Multiple Sonoma Podiums for Kelly-Moss Road and Race

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Kelly-Moss Road and Race took three podium finishes in a rough-and-tumble pair of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama races at Sonoma Raceway this weekend, where it competed as part of the the Verizon IndyCar Series finale event.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in professional motorsports, KMR arrived at Sonoma with four Porsche GT3 Cup cars in two classes: two in the Platinum Cup class, featuring the latest generation 2017 and 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car (the No. 1 Racing for Children’s/MTP/Fortis Porsche of Roman De Angelis and Alan Metni in the No. 99 iFly/VICCI Car Auctions/AM Motorsports Porsche in the Masters division), and two Porsche entries in the Gold Cup for cars from model years 2014-16: Greg Palmer in the No. 44 and Kurt Fazekas in the No. 52 Porsche.

Championship titles were on the drivers’ minds this weekend, with De Angelis sitting second in Platinum Cup class, Metni just out of the Platinum Masters lead, and Fazekas lying third in the Gold Cup standings. The team worked hard to find the best setup on the technical Sonoma circuit, with De Angelis starting sixth and Metni, who lead Friday’s practice times, starting on the Masters pole, Fazekas third and Palmer seventh in Gold Cup.

Race 1
De Angelis started the race in sixth position and worked hard on the rear bumper of David Kolkmann for much of the race, with the pair going side-by-side through the Carousel on Lap 14 in an outstanding example of hard, clean in-class racing. The Belle River, Ontario native was able to catch Kolkmann under braking and on Lap 21, made the inside move in Turn 4 to take the position. But with a flat spotted tire, De Angelis was not able to challenge championship leader Trenton Estep and settled for fifth position.

Metni put distance between himself and his Masters competition at the outset, holding off a charging Mark Kvamme for much of the race to take his third class win of the season.

Fazekas engaged in several spirited battles through the race: for second with Sebastian Carazo at the drop of the green flag (exchanging the position several times on Lap 2) and with Rob Ferriol for third mid-race. Unfortunately, Fazekas ran afoul of the Sonoma sand on Lap 16, putting a tire off in Turn 1, with the resulting spin leaving him in fourth position in Gold Cup. For Palmer, the story of the race began with a struggle for grip in qualifying that left him back in the pack, although he was able to race hard to fight back from an early-race spin on the tricky California circuit. 

Race 2

De Angelis, starting fifth, wasted no time at the start, putting his nose inside Estep for fourth position in Turn 1 and refusing to back down as the pair went side-by-side through two corners. But in the Esses, two cars tangled near the front of the field, sending both cars to the back of the field and putting De Angelis into third position as the caution waved. Metni moved into fifth overall and first in Platinum Masters, while Fazekas came out of the melee with the Gold Cup lead.

On the restart, De Angelis had to balance trying to pass Estep while keeping Kolkmann behind. Estep and De Angelis – the top two in Platinum Cup points – distanced themselves from the rest of the field with De Angelis coming home second to capture another podium on his 2018 season. 

In Gold Cup, Fazekas had his hands full with class points leader Victor Gomez, as the two traded positions for several laps before Gomez gained the advantage. For the remaining laps, the race looked like a repeat of Saturday for Fazekas, battling hard with Ferriol for position. Fazekas drove a flawless race, keeping Ferriol behind him and taking second place on the podium. Metni held the Platinum Masters lead until Lap 13, when he spun in Turn 9 and fell back to fourth position but emerged from the weekend just six points back from  the Platinum Masters championship lead.

Quoteboard

“We didn’t have much pace in qualifying on Saturday, “said De Angelis. “But the team made massive improvements overnight and the car was better today than it had been at any point this weekend. But not having race the car in this configuration, it took a while to get used to. I feel as though we were quicker than Trenton, but we didn’t have time to really know that. I would have liked to have made up some points on Trenton, but I’m happy to have had a good day today.”

“Mark really kept the pressure up in that first race,” said Metni. “I could not get away from him! Any time I would try to forget about him and focus forward, I would look in the mirror and he was still right there. Big thanks to my team, Jason and Cale, for giving me a great car, and my coach, Andrew Davis. They did a really good job preparing me for this, and these things are won in training.” 

“I considered yesterday a test day,” said Palmer about his race one outing. “Today, the problem was grip, with all the sand on the racetrack. It’s been an up and down season, so I’m looking forward to getting to Road Atlanta, which is a track that suits me much better.”

“It was a good weekend for the team and it was a very good weekend for Alan, closing in on the championship lead with just two races to go now,”  said team owner Jeff Stone.  “We knew we had a bit of a deficit, with just two of our drivers getting to test here ahead of the event. But we had a good weekend, as we are still in contention for all three championships. We’ll take that and head to Atlanta with fire in our belly.”

Next up for KMR will be the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama season finale at Road Atlanta, part of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Motul Petit Le Mans weekend October 10 through 13.

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