Kay van Berlo overtook pole-sitter Max Root to win the first Porsche Carrera Cup North America presented by The Cayman Islands race of the weekend at Watkins Glen and seize the drivers’ championship lead from Seb Priaulx in the process.
Van Berlo qualified third on the grid but was given a boost when Priaulx, who started alongside Root on the front row, was ordered to serve a drive-through penalty for changing his line at the start of the 45-minute contest.
The Kelly-Moss Road & Race driver then tracked Root’s Morespeed-Wright Motorsports car through the opening stages before out-braking the American into the Heel of the Boot right-hand turn after 16 minutes.
Van Berlo extended the gap through a combination of his own quick lap times and Root coming under pressure from a group of cars led by TJ Fischer and Riley Dickinson.
Root managed to hold off his pursuers to claim second place, nine seconds behind van Berlo who earned his third win of the season.
Van Berlo’s 25-point score elevated the Dutchman ahead of his Kelly-Moss teammate Priaulx in the standings heading into the sixth race of the season on Saturday.
Priaulx was running just outside the top 20 after his penalty but recovered to finish eighth and limit van Berlo’s points gain.
Fischer completed the podium after fighting Dickinson to the finish line, while Keen took fifth for the 311RS Motorsports team.
Dylan Murry was sixth for BGB Motorsport ahead of Parker Thompson and Priaulx, who secured eighth with an overtake on Sebastian Carazo on the final lap.
Efrin Castro ended Alan Metni’s unbeaten start to the 2021 season in the Pro-Am category, as the Hardpoint EBM driver took a handful of points out of the series leader.
Metni chased Castro right to the checkered flag but came up 0.188 seconds short, while John Goetz finished on the class podium.
Pro-Am 991 division honors went to Jeffrey Majkrzak, who brought pole-sitter Matt Halcombe’s three-race win streak to an end.
RESULTS: Race 1