Team News: Eduardo Cisneros Takes Two Wins: Henrique Cisneros’ Two Seconds Keeps Championship Lead
BOWMANVILLE, Ont (July 25, 2011) – NGT Motorsport’s Eduardo Cisneros won both IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama races in the Gold Cup class, as brother Henrique earned two second places finishes to hold a 23-point lead in the Platinum Cup Championship.
Except for the Canadian contingent, much of the GT3 field had never been to Mosport, so the learning curve was steep as the weekend began. But when qualifying was done, the top spots in the starting field were held by newcomers to the famed Ontario road course; pole sitter Tim McKenzie, Fernando Pena and Henrique Cisneros, driving the #26 NGT Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. But McKenzie, with a fast time of 1:23.385, couldn’t get much distance between himself and the other two, as Pena (1:23.575) starts alongside in second place and Cisneros (1:23.672) behind him in third.
“I got my fast lap on my first lap out and had the pole early,” said Cisneros. “After that, I got into a lot of traffic. I came into the pits and saw that McKenzie was only a tenth behind me. Then I dropped down to second, then to third. I tried to go back out and improve my time, but I got into traffic again. It’s a great track and it will be interesting during the race – there will be a lot of traffic, which will hurt some guys and help others.”
Eduardo Cisneros, in the #29 NGT Porsche, started second behind Mitch Landry, but put several Platinum Cup cars and another Gold competitor between himself and championship leader Madison Snow.
“This really is a great track,” said Cisneros. “It’s takes a while to get used to, so I’m very proud to qualifying second my first time here. There are a couple of blind turns that require you develop the muscle memory to trust the car and go for it. It takes a while to get your confidence up – if you get the right line, it’s great, but if you’re a little bit off line, you’re going out.”
Rounding out the NGT contingent were Ray Arthur (#28) starting 17th in Platinum Cup, Ludovico Manfredi (#27) starting sixth in Gold Cup and Andres Cisneros (#25) also in Gold Cup class, starting eighth.
From the very start, race one was a wild event, with several incidents and yellow flags keeping the pole sitter McKenzie from getting too far ahead of the field. Henrique Cisneros played a patient game, keeping the pressure on Pena, and later, Marco Cirone, hoping to force them into a mistake – all while keeping third through fifth place behind him.
“This is one of the better races we’ve had this year,” enthused Cisneros. “Marco made an aggressive move at the start so I slotted in behind him. Then I made a move on Pena in turn three that he wasn’t expecting. On the second restart, it seemed as though Marco didn’t have enough heat in his tires and was having problems, so I knew I could make a move on him. I put a lot of pressure on him and he overcooked it in turn five and I ended up in second. It was a great race, the top five guys were neck and neck!”
Eduardo Cisneros got by Mitch Landry early in the race to take the Gold Cup class lead and didn’t look back.
“I had a good start and I felt as though I had a jump on Mitch so I got him in turn one,” explained Cisneros. “After that, I just entered a higher level of concentration, which I’d never achieved, so I was in the zone the whole race - I just managed to leave fear at home today. I trusted the course and the line – if you stay on the line, the car sticks. We have great tires and great cars and they do the job.”
Ray Arthur finished 15th in Platinum, Ludovico Manfredi and Andres Cisneros finished 6th & 7th in Gold Class.
The second race of the weekend was a 31-lap contest between McKenzie and Henrique Cisneros, again starting first and second. Cisneros, mindful of his championship lead, ran a hard and smart race, taking the second place points instead of risking a bonsai move on McKenzie.
“Tim was flying out there,” said Cisneros. “I was just trying to keep up; we were laying down some quick laps. We immediately pulled away from the field, the two of us. I kept hoping I’d have an opportunity in traffic, but he was faster than me in some key places and I couldn’t get a run on him. All in all, though, it was a great race. But it’s consistency that matters now and I have a good lead in the championship”
Eduardo Cisneros started on the pole position in the second race and stayed in front, once again finishing ahead of Gold Cup championship leader Madison Snow.
“I didn’t have a great start,” said Cisneros. “I made it a point to stay behind some of the Platinum Cup cars and keep the gap to Madison. I started taking it a little easy and told the guys to tell me when he started getting closer, then I had to really start to push again. I kept my concentration and had a good race.“
Ray Arthur finished 17th in Platinum, Ludovico Manfredi and Andres Cisneros finished 4th & 5th in Gold Class.
Team owner Ramez Wahab is more than happy with the Team’s success.
“We had another great weekend,” said Wahab. “It’s mid season and we are leading both the Team and Driver Championship in Platinum and are second in Team and Driver Championship in Gold Class. Henrique and Eduardo did what they are supposed to do, Henrique to race hard and yet be conservative to ensure his championship lead, while Eduardo is in the “go for it” position and win as many races as possible. That’s exactly what happened, job well done.”
NGT Motorsport will be back on the track for Rounds 10 and 11 of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama on August 19 and 20, as part of the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase at Road America. To see all the results for NGT Motorsport and for more information on the team, visit http://www.ngtmotorsport.com/.