PORSCHE CARRERA CUP NORTH AMERICA BATTLE INTENSIFIES IN VIRGINIA AS VAN BERLO RETURNS TO VICTORY LANE
The Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands championship battles intensified in Virginia as Kay van Berlo (Netherlands) earned the Pro class victory in Round 12 of the 16-round premier one-make championship. 28 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars took the green flag in the first of two, 45-minute races at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) on Saturday, October 9 across three classes – Pro, Pro-Am, Pro-Am 991 – at the classic Alton, Virginia race track. The 3.27-mile, 17-turn track will host Round 13 on Sunday.
Round 12 of the 16 round championship illustrated the intense back-and-forth of the first-year Pro class. Having lost the overall points lead at the most recent weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, van Berlo fought back to take the pole position in wet conditions on Saturday morning. Race time arrived dry, but the Dutchman kept on pace moving the No. 3 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car into the race lead at the green flag. Lap-after-lap he grew the gap to the championship leader, his teammate, Seb Priaulx (United Kingdom) and Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas) piloting the No. 53 for locally based Team Hardpoint. While Priaulx fought to hold-off Dickinson, van Berlo raced to his sixth win of the season. However, with Priaulx winning the battle for runner-up, the driver of the No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car maintained his lead in the championship entering Round 13 of the title chase. Dickinson took the checkered flag in third-place – his sixth podium of the season. Parker Thompson (Canada) maintains third-place in the championship after finishing in fourth-place in a late-race charge with the No. 9 JDX Racing Porsche. The Canadian will need a strong run in Sunday’s 45-minute race to keep his chances of winning the Pro class championship entering the final three rounds scheduled for Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, November 10 – 12.
Alan Metni (Austin, Texas) maintained his strong hold on the Pro-Am class racing to a convincing victory – his eighth of the season – behind the wheel of the No. 99 iFly Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, type 992. He was ahead of his nearest championship contender, Efrin Castro (Dominican Republic) who drove the Team Hardpoint No. 65 to a podium finish at the team’s home track. Castro was just ahead of Curt Swearingin (Chattanooga, Tennessee) who returned to the podium in third-place after earning his first victory at Indianapolis a month-ago in the No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. By virtue of a fastest race lap (1:48.450), Castro will start on the class pole position for Sunday’s second race at VIR, round 13 of the championship.
Pro-Am 991 Class.
Matt Halcome (Dallas, Georgia) earned his sixth Pro-Am 991 class victory of the season in the No. 55 Goldcrest Motorsports “Mystery Machine” Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, type 991.2. The Georgian used the wet conditions in the morning qualifying session to place ahead of several Pro-Am class competitors for his best overall start of the season. The dry race conditions allowed the drivers of the newer type 992 machines to overtake quickly forcing Halcome to race both ahead and behind him. He held on for the win, extending his points lead over Grady Willingham (Birmingham, Alabama) who finished in third-place driving the No. 21 Goldcrest machine and Conor Flynn who raced the No. 95 Irish Mike’s Racing Porsche to second-place. Halcome will again be at the point of the Pro-Am 991 class in Sunday’s race earning the class pole position with a race lap of 1:51.515.
Round 13 of The Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands will be run as part of Sunday’s lineup at VIR. The green flag will fall on the field at 12:15 p.m. ET. The livestream and live timing and scoring can be found at PorscheCarreraCup.us.
Full race coverage of today’s 45-minute event can be found on the Porsche Motorsport North America YouTube channel (youtube.com/PorscheMotorsportNorthAmerica). Additional post race coverage and special programing will also be found here.
Kay van Berlo, Driver, No. 3 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“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 tomorrow. I found my rhythm 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. The best way is to put results down and score the points. We are a little further back right now, but we still have four races to go and that is a lot. We have seen what happened to me in the last couple races. The same can happen to any other driver so, for me, it is just being consistent, bringing it home and scoring the maximum number of points.”
Seb Priaulx, Driver, No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“I want to thank Kelly-Moss and Multimatic for giving me a great car. That was one heck of a battle. P2 was the best I could do today. I drove my heart out. I am really happy with how the race went. I lost a bit midway through, not sure why really. We will get it back and find out what we need to work on. We are starting on pole tomorrow so we will be head-down from the start. I have won races before so I know I can do it and that is all I am going to do.”
Riley Dickinson, Driver, No. 53 Team Hardpoint Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“I’m extremely happy with it. I can’t thank the Team Hardpoint guys and Porsche Austin enough for everything they did throughout this week, including testing in preparation for this weekend. It’s been a little bit tricky with this weather, we got a curve ball in qualifying this morning. That’s probably the worst conditions I’ve driven in, hands down but it was the same for everybody. I had a fairly decent start and then just slowly picked my way forward. I was able to manage my tires until the very end, once me and Seb [Priaulx] started battling it out. It was a great race. I’m sure the fans loved it. It was definitely exciting inside the car. Ultimately it didn’t go the way we wanted but that’s why we have another race tomorrow.
Alan Metni, Driver, No. 99 iFly Kelly-Moss Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“I love this place. I have had a lot of fun here in the past with a lot of good success. I want to thank my daughter Ava and my wife for coming out here with me. We will go out and try and do the same thing tomorrow.”
Matt Halcome, Driver, No. 55 Goldcrest Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“This is great. Qualifying this morning was a blast. It was interesting. I like the rain. The rain equalized things in qualifying and I had some of the 992s [type 992 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars] behind me in the race. Qualifying means something but the race is what really means something. So, in the race, I had to watch my mirrors because in the dry the 992s are quicker than me. I had five or six that were picking me off, so I had to drive in the mirrors a little bit and make sure none of the 991s got by me at the same time. It was a great race. Tomorrow I won’t have to look in my mirrors so much. I am looking forward to Race 2. I like this track, this is my kind of track: fast, long.”