JDC MotorSports Visits USF2000 Victory Lane in California Junior formula car leaders JDC MotorSports added a pair of victories to its all-ready impressive record this past weekend (May 22-23), as Mikhail Goikhberg scored the Championship class wins in both races of the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda doubleheader at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Fellow rookie standout Martin Sala added a runner-up finish in race one, before finishing fourth in race two at the Northern California track.
Run in conjunction with Rounds Five and Six of the Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Corsa Car Care, the duo got their first chance to sample the renowned undulating Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca road course on Thursday via a pair of test sessions. While no official times were taken, the Russian and Colombian racers were both believed to be among the fastest drivers on-course, despite primarily focusing on learning the track and working on ideal qualifying and race setups.
One day later, both Goikhberg and Sala further positioned themselves for strong outings in the non-points doubleheader, posting times among the top-five in the two practice sessions. The No. 10 Chetverg/Red Line Oil/JDC MotorSports entry of Goikhberg was second quickest in both runs, while Sala’s The No. 19 Gulf/Aero Gal/Red Line Oil/JDC MotorSports was fourth quickest during the two sessions.
In the lone qualifying run on Saturday (May 22), the JDC racers matched their earlier runs, with Goikhberg securing his first-ever front-row starting positions, and Sala lining-up on row two for the two races.
Race one of the weekend commenced on Sunday morning, with both Goikhberg and Sala getting away cleanly when the green flag flew. Keeping the early race leader within striking distance, the duo made their move on a lap six re-start, with Goikhberg taking over the lead just ahead of his teammate Sala. Goikhberg retained the top spot for the next six laps, until contact with the polesitter - while battling for the lead - relegated him back to ninth place in the running order.
Fortunate to avoid the incident, Sala became the new race leader and appeared headed towards a potential win. The Colombian’s hopes of a victory were dashed unfortunately two laps later, when series officials ruled he had jumped the previous re-start, forcing Sala to pit for a stop-and-go penalty.
Showing great resilience and speed in the closing stages of the race, both Goikhberg and Sala charged their way back forward. Goikhberg, in what was superb recovery drive, captured his first USF2000 National Championship win, while Sala made it a JDC MotorSports one-two in the Championship class, advancing to second at the stripe.
The JDC MotorSports drivers and crew had little time to bask in the glory of a one-two finish however, as a short time later the USF2000 cars were back on-track for race two of the event.
Once again getting good launches at the waving of the green flag, the JDC MotorSports duo positioned themselves to challenge for top honors as the race progressed. For Goikhberg that opportunity came on lap 14, following a second re-start. Once out front, the former Ontario Formula Ford Championship front-runner never looked back, setting a new lap record – 1:24.566 – en route to his and JDC MotorSports second win of the weekend. Battling for position all the way to the checkered flag, Sala narrowly missed joining in the podium celebrations, crossing the line in fourth.
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