Goikhberg Holds Off Hard Charging Sergeant

Dalton Sargeant (left), Mikhail Goikhberg (center), Craig Duerson. (Photo: Scott LePage, LAT Photo USA)
Dalton Sargeant (left), Mikhail Goikhberg (center), Craig Duerson. (Photo: Scott LePage, LAT Photo USA)
Dalton Sargeant (left), Mikhail Goikhberg (center), Craig Duerson. (Photo: Scott LePage, LAT Photo USA)

SEBRING, Fla. – Mikhail Goikhberg held off hard-charging teenager Dalton Sargeant in race two Friday to complete the sweep of the first two rounds of the 2014 Cooper Tires Prototype Lites at Sebring Int’l Raceway.

Goikhberg drove his No. 10 JDC Motorsports Lites 1 car to victory by just .545 of a second over Sargeant, much closer than his 2.895 seconds victory in race one on Thursday.

“We’re super-excited about how this weekend went,” Goikhberg said. “Two wins, that’s what we wanted to do. There’s still a fair bit of work to do on the car but were definitely excited to leave this  round with two wins and two poles.”

Sargeant, 15, closed on Goikhberg on the final laps around the 17-turn, 3.74-mile circuit in his No. 4 8Star Motorsports Élan DP02 car after taking second from Craig Duerson with two laps remaining. But he couldn’t get a nose of his Mazda-powered car under Goikhberg on the final lap, settling for his second podium finish of the weekend after placing third in race one.

The former karting champion had started second but dropped to fifth for the second and final restart after caution with 13 laps remaining in the race.

“We lost some major track time in the beginning of the race, which really put me at a disadvantage on the last restart,” said Sargeant. “When I finally got up to second, I didn’t have enough time to work for first place.”

Duerson ended up third in the No. 27 Performance Tech Motorsports entry. He finished second overall Thursday but he was the Masters class winner for the second consecutive race in his first weekend in the series after winning the Platinum Masters championship last season in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA.

“I think I challenged the leaders a little more than yesterday, and Performance Tech put together a great car for me,” Duerson said. “I’m getting used to the car, and everything went well.”

Brian Alder was the top Lites 2 finisher for the second consecutive race, finishing 14th overall in the 25-car field in the No. 8 BAR1 Motorsports Élan DP02.

“The car was really good today,” Alder said. “We put in laps three second quicker than we qualified. Unfortunately, most of our (Lites 2) competitors went out there on the first lap, and we never got a really good chance to race. But the Top 1 car was awesome today, and I’m really looking forward to Kansas.”