BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – Rain or shine, no one could touch Remo Ruscitti in Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Ruscitti, from Burnaby, British Columbia, completed his two-day reign over the IMSA Development Series by winning Round 8 of the season Sunday, July 13 in wet conditions in the No. 4 8Star Motorsports entry. He beat series leader Mikhail Goikhberg to the checkered flag by 16.749 seconds.
Young star Ruscitti, 20, also drove to victory in Round 7 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda and in the ST class in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge under sunny skies Saturday at CTMP. These were his first two starts in Prototype Lites.
“It’s unbelievable to get two wins in my first weekend in the Lites car,” Ruscitti said. “It’s an awesome feeling. During the middle of the race, it actually started to dry, and then it started to get really wet. It was just car control. Keeping the car on the track is probably what won it at the end of the day.
“Definitely a perfect weekend. I wouldn’t have thought it coming into the weekend. I think like they said yesterday, I should go buy a lottery ticket.”
Goikhberg, from North Vancouver, British Columbia, returned to the podium after a first-lap crash eliminated his No. 10 JDC Motorsports entry from Round 7 Saturday. He leads the championship, 136-83, over Robert Alon with six rounds remaining.
Series rookie John Falb, from Las Vegas, placed third after starting 13th to earn his first career podium finish. He also was the leading Masters (age 40 and older) finisher in the No. 77 ONE Motorsports Élan DP02 chassis.
Madison Snow, from Lehi, Utah, finished a career-best fourth in the No. 29 Extreme Speed Motorsports entry, while Ruscitti’s teammate Christian Potolicchio rounded out the top five in the No. 2 8Star Motorsports entry.
Ruscitti started sixth but wasted little time powering to the front in steady rain and a stiff wind in the open-cockpit cars. He pulled up beside pole sitter Goikhberg in Turn 10 entering the front straightaway near the end of the second lap, completing the decisive pass just before the start-finish line. Ruscitti never trailed thereafter.
The field bunched during a full-course caution with about 29 minutes remaining in the 45-minute race due to the stopped Lites 2 car of Jerome Mee, and Ruscitti lost his 9.788-second lead. But Ruscitti never was threatened on the restart, building a 4.728-second lead five minutes after the field returned to racing.
While Ruscitti pulled away, Falb’s charge through the field created drama in the closing laps.
Falb passed Potolicchio for third with five minutes remaining. Falb pulled to within six-tenths of Goikhberg at the white flag while Goikhberg was trying to clear the lapped car of Lites 2 leader Brian Alder.
Goikhberg and Falb both passed Alder, and Goikhberg held his line and his cool over the final two turns to beat Falb to the finish by .367 of a second. Still, Falb took the lead in the Masters Championship, 114-106 over Craig Duerson, with his victory in the class in the race.