Strong second-placed start for Sargent, McElrea in US debut
REIGNING Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia champion Thomas Sargent has starred in his debut performance in the United States.
The rising star from Young, in country New South Wales, finished second in each of the opening two races of the Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America Championship.
In what doubled as the debut for champion Aussie team McElrea Racing in the series, Sargent qualified fourth for race one however made up two spots early to finish second behind eventual winner Riley Dickinson from Kelly-Moss Racing.
He then started the second race from the outside of the front row and again finished second, just four seconds behind winner Dickinson after 20 laps and 40 minutes of racing.
As a result Sargent sits second in the championship standings heading into the series’ next round in California, supporting the Long Beach Grand Prix, this April.
McElrea’s second car, driven by Canadian open-wheel graduate Thomas Nepveu, finished 14th in race one and a strong 11th in race two to cap off a solid overall debut weekend for the team in North American competition.
“It’s been a great start to our North American adventure,” Team Owner Andy McElrea said from Sebring.
“It’s awesome to know we’re in the mix in a very competitive field and to get a pair of podium finishes first time out is exactly what we were looking for.
“Thomas did a great job and drove mistake-free all weekend. It’s going to be an unpredictable season with such a variety of circuits and such a big field so starting strongly was important for us.
“The team has gelled quickly and the weekend went smoothly so we’re really pleased with the start and looking forward to building on this for the remainder of the year.”
McElrea and Sargent won’t be the only Porsche Motorsport Australia graduates racing in the US this year, with Michelin Sprint Challenge competitor Madeline Stewart recently confirmed to be contesting a full season of Sprint Challenge in the ‘States this year.
This weekend is a bumper one for Porsche Motorsport, with the headline acts at Sebring being the 1000-mile opener of the FIA World Endurance Championship and the iconic Sebring 12 Hour.
Porsche Penske Motorsport will field a pair of Porsche 963 entries in both races this weekend, with the FIA WEC portion available to be viewed on Stan Sport and the IMSA race streamed live, via IMSA.TV.