Wayne Ducote also in Porsche action at Road Atlanta
Braselton, Ga. (30 September 2016) – After capturing the team and driver championships in the previous round at Circuit of the Americas, Kelly-Moss Road and Race closed out the 2016 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season in a big way this weekend.
2016 IMSA GT3 Cup Champion Jesse Lazare drove to his 12th victory of the year at Road Atlanta on Friday, earning his second podium finish of the weekend after he took a runner-up finish in Thursday’s race. He extended his record of most victories in a single season in the IMSA GT3 series after adding that accolade to his racing resume earlier this year.
Thursday’s race saw Lazare start from the front row, with his Kelly-Moss teammate Wayne Ducote taking the green flag from the 13th row. Polesitter Daniel Morad got a jump at the start and led the early stages as Lazare worked to close that gap.
Ducote had his own forward progression, moving up from 26th overall to finish fourth in the Gold Class. That run included an audacious and attention-grabbing fight for position that saw Ducote make a big move on the outside of the high-speed Turn 1.
Lazare was hoping to extend his win streak, but a caution in the closing laps saw him finish the race in second place.
Lazare earned pole position for Race 2 and was determined to cap off his championship year with a victory in the season-finale. The Canadian set off from pole and earned a solid gap before a caution flag put rival Zacharie Robichon right on his rear bumper. Lazare has developed an excellent ability to manage his tires this season, and that was on display as Robichon couldn’t get close enough to make a move and Lazare took his 12th victory in 16 races.
“It’s amazing to have accomplished all of this,” enthused Lazare.”I’m so happy for myself and I’m so happy for my whole team that’s behind me. They’re really so much of this, starting with Jeff Stone, the owner, the engineer, the crew chief and all the guys on the team. They haven’t made a mistake this year – I’ve tried not to make too many mistakes either! We work together really well and we’ve had a very successful result today. My car was just perfect today, so I was able to get away, but I may have pushed a little too hard because my rear tires went a little bit. Robichon drove a great race because at the end of the race, I still felt great but he was still right on my bumper.”
The win came one day before October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month begins. Lazare’s No. 21 Porsche GT3 Cup car carried a special livery this weekend, dedicated to Team Principal Jeff Stone’s wife Ekram, who is fighting breast cancer.
“Jesse drove great races all year – we couldn’t be any happier, to get 12 wins and experience such an amazing year,” said Team Principal Jeff Stone. “It feels great to be back at Road Atlanta, 28 years after we got our first win here! Unfortunately, my brother is not with us, and we miss him terribly. But my wife and the rest of the family is here so this feels great. We can’t wait to see what the future brings, for Kelly-Moss, for Jesse and for the next young kids moving up. We love it – it couldn’t be better!”
Ducote scored another top-five in the Gold class with his run to fifth in Race 2 on Friday.
“I passed four people going into the start in Turn 1 and someone drove into my left year in Turn 3, which shoved me into the wall,” said Ducote. “I had a good start but we couldn’t do anything after that. My car was crippled, my exhaustwas bent, my fender was a mess but I just kept driving until the end of the race. It wouldn’t turn, it wouldn’t stop, it wouldn’t handle but other than that everything was fine. Overall, it was a pretty good season. Today was an expensive day but it was still pretty good. I am looking forward to next year and doing a little bit better.”
Next weekend, Kelly-Moss Road and Race will head to Baja for the pre-run event October 6-9. Stone received his Baja helmet during the Road Atlanta race weekend which kicked off the excitement for the event even more. (Photos Below):