Canadian Jesse Lazare dominates Porsche GT3 Cup race in Virginia
Canadian Jesse Lazare has found an even higher gear during the late summer while dominating the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.
Jesse Lazare, from Montreal, cruised to his ninth victory of the season in a dominant performance Sunday at VIRginia International Raceway in Round 12 of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Single-Make Series. He swept the two-race weekend and earned his fourth consecutive victory in the No. 21 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche, beating Lucas Catania to the finish by 13.761 seconds.
Catania, from Cazenovia, New York, earned his seventh podium finish of the season in the No. 26 NGT Motorsport Porsche. Andrew Longe, from Naples, Florida, earned his second podium finish of the weekend and fifth of the season by finishing third in the No. 47 Wright Motorsports Porsche.
Unlike Round 11 on Saturday, Lazare led from start to finish Sunday in the 45-minute race. He gradually pulled away from the No. 63 Wright Motorsports Porsche driven by McKay Snow on the start and on a restart after an early caution.
Catania passed Snow for second with an inside move into Turn 1 with 31 minutes remaining. Catania, who spun off on the final lap Saturday pursuing Lazare, again set sail for his rival. He pulled to within .519 seconds with about 25 minutes remaining.
But then Lazare inexorably pulled away, building a gap of 4.478 seconds with 11 minutes remaining.
"I was definitely pushing hard to get Jesse," Catania said. "I think we had a good fight in the beginning, and then I just started pushing too hard. It got pretty greasy out there. Traffic started to come into play a little bit. I didn't get the balance I wanted toward the end, and I had a bobble."
Lazare was able to ease into cruise control with six minutes remaining when Catania spun off track in Turn 11 and made light contact with the tire wall. He returned to the track just in front of Longe, who earlier passed Snow for third.
Catania and Longe then engaged in a tough fight over the final laps for second. Longe ended up just .855 of a second short of Catania at the finish.
Lazare padded his point’s lead over Longe to 213-178. Catania is third with 173.
"At the beginning of the year, we started fresh. We had a great season last year, but we had a new car this year,” said Lazare. “We have to learn everything. We just keep hitting on the last 50 percent of the race; the car feels like it's on rails. That's really the difference. I know I have to push super hard at the beginning so I can be really good for the last half of the race. I've been doing that every race since, and it's been working great."
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