WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Mikhail Goikhberg drove to his fourth win in five races this season in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda round five Friday at Watkins Glen Int’l.
Goikhberg led all but a half of a lap the 30-minute race and built almost a five-second lead over the rest of the field on the No. 10 JDC Motorsports entry before the final yellow flag that ended the race.
“We are taking it by a race-by-race approach, and it has been working for us,” Goikhberg said. “The race was rather uneventful for us, but we will learn some things for tomorrow.”
Robert Alon’s second place finish at the 3.4-mile, 11-turn circuit was his first podium of the 2014 season in the No. 9 Performance Tech Motorsports entry. Richard Fant grabbed third and first place in the Masters championship in his No. 44 Ferrari of Houston Race Team entry.
“I kept the race car on the track with is always good,” Fant said. “And a few guys took themselves out, which I appreciate as long as they didn’t get hurt. But I was able to move up and finish third overall and P1 in Masters, so I’m real happy about that.”
While Goikhberg controlled the race from the front, for most of the race Andrew Novich and Craig Duerson battled for second. An incident between the two toward the end of the race took them both out of contention, leaving the door open for the rest of the field.
Ludovico Manfredi was the top Lites 2 finisher in the No. 30 ANSA Motorsports Élan DP02 chassis powered by a Mazda engine after avoiding a crazy first turn and first lap.
“It was hectic at the start, which is probably why I managed to win the race because much of the competition was eliminated around the first corner on the first lap,” Manfredi said. “I got hit, too, but for some reason the car was able to continue, and from there on it was pretty uneventful for me. But it’s a great track, and it is an honor to be here under any circumstances.”