Porsche Carrera Cup North America

Priaulx leads Kelly-Moss 1-2 in season opening Porsche Carrera Cup North America race

3 Mins read
Seb Priaulx - Porsche Carrera Cup North America
Credit: Porsche NA

Sebastian Priaulx took a lights-to-flag victory in the opening round of the 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup North America series, an action-packed race saw the new Porsche 992-based Cup cars do battle around the Sebring International Raceway.

The Kelly-Moss Road and Race driver drove a steady race to hold off his team-mate Kay van Berlo who was tucked up under his wing for the duration of the race.

At the start of the race Priaulx timed things perfectly as he pulled out an immediate gap, second-place Leh Keen was caught out and as a result, dropped down to fourth place within opening corners as Kay van Berlo and Riley Dickinson got the jump on him.

There was early drama as Max Root spun as a result of a puncture, leaving him facing the wrong way as the rest of the field careered towards him, unfortunately for the young driver, his car was clipped by passing traffic, damaging his suspension and putting him out of the race.

It was clear from the opening lap that it was going to be near impossible for the field to catch the Kelly-Moss duo at the front of the pack as they pulled out a gap from the chasing cars, Priaulx doing his best to defend from his team-mate.

Kay van Berlo - Porsche Carrera Cup North America
Credit: Porsche NA

Jeffrey Majkrzak had a scare after straying on to the dirt in his previous generation 911 GT3 Cup car, thankfully he managed to get going again. It wasn’t long before another spin, this time it was Phillip Martien who collided with another car as they headed into the final corners, one high-speed spin later he resumed as if nothing had happened.

Frank Raso’s race came to a premature end, after spinning in the early stages of the race, the Pro-Am 991 driver was forced to retire with just 8 laps of the race under his belt.

By lap 12 Priaulx was starting to catch traffic, now it wasn’t just the pressure from van Berlo he had to deal with, it was lapping the backmarkers.

At this point of the race, the Kelly-Moss due were out front with a comfortable lead, that was until TJ Fisher saw his car propelled into the air after running wide on a corner; For a moment it looked as if he had survived the initial off as he looked to get back on track, that was until his car hit an access road and the elevation change forced the rear of the car into the air, coming down with a massive impact, this would cause a full course yellow, bringing the field together once again.

It was a bad time for Topp Racing, after seeing Fisher suffer difficulties, their Pro-Am driver Bill Smith ended up in the middle of the track after suffering a puncture. He would get going again but lose the tyre from the rim on the way back to the pits, delaying the restart of the race further.

Alan Metni - Porsche Carrera Cup North America
Credit: Porsche NA

As the clock counted down the lights on the safety car went out and the drivers got ready to get going again; as the field neared the end of the lap Priaulx closed everyone up as he looked to make the most of the restart. Heading into the final corners there was almost a collision between the two Kelly-Moss cars as Priaulx slowed while he was warming his tyres, causing van Berlo to take avoiding action, thankfully there would be no incidents on the restart.

While the top two positions looked set in stone there was an emerging battle for third and fourth places between Keen and Parker Thompson, and a battle for fifth and sixth between Dickinson and Dylan Murry. Keen would get the better of Thompson, but it was Murry who would make the most of things and gain a position on the final lap.

As the clock counted down and the white flag was flown, Priaulx remained in control at the front, the battle for victory in the Pro-Am class wasn’t quite as clean-cut though as Alan Metni and class pole-sitter Efrin Castro battled to the finish; Metni would take the class victory by 0.201 seconds.

Kurt Hunt - Porsche Carrera Cup North America
Credit: Porsche NA

In the Pro-Am 991 class, it was Kurt Hunt who drove a steady race in the ACI Motorsports car, picking up a class win on the opening race of the season.

Porsche Carrera Cup North America – Race 1 – Sebring International Raceway*

1Pro15Seb Priaulx(J)Kelly-Moss Road and Race1945:09.5
2Pro3Kay van Berlo(J)Kelly-Moss Road and Race19+1.238
3Pro12Leh Keen311RS Motorsport19+2.727
4Pro9Parker Thompson(J)JDX Racing19+3.446
5Pro38Dylan Murry(J)BGB Motorsports19+4.130
6Pro53Riley Dickinson(J)Team Hardpoint EBM19+7.072
7Pro27Sebastian Carazo(J)Kelly-Moss Road and Race19+8.259
8Pro2Sean McAlister(J)JDX Racing19+8.537
9Pro11Ryan Gates311RS Motorsport19+13.387
10Pro-Am99Alan MetniiFly/Kelly-Moss19+14.200
11Pro-Am65Efrin CastroTeam Hardpoint EBM19+14.401
12Pro88Hutton McKennaWright Motorsports19+14.835
13Pro-Am17Curt SwearinginACI Motorsports19+15.841
14Pro-Am69Thomas CollingwoodBGB Motorsports19+16.388
15Pro-Am54Tim PappasJDX Racing19+18.913
16PA99124Kurt HuntACI Motorsports19+19.287
17PA99155Matt HalcomeGoldcrest Motorsports19+19.408
18PA99121Grady WillinghamGoldcrest Motorsports19+20.271
19Pro-Am10Vernon McClureTPC Racing19+20.670
20PA9918Joe StillGoldcrest Motorsports19+22.033
21PA99129Jeffrey MajkrzakGoldcrest Motorsports19+22.370
22PA99197Craig ConwayIrish Mike’s Racing19+32.878
23Pro14Erik JohanssonMRS GT Racing19+62.307
24PA99172Phillip MartienGoldcrest Motorsports19+93.404
25PA99164Ted GiovanisACI Motorsports181L
26PA99192Joseph LombardoKelly-Moss Road and Race171L
27Pro-Am84Rene RobichaudKelly-Moss Road and Race172L
28Pro-Am42Bill SmithTopp Racing153L
29Pro58TJ FischerTopp Racing135L
30Pro16Jeff KingsleyMRS GT Racing135L
31PA99159Tom BalamesKelly-Moss Road and Race99L
32PA99156Frank RasoTopp Racing810L
33Pro-Am57John GoetzWright Motorsports315L
37Pro7Maxwell Root(J)Moorespeed-Wright Motorsports18L
(J) denotes Porsche North America Junior

*Provisional results

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