Race 2 Results at VIR Prove Pivotal in Points Chase
ALTON, Va. – Championship leader Seb Priaulx added to his points advantage by winning one of two Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands races over the weekend at VIRginia International Raceway.
After finishing second to teammate Kay van Berlo in the first race on Saturday, Priaulx piloted the No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to victory on Sunday. Meanwhile, van Berlo was involved in a first-lap incident that ended his race in the No. 3 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche against the Turn 2 barrier. The 13th-place finish for van Berlo, coupled with Priaulx’s victory, nearly doubled the Brit’s lead to 64 markers with only the three-race round at close the inaugural season Nov. 10-12 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta remaining.
Pro Class: Van Berlo won the pole for Race 1 and pulled away from the drop of the green flag and went on to his sixth win of the season. Priaulx battled throughout to hold off Riley Dickinson (No. 53 Team Hardpoint) for second place. The expected battle between Priaulx and van Berlo in Sunday’s race never came to be. Van Berlo cut across a surging Parker Thompson (No. 9 JDX Racing) and, after contact, van Berlo’s Porsche careened into the tire barrier and was too damaged to return to competition. Dickinson pressured Priaulx throughout the race and finished second, with Thompson third.
Pro-Am Class: Alan Metni and Efrin Castro continued their domination of the class, each winning one race at VIR. Metni (No. 99 iFly Kelly-Moss) topped the class in Race 1 with a convincing victory – his eighth of the season. Castro (No. 65 Team Hardpoint) earned his fourth win of the season in dramatic style in Race 2. Driving for the team based at VIR, Castro scored the win on the final lap when Metni spun in Turn 1. Castro, who had been pressuring hard, narrowly passed the spinning Metni on the outside to secure the victory. The win also kept the title battle on for the class dedicated to drivers 40 and older who campaign the most current generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, the type 992. Metni leads Castro by 39 points.
Pro-Am 991 Class: Matt Halcome (No. 55 Goldcrest Motorsports) won both races to extend his lead in the class for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, type 991.2 cars. Halcome has seven class wins this season. Conor Flynn (No. 95 Irish Mike’s Racing) finished second in both 45-minute races. Grady Willingham, Halcome’s teammate at Goldcrest, finished third in the two races and trails Halcome by 76 points in the standings.
Kay van Berlo, No. 3 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (after Race 1 win): “Coming away with a win today feels just amazing. We have had a tough couple weekends at Road America and Indianapolis. At the beginning, I pushed a little bit harder because we knew the fastest lap time would be the starting position for (Race 2). I found my rhythm (and) from there we just did consistent lap times, no big risks, no mistakes and in the end, we brought it home. I always keep the championship in the back of my mind, but I never really focus on it. The championship is something that is decided at the end of the season. For me, it is race by race.”
Seb Priaulx, No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: “I had some good pressure from Riley (in Race 2). We are really happy with the race. We led start to finish. I want to make sure my teammate (van Berlo) is OK. The incident he had today was unlucky. We got the job done today. I can’t thank Kelly-Moss and Multimatic enough for the car they gave us. Now we just keep on going. I am going to keep my head down and keep on pushing.”
Riley Dickinson, No. 53 Team Hardpoint Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: “It’s so close right now between really us four at the front. It’s a matter of who is going to make the first mistake, and it goes all the way back to qualifying. Overall, it was an unbelievable weekend, we got really great results for the team and for me personally as well. It’s another thing that we can build off of. Going into Road Atlanta we’ve really got some confidence, we just need to go in there and put it all together and get a nice qualifying. We can put ourselves in a position to finish the season off strong. The Porsche Austin 992 was on rails this weekend. There’s not much you can do when everyone is running the exact same lap times. It’s a testament to how competitive the series is right now. The Porsche Carrera Cup North America is by far the most competitive, in my opinion. It was a great weekend for us, and a great weekend for Team Hardpoint.”
Efrin Castro, No. 65 Team Hardpoint Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: “This race (Sunday) is probably the most satisfying race that I’ve won because I won it by strictly giving it all I had. I fought from the beginning to the end. I was actually fighting other guys who were not in my class, but we’re here to race and I just kept pushing and gave it my all. I want to give a big shout-out to Team Hardpoint and the guys on the team, I’m surrounded by great guys that are pushing me and giving me the positive energy that I needed to fight this war today.”
Matt Halcome, No. 55 Goldcrest Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: “That was crazy, Conor (Flynn) was on me. He was driving the wheels off of it, I was driving the wheels off of it. I could just tell (that in) certain parts of the track he was better than me and certain parts of the track I was better than him. I just tried to take advantage and get a bigger gap at the places I was better, but he would close it in the area he was better. That was the hardest race I have had. He was glued to me. He raced me clean. Road Atlanta is my favorite track. It is going to be fun. I am looking forward to it.”