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IMSA GT3 - Wright Motorsports Produces Best Finish Ever At Lime Rock

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LAKEVILLE, July 12, 2011: Wright Motorsports’ Mitch Landry of Lake Charles, La., posted his best finish to date in IMSA GT3 Challenge by Yokohama Gold Cup action when he placed second in the second half of a wild series doubleheader Saturday at Lime Rock Park.

Earlier in the day Landry finished fifth in class in the first half of the doubleheader with his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup No. 54. The car is sponsored by VersaCrane and Deep South Crane & Rigging and it’s based at Wright Motorsports’ headquarters in Batavia, Ohio.

Each race was 45 minutes long.

Landry qualified second in class for the first race. He remained in second in the early going but slipped back to fourth in class when he and Michael Levitas both spun. Landry had another tussle with a Platinum car later and spun again. This time he suffered a cut Yokohama tire and had to pit for a new one, losing two laps. He ended up fifth in class in the final rundown behind Madison Snow, Angel Benitez, Levitas and Andres Cisneros.

Before he fell to fifth Landry recorded a lap in 57.676 (92.004 mph) on lap 19, which gave him the third starting spot in class for the second race. He moved into second place on lap 11 when Benitez dropped back a bit, which also put Levitas right on Landry’s rear bumper. There were five Platinum cars between Landry and his class’s leader, Madison Snow, throughout most of the race but Landry was able to withstand all of Levitas’s threats to retain second place the rest of the way. Snow won again but the top five in the Gold Cup class in the nightcap were Snow, Landry, Levitas, Cisneros and Benitez.

Landry now has a second, three fourths, two fifths and a sixth in the series, which was making its first appearance at Lime Rock Park.

“Race 1 was a little too exciting!” Landry said afterwards. “Lime Rock is a very intense track, with no time to relax. The laps are under a minute with a short straight. We had a great qualifying time in the rain, placing us P2.

“Starting Race 1 I was second in class for quite awhile, with Levitas close behind. At one point he dive bombed into Turn 1 and spun us both out. We restarted our engines and I was in fourth. About 10 laps later a Platinum car hit me in the same turn and spun us both again. I suffered a cut right rear and limped into the pits.

“There was a full course yellow due to another crash in Turn 6. The Wright Motorsports crew quickly changed the tire and we were able to pull out of the pits right in front of the pace car, avoiding going down another lap. We ended finishing fifth in class.

“Race 2 had us starting third in class. During the first couple of laps I was fourth, following Levitas, and I ended up getting past him in the exit of Turn 4. I had to drop two wheels on the right in order to get by him.

“Later in the race I caught up to the second-place car, which was scary loose. On the exit of Turn 2 he became very sideways and had to lift. At that point I went inside of him and as he went high in Turn 3 he became loose again and turned down into me, putting his mark on my right-side door. I got by him and started putting a little space between Levitas and I. With about 10 minutes to go we saw a full-course caution that lasted until the end of the race. We ended up second in class with a car that has some battle scars and needs to visit the body shop prior to Mosport.”

Wright Motorsports also had an entry in the Platinum class at Lime Rock, which was the Kuhlsport/Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati No. 15 driven by Kasey Kuhlman of Cincinnati.

Although Kuhlman qualified fifth for the first race with a time of 1:04.201 (82.658 miles per hour) in the rain, just 1.474 seconds off Henrique Cisneros’s automatic new track record, he dropped out of the first race after only five laps while running fourth due to a left-rear tire puncture from debris and netted a 21st place finish in class.

“We had a great qualifying result in the rain and thought that our run of rough luck had ended,” Kuhlman said afterwards. “We expected a top-five finish, so we were really disappointed.”

The starting line-up for the second race was determined by each driver’s fastest race lap in the first event, which put Kuhlman at a disadvantage for that event right away. He started 24th overall in the second race but despite the tight course that made for little passing, he had climbed to 15th in class when the checkered waved. His fastest lap in the second race was a 57.159 (92.836 mph) on lap 16.

“Our quick exit in the first race prevented us from getting a good fast race lap, which is used to set the grid for Race 2,” he explained. “Salting the wound left by the problem in the first race, we started Race 2 all the way in the back and couldn’t make up the positions.”