Corey Fergus leads Ernie Francis Jr. in TC Race 2

by Jake Kilshaw

Corey Fergus won the second Touring Car round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and the penultimate race of the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge TC season. In TCA and TCB, the wins went to Paul Holton and Joey Jordan.

Touring Car

A full course yellow came out almost straight away, when John Weisberg stalled his Mazda MX-5 on the grid, but before the yellow flag, Adam Poland had taken the lead through turn one.

The race restarted on lap two, and Poland was overtaken by Corey Fergus and Vesko Kozarov at the Andretti Hairpin. He momentarily lost third position to Ernie Francis Jr. but retook the position at the Corkscrew.

However, Francis Jr hadn’t given up. On lap nine, he passed Poland again, before second-placed Kozarov. He then turned his attention towards Corey Fergus who was still leading, whilst Kozarov and Poland battled for third place.

Just past the halfway point, Francis Jr. managed to make his way past Fergus through turn nine, and he held the lead for a short while until the move was reversed at the hairpin. The remaining laps saw a heated battle between the pair. Despite multiple attempts, Francis Jr. was unable to make a successful move on the Porsche of Fergus, and so the Ohio-native took his third win of 2015 by a margin of 0.208 seconds.

Third place was held onto by Vesko Kozarov, whilst Adam Poland and Kevin Krauss came fourth and fifth. Heading into the final round, Fergus has a 74 point lead over Francis Jr.

“At the start, I was in third entering turn two but decided I didn’t want to be in third at that point” commented the winner. “So I went to the outside and grabbed first place which was a little hairy. I had a lead for a while and then Ernie (Francis Jr.) got by Vesko (Kozarov) for second. That made my race even more exciting as he began closing on me. That Mazda was very fast behind me.

“I definitely ran the rear tires off my car and I had a lot of fun. We really needed that win for the championship today. I have a little bit more of a cushion in the points. We can’t rest yet.  One more race to go on Sunday. I think I can clinch the title with a spot on the podium. I need to stay in that mindset. Taking second or third would be fine if we can grab the championship. It’s not easy to finish on the podium in the Pirelli World Challenge series though.”

Touring Car A

Polesitter Paul Holton led over Patrick Seguin and points leader Jason Wolfe off the line, and this remained for the entire race. With this, Holton claimed his second victory of the season in his Honda Civic Si, with a comfortable lead at the chequered flag of 3.6s.

Completing the top five were Paul Whiting and Steve Bottom. Jason Wolfe still leads the championship with one round remaining.

“It was really good to get the pole back today after being denied on Friday due to a technical infraction,” Holton explained. “The start today was pretty crazy when two TC cars stalled right in front of me. On the restart, things backed up in turn two but I was able to get through that okay. I just worked on the traffic after that. This isn’t the best track for traffic with the TCB cars. They tend to get in the way a little bit.

“It was an entertaining race. You have to pass cars on the straightaways because of the blind corners. You can come over the corkscrew and there could be a TCB car right there. And then you are fully committed and they are in the way. You have to use strategy to setup for passing. We have similar speed in the corners and we use our horsepower to pass on the straightaways.”

Schwartz continues to lead in Touring Car B

Schwartz continues to lead in Touring Car B

Touring Car B

The TCB category was won by Joey Jordan, who so far has a perfect set of results this weekend. At the start, it was Andrei Kisel who led Jordan and championship leader Johan Schwartz. It took until lap six for Jordan to move his Mazda 2 past the Mini Cooper of Kisel, and meanwhile, Glenn Nixon was beginning to close in on Schwartz for the final podium position, a move he would make a lap later through the Corkscrew.

At the finish line, Jordan had a very large lead of 8.7s on Kisel, whilst Nixon, Schwartz and Tom O’Gorman finished next.

“After the restart, Andrei (Kisel) gave me a little love tap which he said he after the race he didn’t mean to,” said Jordan. “So I stuck in his rear-view mirror and made the pass for the lead when the opportunity came up. I had to work the traffic. That is what separated me from other guys who were running the same lap times.

“It’s just great to get Mazda a win at Mazda Raceway. There are some ins and outs at this track that I feel I can use since this is one of my home tracks. Dealing with the weather here is important too. This is a completely different track from yesterday (Friday) when the track was very hot.”

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