The “wonders from down under” Tom Sargent and McElrea Racing combined to earn their first Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America victory in round 13 of the championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca during Rennsport Reunion 7.
The Australian contingent debuted in the US championship at Sebring this year – McElrea Racing bringing their Australian Porsche Carrera Cup championship-winning pedigree to the American series and McElrea graduating from Australian Porsche Sprint Challenge.
Sargent immediately marked himself as a contender after a series of runner-up performances early in the year but could not break through for a win.
Some badly luck followed him including contact in Miami bringing his second-place run to an end – but today he was on the right side of the lucky coin.
Sargent was on the outside of pole-winner Will Martin at the start and was passed by provisional champion Riley Dickinson at the Andretti hairpin.
Martin and Dickinson made contact in the run up to the Corkscrew which resulted in damaged steering in Dickinson’s Kellymoss entry. When they arrived for the left-hander the leads into the six-story drop at the Corkscrew – Dickinson was unable to turn and both he and Martin ended up in the gravel.
Sargent raced off into the lead and was never headed in the run to the flag. His lead was enhanced after Michael McCarthy (Kellymoss) and Alex Sedgwiick (JDX) clashed in turn three while fighting for second and third.
Joining Sargent on the podium were Sean Varwig (Kellymoss) and Dan Clarke (Nolasport)
“I’m over the moon to be honest. I can’t believe it. We’ve been working so hard all year on this,” Sargent said.
“We’ve had a lot of times where we’ve been so close but just missed out. So, to get our first win, and to get it here at Rennsport, it is amazing.
“There was a bit of an incident with the two guys in front, but you’ve got to be there to capitalize on that. So it’s massive for the team to have their first win. Obviously we’re a brand-new team here in the USA, so to come over here and prove ourselves in the first year is a massive confidence booster for everyone.”
In the Rafa Racing Club Pro-Am championship, Kellymoss’ Efrin Castro provisionally became the first two-time Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America class-winning champion.
Castro’s fifth consecutive win pushed him into an unbeatable points lead in the class where he also scored the championship in back in 2021.
MDK Motorsports’ Chris Bellomo scored his best result for the season at his home track at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in second place while GMG Racing’s Kyle Washington earned his third consecutive podium in third.
“ It was very tricky condition at the start and I was just praying to God that I was able to get into the dry line because it was like ice,” Castro said.
“After the track dried up, I was able to hit the my marks and I’m grateful to getting the fastest lap and getting some extra points. I’m super grateful for the team to bringing me up to this level and having all the success that I’ve had this year.”
The championship battle in the Am class continued to be a fierce fight between MDK Motorsport rivals Scott Noble and Mark Kvamme.
Team boss Kvamme had the lead early but Noble was able to get through at the Andretti hairpin to earn his fifth class victory in a row. Wright Motorsports’ John Goetz again joined them on the podiun in third.
“When Mark won pole yesterday I knew I had my work cut out for me, and the track was mixed conditions right at start,” Noble said.
“I just played it smart and drove the dry line, and he got outside in the wet, and I got by him and got a little gap. And from then on, it was just picking up the pace every lap. He would go win best lap, fastest lap, then I would trade and win fastest lap.
“So it was a lot of fun, really trying to pick up that extra point. So overall today, I think I picked up four points on him, and it’s gonna be a hell of a race the last three rounds.”