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IMSA GT3 - Wright Motorsports Landry Qualifies Second, Finishes Fourth At Montreal

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MONTREAL, June 14, 2011: Mitch Landry of Lake Charles, La., recorded his best qualifying result to date when he earned the second starting spot, and then he went on to finish fourth for the third time this year in IMSA GT3 Challenge by Yokohama Gold Cup action Sunday at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

The race, the fifth one held so far this season, was a support event for the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada.

Landry now has three fourths, a fifth and a sixth in the series, which features Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars. VersaCrane and Deep South Crane & Rigging sponsor his No. 54 Porsche, which is fielded by Wright Motorsports of Batavia, Ohio.

Mother Nature played a role at this event just like she did at the last one, as the drivers dealt with snow in Utah last month and rain on Sunday in Montreal. Qualifying was held in the dry on Saturday but Sunday’s race was held in a light drizzle, which seriously affected the drivers’ visibility.

On Saturday Landry found a good spot in traffic and laid down a blistering lap in qualifying to earn the second starting spot. He was hoping that it wouldn’t rain for Sunday’s race, but that was not to be.

The scheduled 30-minute race started 9 minutes late because there were a lot of accidents to clean up from the Formula 1600 race that preceded it. It also ended after only 22 minutes of action due to the schedule’s time constraints.

Landry and the other rookies in the field only had one practice session to learn the 2.710-mile, 13-turn road course too. Another challenge for Landry was that it was his first time racing on Yokohama rain tires.

But the rain, spray and resulting reduced visibility were the biggest challenges. “At one point I couldn’t see a thing,” Landry said. “I backed off when I couldn’t see and I didn’t get involved in any of the accidents, but I was bumped a lot. I was just glad to bring the car back in one piece today.”

The start was hairy. Although Landry qualified second only to Eduardo Cisneros, he dropped from second to fourth on the first lap and remained there the rest of the way.

“I started on the outside, but that line got bottled up at the start and I got passed,” Landry said. “There was a bunch of bumping going on betweens Turns 1 and 2. I didn’t lose it, but I got sideways. It was interesting. This was my first time racing the Porsche on rain tires too, and it was a big-time learning curve. The visibility was really bad. I was glad to just bring the car home without wrecking it.”

Some Platinum Cup cars got in between Landry and his rival that was running third in the Gold Cup class, so for most of the race Landry played defense rather than offense. Ludovico Manfredi of Key Biscayne, Fla., ran in fifth place for most of the race, about 1 second behind Landry, but he never got any closer. Landry was 1.278 seconds ahead of Manfredi at the checkered.

Landry also progressively got faster throughout the event, and he set his fastest race lap on the final lap, lap 11, with a time of 2:07.820 for an average speed of 122.826 miles per hour.

“It was a good learning experience,” Landry summarized.

The next event is scheduled for July 8-9 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., when two 45-minute races are on the docket. Then it’s back to Canada July 22-24 for an event at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario.