Gokhberg Tops Prototype Lites Opener

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2014 Cooper Tires Prototype Lites SebringSEBRING, Fla. — Mikhail Goikhberg won the first Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda race of the 2014 season from the pole Thursday at Sebring Int’l Raceway.

Goikhberg, from North Vancouver, B.C., drove his No. 10 JDC Motorsports Lites 1 Élan DP02 car to a 2.895-second victory over Craig Duerson after earning the Cooper Tires Pole Award. It was Goikhberg’s first victory since winning last season at Mid-Ohio with Mazda power.

“It went well,” Goikhberg said. “We were on pole and we were able to have a really clean start and then just kept pushing out laps. We didn’t smoke the competition, so we still have a lot of work to do. But we are looking forward to tomorrow’s race.”

Duerson won the Masters class with his second-place finish in the No. 27 Performance Tech Motorsports entry on the historic, 17-turn, 3.74-mile circuit. Dalton Sargeant finished third in his first series start in the No. 4 8Star Motorsports entry after passing Duerson’s son, Hayden, on the final lap in a duel of teenage talents.
Duerson recorded a successful debut in the series after winning the Platinum Masters championship last season in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.

“Great car and great program,” Duerson said. “I’m happy with finishing second. Hats off to the pace that the winner ran. It’s his third season in the car, so I was really pleased with my pace in the car.”

Brian Alder was the top Lites 2 finisher after recording the quickest qualifying lap earlier Thursday in that class. A mechanical problem on his final qualifying lap forced Alder and the BAR 1 Motorsports team to scramble to make repairs before the race.

 

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