Booth Prevails On Wet Road Atlanta Track
BRASELTON, Ga. – As a steady but light rain showered the Road Atlanta circuit, the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda Series entered the track for round 13 of the 2013 season.
The 2.54-mile, 12-turn circuit greeted drivers with a wet surface, allowing them to utilize Cooper Tires rain tires to obtain ultimate grip under challenging conditions. The waving of the green flag created a hectic start, but the remainder of the race featured clean driving by both new and experienced drivers in Lites 1 (L1) and Lites 2 (L2) classes at the 16th Annual Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda.
Despite a rough qualification session yesterday, Ryan Booth bounced back and put together a dominant performance with their L1 Élan DP02 2.0L Mazda machine. Booth snatched the lead on lap one and held on despite two caution periods bringing the field back together.
“I’m just happy to end race one on that note, especially after a not so great qualifying session,” Booth said. “It was an awesome job by everyone involved. I want to thank the Performance Tech guys, my mechanic Kenny, engineers Ty and Frankie and Brent. I also want to thank my driver coach Jonatan Jorge who has been helping me through the struggles all weekend.”
JDC Motorsports’ Mikhail Goikhberg was fast in qualifications and the fastest in today’s race. He stayed right on the heels of leader Booth and finished less than one second behind him. Goikhberg turned the quickest time of the contest with a mark of 1:33.929 on his 13th ride around the circuit.
“I think I should have got up to speed faster and then we would have had a legitimate chance,” Goikhberg said. “But unfortunately the race got cut short by yellows and we had the car to do it, but we didn’t get a chance to deliver.”
Series championship leader Sean Rayhall finished in third place and held onto his championship lead entering the final round. Rayhall is 16 points ahead of Booth entering race two at Road Atlanta.
In the L2 class, Brian Alder of BAR1 Motorsports cracked the top 10 overall and landed on top step of the L2 podium for the third time this year. Alder was pleased with his outcome, as it was his first-ever rain race in the No. 8 Lites 2 Élan DP02 2.3L Mazda entry.
“The race was exciting,” Alder said. “I didn’t know what to expect going it to it, but the car was great. Mike and Phil put a great car together. I am glad to have that first rain race under my belt now.”
Alta Velocita Racing’s Jerome Mee landed on the L2 podium for the second consecutive race weekend. Mee debuted with the series at Circuit of the Americas, and continued his podium run with a second-place finish at Road Atlanta.
“It was challenging, but the car settled really well,” Mee explained. “I got loose twice but recovered and honestly it was just management by attrition and staying on the track. Brad Pierce did a great job setting up my car and my thanks also to Sean Rayhall for being my coach. It’s a great experience and I am pretty anxious to get back out there tomorrow.”