WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 5, 2016) – Rene Robichaud used a last-lap pass to win the PCA Club Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East series endurance race Sunday at Watkins Glen International (WGI).
Robichaud, representing the Ohio Valley PCA Region in the No. 89 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Cayman GT4 Clubsport, passed David Baum with three turns to go to earn his first victory. Baum, representing the Western Michigan PCA Region, finished second in the No. 24 Autometrics Motorsports entry.
“David was driving a great race for the last 10 laps, and it took me until the last lap of the race to find a little opening where I could go door-to-door with him,” Robichaud said. “I managed to hang on for a very small lead. It’s the first time I’ve had first place, so I’m delighted by that.”
Russell Walker, representing the Maverick PCA Region, rounded out the podium finishers by placing third in the No. 28 TOPP Racing entry.
The 80-minute race took place in clearing conditions in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York after drivers faced torrential rain during the morning warmup. The varying levels of dampness caused by the early rains created an interesting mix of strategic decisions from teams and drivers.
Walker was one of only three drivers to start the race on rain tires. He switched to slick tires during his mandatory pit stop, which aided his charge from 11th starting spot to the final podium position.
“We took a different strategy starting on the rains and made it to fourth after starting 11th, and that was a big track position maneuver,” Walker said. “It was a solid race.”
Polesitter Keith Jensen, representing the Maverick PCA Region, led the first half of the race in the No. 51 NOLAsport Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport until he went off track in Turn 8 and hit a tire barrier on Lap 17. He then brought his No. 51 NOLAsport Porsche to pit but was forced to retire from the race.
In the Masters Class, which is designated for drivers ages 57 and older, Robichaud swept the class this weekend after winning both sprint races and the endurance race.
Ed Lane, representing the Florida Crown PCA Region in the No. 66 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche, came in second place, his second podium finish of the weekend.
“The race was particularly exciting because it was in that in between state of being dry or wet,” Lane said. “Our team went out on slick tires, so at the very beginning it was extremely slippery. But as the race went on, the tires got better and better, so I think we made the right choice.”
Rounding out the Masters Class podium in third was Roger Halvorsen in his No. 23 Mustante Motorsports entry, representing the Connecticut Valley Region PCA Region. Halvorsen, who also placed third in Saturday’s Sprint 2 race, was one of the three drivers who started today’s endurance race on rain tires. He switched to slicks at his mandatory stop, like Walker.
Next up for the Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East series is a trip to VIRginia International Raceway on June 24-26 in Danville, Virginia.
Due to the success of the series, a limited number of Cayman GT4 Clubsport cars have become available for immediate purchase. Interested parties should contact Allen Shirley, GT4 Clubsport Trophy East series coordinator and PCA national steward, at 904-338-2324 for more information.
Endurance Post-Race Quotes:
RENE ROBICHAUD (No. 89 Kelly-Moss Road and Race, winner, first Masters): “It’s the first time I’ve gotten first place, so I’m delighted by that. David (Baum) was driving a great race for the last 10 laps, and it took me until the last lap of the race to find a little opening where I could go door-to-door with him and finally get a little run on him. In that last lap, we got traffic but I still managed to hang on for a very small lead, and I think that’s all that matters, crossing in first. I want to thank so many people – the Kelly-Moss team did great and my daughter Nicole came in position six. For us, top 10 was all we wanted, but she’s knocking on the door of top five. I couldn’t be happier.”
DAVID BAUM (No. 24 Autometrics Motorsports, second): “What a great weekend here at historic Watkins Glen. Great race, me and Rene (Robichaud) battling the whole race. We raced each other clean and then three turns to go, he got me and put me in position two. But hey, it was still a great weekend. I loved it, and I can’t wait for VIR.”
RUSSELL WALKER (No. 28 TOPP Racing, third): “That was a fun one. I did not expect to make it that far up. We took a different strategy starting on the rains and made it to fourth after starting 11th, and that was a big track position maneuver. It was pretty sketchy on the new tires. I think I lost a lot of time, but I gained it back up. It was a solid race.”
ED LANE (No. 66 Autometrics Motorsports, second Masters): “The race was particularly exciting because it was in that in between state of being dry or wet. Our team went out on slick tires, so at the very beginning it was extremely slippery. But as the race went on, the tires got better and better, so I think we made the right choice. I had a wonderful drive the second half of the race. The first half was a little unnerving.”
ROGER HALVORSEN (No. 23 Musante Motorsports, third Masters): “We took a gamble and went out on rains (tires), and it gave me an advantage for only about four or five laps. We realized it was a little bit of error in judgement, mostly mine. So I took the earliest pit stop I could possibly get in this race to change tires and then we had to really watch the fuel. We thought I might run out so I had to take it easy the rest of the race, but I got it over the line and we got another podium and I am happy as can be. I want to thank the Musante crew for the whole weekend. Two podiums, so I am pretty happy!”