BOWMANVILLE, Ont., (July 20, 2013) - The start of Race One at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park braced for another battle between Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda points leader Sean Rayhall and Ryan Booth, who is currently third in the overall standings. Mikhail Goikhberg, who entered the weekend comfortably in second, suffered heavy damage to his car in an incident in qualifications. While he rallied to hop into a replacement car for the first race, he was unable to complete the first lap.
Rayhall and Comprent Motor Sports were the Cooper Tires Pole Award winners today at the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, but Booth quickly claimed the lead on the first time around the 10-turn, 2.459-mile road course. The two remained close and were side-by-side on the back stretch entering the final turn on lap three. After Booth was able to lead the field for 10 laps, Rayhall made a move around the outside, which ultimately resulted in Booth spinning to the inside.
Rayhall regained the lead at that point and held onto his No. 14 Lites L1 Élan DP02 2.0L Mazda entry to the finish line. But if that were not enough, on lap nine of 22, Rayhall turned the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:14.994, for a new race lap record for Prototype Lites at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
"Another pole, and another win for the Robert Talbot Motorsports number 14 Mazda machine," Rayhall said. "I can't say enough how proud I am of these guys. They've worked really really hard this week. We had great communication by racing radio the whole time. I also really need to thank 8Star Motorsports for also helping me out to get me out to the track this weekend. They've kind of come on board and I'm working for them as well. To come away with a pole and win at a new track is really awesome. I just can't be more grateful for everyone behind me."
Booth dropped back to ninth overall after the incident on Lap 11, but slowly picked his way back up the pack to finish third overall. The Performance Tech driver now moves up to second in the L1 point standings and was appreciative of his crew's efforts following the race.
"I led for a while, then me and Sean (Rayhall) just got together after that, so I just tried to keep my head down and ended up on the podium," Booth said. "I'm looking forward to next race and I just can't thank enough Performance Tech enough. We had a problem in qualifying and they worked their butts off to fix it. Kenny, Shane, Jonathan George Racing Development, my coach and just everyone on the team did a great job."
Booth's Performance Tech teammate Daniel Goldburg steadily moved up from fourth position to third by Lap 11 and second by Lap 14, where he held his position until the end. Goldburg remains a steady contender for the championship as fourth overall in the L1 and overall standings.
The Delray Beach, Florida-native had a tight race with Masters contender Jon Brownson of Eurosport Racing as the two exchanged positions for second place midway through the 30-minute sprint.
"The weekend took a turn yesterday when we had an incident and had to put the car back together," Goldburg said. "I was happy to qualify well this morning at third. Fell back to fourth on the start behind (Jon) Brownson. He's pretty hard to pass on this track. Half way through the race I kept the pressure on him and was able to get a lapped car between us and just drove my race from there. I am looking forward to tomorrow's race."
Jon Brownson was as high as second overall during the race in the No. 34 entry for Eurosport Racing, but settled for fourth overall, but first in the L1 Masters Championship after Ryan Booth made a late pass to claim third place on the podium. Brownson extends his points lead in the Masters category with the win for a total of 112 points, 22 ahead of the next closest competitor: Gerry Kraut.
Kraut entered the weekend third in the standings and bumped up to second after taking home the silver medal in Race One at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The JDC Motorsports driver now has three second-place finishes under his belt and will hunt for the top step in tomorrow's race. He was able to push from a seventh overall starting position today to finish fifth.
Scott Tucker, who sat out the 2013 Diamond Cellar Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, rejoins the series for rounds seven and eight. The Level 5 Motorsports driver finished third in Masters for his fourth podium finish of the year. Tucker is pulling double duty at the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix this weekend, with an entry in the PC category of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.
Jon Brownson: First Place L1 Masters Championship
"Well the driver behind me got a little overly ambitious and rather than go around me, he tried to go through the rear of my car (laughing). Fortunately I was able to continue with my flat-spotted tires and some wing damage. I came close to making the overall podium were it not for the last turn and Ryan's (Booth) heroic drive to come back from his contretemps."
Gerry Kraut: Second Place L1 Masters Championship
"Hey, so far so good! Today was great! I qualified behind the Potolicchios and ended up getting around both of them, and then was sandwiched between both of them for most of the race until Christian, (Potolicchio) I think it was, took himself out of the game. And I had my sights set on (Jon) Brownson, but I needed maybe three more laps. But it was a great race!"
Scott Tucker: Third Place L1 Masters Championship
"Today was good. We had a problem in qualifying and it kind of got me stuck in the back of the field. And these guys are so good that every spot in the field counts. I worked pretty hard and we got a pretty good gap there at the end, but the guys just got out and got in front of me and I think we moved it up to around, well, I don't remember what it was but we did the best we could and so now it's on to tomorrow!"