Pirelli World Challenge

Cooper Leads Kozarov in Miller GTS Race 2

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Michael Cooper took his third win of the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge season at the second GTS round of the Miller Motorsports Park weekend.

He finished the race ahead of Vesko Kozarov who made a charge late in the race but was unable to pass the leading Camaro.

From the standing start, Cooper took a strong lead into turn one, ahead of Ben Clucas and Jack Baldwin. Points leader Andrew Aquilante fell back through the field following a poor start adding to his misfortune from Saturday’s race.

Clucas took the lead from Cooper at Black Rock Hairpin on the opening lap. Although Baldwin momentarily took second place on lap five, this move didn’t stick and the positions remained the same for the time being.

At the half-way point, Cooper successfully overtook Clucas for the lead, whilst Kozarov was passing round 13 winner Mark Wilkins for fourth. Three laps later, he overtook Baldwin, gaining a further position.

Whilst Michael Cooper was able to increase his lead and get away, Ben Clucas was getting attention from behind from Kozarov and Baldwin. It took until lap 22 for Kozarov to pass the Kia Optima and take second place.

Kozarov, who had won all three Touring Car races this weekend, was unable to catch the leader in the final couple of laps, and had to settle for second position, crossing the line 1.8 seconds behind Michael Cooper.

The battle for the final podium position was a photo-finish, with Ben Clucas edging out Jack Baldwin by 0.006 seconds. There was a similar situation for fifth place, and Mark Wilkins held off Andy Lee with a gap of 0.096 seconds.

“Yesterday’s consolation prize in the GTS race was having fastest race lap and we were able to start on the pole today,” said Cooper.

“I knew from last year that was about the only place on the track that I could get by Ben (Clucas for the lead). I just stayed on the throttle and ran it to the outside. Then as they try to get back to the right, I was able to stuff it down on the inside of the turn for the pass. I was planning it for a while and he defended it once. I thought he knew it was coming.

“He waited just a little bit too long to defend it.¬† And I was able to move in there and get the pass.”

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Jake covers sportscars for The Checkered Flag, mainly Tudor United SportsCar Championship and World Endurance Championship, along with a variety of other series including World Rally Championship.
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