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Prototype Challenge

Kasemets Holds Off Thompson, Kujala for CTMP Win

Tonis Kasemets claims victory in Sunday’s 90-minute IMSA Prototype Challenge race at CTMP…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Tonis Kasemets showed he had the measure of the IMSA Prototype Challenge field at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday. Twice.

The Estonian dominated the first hour at CTMP, then fended off a late challenge following the only full-course caution of the 90-minute race for LMP3 cars. He won for the second straight time this season and extended his championship lead.

Starting from the pole position, Kasemets steadily pulled away from the pack in the No. 60 Wulver Racing Ligier JS P320 Nissan, building a cushion of more than 50 seconds as the race ran under green-flag conditions.

Until, that is, Danny Formal slid off track in Turn 5 in the No. 46 CT Motorsports Duqueine D08 Nissan with just under 25 minutes remaining to bring out the only yellow of the race on the 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course.

Racing restarted with 13 minutes to go, and soon after, Parker Thompson (No. 14 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier) and Patrick Kujala (No. 77 O’Gara Motorsport/Change Racing/US RaceTronics Ligier) maneuvered through lapped traffic and were hot on Kasemets’ tail.

Both contenders closed within a half-second of the leader until Kasemets responded.

He stretched the gap to more than two seconds before easing off on the final lap and crossing the finish line 0.512 seconds up on Thompson, who shared the No. 14 with Lance Willsey.

The 48-year-old race winner was one of only three solo driver entries in the race.

Knowing the demands of CTMP, Kasemets worked on his endurance by going cross-country skiing in the interim between the last Prototype Challenge race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May and this weekend’s event.

It was a remarkable recovery to second place for the No. 14 Sean Creech entry, considering the team was assessed a stop-and-go penalty for its pit stop falling 0.5 seconds shy of the minimum time.

Thompson, the 24-year-old native from Red Deer, Alberta, charged back to reach the second step of the podium to the delight of the Canadian crowd.

With the win, Kasemets expanded his points lead to 120. Memo Gidley and Alexander Koreiba, who finished fifth Sunday in the No. 23 AL Autosport with JDC MotorSports Duqueine, are second in points.

The No. 77 of Kujala and Brian Thienes crossed the finish line in third place, but was moved to the rear of the field when post-race technical inspection revealed that the plank on the bottom of the car exceeded maximum permitted wear.


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