Memo Gidley and Alexander Koreiba were determined not to let another victory slip away in the IMSA Prototype Challenge. They made sure by putting on a dominant display Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Starting from the pole position Gidley earned the day before in the No. 23 AL Autosport with JDC MotorSports Duqueine D08 Nissan, the duo cruised to their first series win in the race for LMP3 cars that ran caution-free.
The final margin of victory was 41.754 seconds over Tonis Kasemets, who charged from the back of the field twice to take second place in the No. 60 Wulver Racing Ligier JS P320 Nissan.
The AL Autosport deal pairing the veteran Gidley with promising newcomer Koreiba wasn’t consummated until just before the season opener in January at Daytona International Speedway.
Gidley won the pole there as well, and the No. 23 finished a solid third in the race featuring wet-dry-wet conditions that left the drivers wanting more. They satisfied that desire on Sunday.
Gidley built a comfortable cushion of nearly 10 seconds before pitting to turn the car over to Koreiba just past the halfway point of the 90-minute event. It was lights out after that.
Kasemets, meanwhile, was running his own race – literally.
After winning the Daytona opener with Bruce Hamilton, the Estonian drove solo in the No. 60 Ligier on Sunday. He started last in the 16-car field, having not turned a lap in practice or qualifying.
By Lap 6, Kasemets zoomed to fifth place but was forced to pit soon after to replace his left-rear tire and dropped back to 13th.
On a mission to dedicate his race to the people of Ukraine, Kasemets fought back once more and led for more than 20 minutes before making his mandatory refueling stop with 20 minutes remaining.
He appeared destined for a third-place finish until Patrick Kujala ran out of fuel on the last lap, allowing Kasemets to seize the second spot overall and first among Bronze Cup competitors.
Kujala ended up coasting across the finish line fifth in the No. 77 O’Gara Motorsport/Change Racing/US RaceTronics Ligier he shared with Brian Thienes.
Kasemets and the No. 60 Wulver Ligier retained the overall points lead by 20 over Gidley, Koreiba and the No. 23 AL Autosport Duqueine after two rounds.