Team News: Kauffmann Takes Both Weekend Victories at Road Atlanta for NGT
HENRIQUE CISNEROS CELEBRATES PLATINUM CUP CHAMPIONSHIP WHILE BROTHER EDUARDO FINISHES SECOND IN THE GOLD CUP TITLE CHASE
BRASELTON, GA (October 2, 2011) – It was another great NGT weekend in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama finale at Road Atlanta, as Carlos Kauffmann broke out of a season-long slump to take both race victories, while Andres Cisneros earned his first ever Gold Cup podium finish.
Henrique Cisneros qualified and finished second in both races to solidify his domination of the Platinum Cup class, while Eduardo Cisneros earned a second-place finish in race one to earn a second-place spot in the championship.
For Kauffmann, driving the #24 NGT Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, it was a relief to finally get a pole position – and a track record with a time of 1:25.737 and only three/tenths of a second separating the top three. He was happy to start ahead of all the championship contenders but was also thinking about Kelly Moss Racing’s Tim McKenzie, third in the Platinum Cup point standings, who missed the weekend’s races.
“I’ve been fourth, fifth, third, second, all year long,” said Kauffmann. “I went out with no expectations, but I pulled it off! I looked at my data last night and it paid off, but it’s amazing how close we all are, just a few tenths! On such a big track, that’s nothing. But I’m sorry McKenzie’s not here. In the race, I’ll try to keep my line – I’m not accustomed to being first anymore. Be patient, have fun – and don’t let Henrique around me!”
Henrique Cisneros, in the #26 NGT Motorsport Porsche qualified on the front row alongside Kauffmann. In the Gold Cup class, Eduardo Cisneros (#29) qualified third, with Andres Cisneros (#25) starting eighth.
It was a story of redemption in Round 14 of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama, as Carlos Kauffmann, who moved from Gold Cup to Platinum Cup in 2011, took his long-awaited first victory in the class.
For Kauffmann, it was as much relief as happiness to put his #24 NGT Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the winner’s circle. Since making the move at the start of the season to the more powerful Platinum Cup car, he has only two podium finishes at Road America – so this victory was that much more special, to his family as well as to him.
“My daughter is going to be so happy!” said Kauffmann. “She said to me ‘poppy, you got so many first places last year, what happened in this one?’ Finally I got one for her! We were both fast and when I was out in front, I just kept thinking how much I wanted to close out this year with pole positions and wins. It was unbelievable fun today! I was inspired, I wanted it so much.”
Teammate and Platinum Cup champion Henrique Cisneros chased Kauffmann all afternoon, unable to get close.
“Carlos was flying,” said Cisneros. “We had such a gap to the cars behind that I kept wondering why Carlos was pushing so hard!”
The Gold Cup title had been decided as well, with 15-year-old Madison Snow taking the driver title. But second and third in the championship were up for grabs, so Eduardo Cisneros knew a good finish could vault him over Mitch Landry for second place in the driver title race. Cisneros and Snow diced with newcomer Michael Mills during the entire race, with Mills taking the win, Cisneros second and Snow third.
“It was an incredible race!” said Cisneros. “It was the closest we’ve ever been in qualifying – I was in third, only three/tenths of a second off the pole. It was a very close, clean race. It was very fast and there were a few switches of positions back and forth, and I’m happy to finish second!”
Andres Cisneros finished seventh in Gold Cup class.
When the dust cleared – literally – Carlos Kauffmann had completed the weekend victory double while Madison Snow put the exclamation point on an amazing championship season in Round 15 of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama.
Kauffmann started from the pole position and kept teammate and Platinum Cup champion Henrique Cisneros behind him to take his second win of the weekend. Cisneros tried to get close to Kauffmann, only to spin in turn 10 late in the race. Cisneros managed to collect himself quickly enough to stay ahead of Kelly Moss Motorsports’ Rob Walton, who finished behind Cisneros for his first podium of the year.
Most of the action happened behind the top three, with several drivers spinning as the track got increasingly slicker. Muscle Milk’s Mark Bullitt was running in fourth when he spun and finished 10th, good enough to earn him third place in the year-end driver’s championship. Fernando Peña survived his own on- track incident to finish 14th in the race and second in the championship.
But the day belonged to Kauffmann, who enjoyed ending the season-long victory drought – and enjoyed duking it out with his teammate.
“Finally, again!” said Kauffmann. “The race was actually pretty quiet for me. Being alone in front is not really what I enjoy about racing, but winning makes it so gratifying! I had no expectations for these races and tried to accomplish what I didn’t do all year long. I got my speed again and my confidence, so I have decided to come back and do GT3 again next year!”
“Carlos and I were having a lot of fun out there,” said Cisneros. “Whenever he was faster than me, he would slow a little bit so I would catch up – he was messing with me the whole time. At one point, he let off too much and I went in for a pass, hit the kitty litter and spun. As I was facing the wrong way on the track, I saw Rob Walton coming, so I gunned it out of there to keep second.”
Eduardo Cisneros started fourth, with brother Andres starting eighth in Gold Cup class. Eduardo encountered problems right at the green flag, as he spun on cold tires and collected fellow championship contender Mitch Landry. But brother Andres was there to take up the Cisneros mantle, as he battled his way through the debris and made his way up to third at the finish – his first ever GT3 podium finish.
“I think it was a combination of cold tires and the car getting away from me,” said Eduardo Cisneros. “I got sideways and I got hit. I feel bad that I ruined someone else’s day, unfortunately that’s race. But this is the best race of the season for me, to see Andres get his first podium!
“This is not a bad way to end the season!” said Andres Cisneros. “I’ve been working at this for the past two years, so it feels great. And there’s a lot to look forward to for next year. After the accident at the start, I just worked at being consistent and keeping a lead on the guys behind me. I pretty much ran by myself and had a very comfortable race!”
At the end of the race, Eduardo Cisneros and Mitch Landry finished in a tie for second place in the driver’s championship, but since Cisneros had more victories, he secured the second position in the title race.
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