Parker Thompson (Canada) took top honors in Round 5 of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands today at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. In the process, the young Canadian and his No. 9 JDX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car became the first combination to better championship points leader Kay van Berlo (Netherlands living in Miami, Florida) in the second season of the premier Porsche one-make championship. Marco Cirone (Canada) also became a first-time winner in the Pro-Am class driving the No. 84 Mark Motors Racing Porsche. Things remained consistent in the Am class where class points leader Mark Kvamme (Columbus, Ohio) earned his fourth-win in five races.
The victory in the 40-minute feature didn’t come easy for Thompson as the second-year series driver had to fend-off multiple attacks by race polesitter Trenton Estep (San Antonio, Texas) and Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas). Estep, who started from the pole position, was overcome on the opening lap by the Canadian driver. Estep retook the lead while Dickinson pressured from behind. After several exchanges of position and near misses, Thompson was able to draw away slightly but never comfortably in the race that stayed green throughout its entirety. Estep will start from pole position in tomorrow’s second and final race of the weekend.
In only his second weekend in the Pro-Am class of Carrera Cup, Canada’s Mark Cirone was able to claim victory in the category for drivers 35 – 56-years old. It was the first win for Mark Motors Racing in the series as well. Cirone drove a heads-up race battling with series’ veterans Alan Metni (Austin, Texas) in the No. 99 Kelly Moss Porsche – who finished in second-place – and Curt Swearingin (Chattanooga, Tennessee) who drove the No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche to his second, third-place finish of the season.
As a veteran racer, Mark Kvamme has found a natural home in his freshman year of Porsche one-make racing. The class polesitter ran up front all day in the No. 43 MDK Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. The class win was the points’ leaders fourth of the season in the class for drivers 57-years-old and older. He bettered championship rival John Goetz (Weston, Connecticut) driving the No. 57 Wright Motorsports Porsche and Bill Smith (Dallas, Texas) in the No. 42 Topp Racing machine to the class win.
To the point.
Thompson’s win closed his championship gap to van Berlo but the Canadian remains 27 points behind his rival of last year. By virtue of his pole position (two points) and fastest race lap (one-point), Estep moves into third-place with 71-markers. Six points back is Thompson with 65. The two entered today’s race tied. Metni moved to 104 points in the Pro-Am category, 59-points ahead of Justin Oakes (Houston, Texas). Kvamme further strengthened his lead in the Am class with 110 points to Goetz with 88 and Smith with 83.
Round 6 of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands will take the green flag Sunday, May 1, at 8:40 a.m. local time (11:40 a.m. ET).
Parker Thompson, No. 9 JDX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Pro Class Winner.
“That was probably my most intense battle for a win in sports cars. Usually, the fight lasts one or two laps, but we lasted the full 40-minute race grinding away on one-another. Awesome race. The key was to get out in the lead early. The clean air onto the splitter really makes a difference. That gives you just that little bit of an advantage to control the race and that is exactly what we did. Trenton is quick. He would have gotten by had he had the pace so that little advantage we had at the front is what tipped the balance towards us.”
Marco Cirone, No. 84 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Pro-Am Class Winner.
“This is our second event. We were really concerned because we were almost a year behind on this new car. My team did such a great job of preparing the car and making it right for me. This car is a lot different [than other Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars he has driven] and this one is for the team. They did all the work and they deserve all the credit. Tomorrow is going to be a little bit harder, a little more aggressive. I expect tomorrow to be clean but slightly more aggressive.”
Mark Kvamme, No. 43 MDK Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Am Class Winner.
“This track is really brutal. The tire degradation is amazing. I’d say by lap ten I barely had any tire. Michelin makes a great tire, but it is like sandpaper out there. So, it was survival there the last ten laps. It was a good race. I am hoping for tomorrow morning, for race two, there will be a little more rubber on the track so we have a little more traction. Today, I was able to get a little bit ahead because Goetz got stuck behind another car so I was able to play with my line a little bit and I hope that will help me tomorrow.