 24 ACI Motorsports Porsche, followed closely behind to take second-place. Jeffrey Majkrzak (Orono, Minnesota), driving the No. 29 also prepared by Goldcrest, finished in third-place.

Matt Halcome, Driver, No.  55 Goldcrest Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Type 991.2. 
“This is fantastic. It is great to have Goldcrest behind me, they gave me a great car. It was really fun out there. Winning at Sebring means a lot. This place has a lot of character, it takes patience and time to learn it. It is a great track.”

Full results can be found at: https://livetiming.net/pccna/

Source. Porsche

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