Lamborghini ST: Double podium for Ashton Harrison at Watkins Glen
With two podiums in Watkins Glen over the weekend, Ashton Harrison maintained the ProAm lead in the championship standings in Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America, with two double-headers now left on the calendar.
Just a few days after the third round of the SRO GT World Challenge championship at VIR, Ashton Harrison was back on track for redemption: and she delivered another brilliant performance at the wheel of the #25 Harrison Contracting Company with Wayne Taylor Racing Lamborghini Huracan. Harrison - a veteran of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America one-make series, with multiple class wins and a historic victory at the 2019 World Finals in the LB Cup class - was third in the 2021 Am category. In 2022, Harrison returned to the ProAm class, sharing the car with Tom Long, as the duo entered the third round in the class points' lead. “I’m super excited for Watkins Glen", Harrison commented before the races. "It’s one of my favorite tracks in the U.S. with so many technical, high-commitment corners." "WTR has been strong this season and I’m looking forward to getting back in the car with Tom [Long] and continuing to extend our lead in the championship. Tom and I have been a strong pairing all season long, and we want to keep the momentum going as we cross into the second half of the LST North America season.” The weekend at the iconic Watkins Glen venue started off on the right foot for Harrison and Long, who were second in free practice 1, before Harrison put the #25 Huracan in third place in Qualifying 1. Long followed with the sixth fastest time for Q2. Supporting the Sahlen Six Hours of the Glen, Lamborghini Super Trofeo held its first race of the weekend on Friday, when Danny Formal led the overall race from pole - before an early Safety Car for debris freezed the action after a contact that involved the #53 entry of Jordan Missig at the Bus Stop chicane. ProAm pole sitter Dubets, who was starting third overall, also dropped down the order, paving the way to Sebastian Carazo and Ashton Harrison in the #47 and #25 Lamborghinis. Harrison had a strong first half of the race once the green flag was waved again and kept trialing the class leader until the pit stop on lap 10, when she came in the pitlane having temporarily led the ProAm race. She handed over to Tom Long, who settled back into second after the pit cycle and brought home a second place behind Bryan Ortiz. In the Pro class, Formal held on to the lead until the pit stop, when the #88 Taurino Racing by D Motorsports of Giano Taurino managed to snatch the lead. Second placed throughout the opening stages, Patrick Kujala was handed two drive through penalties - one for starting out of position and the second for pit minimum time infringement - and dropped out of contention. Once behind the wheel of the #1 WTR Lamborghini, Kyle Marcelli chased and eventually passed Taurino with 10 minutes to go, after the latter had been struggling with tyre deg. Taurino lost the podium after being passed also by solo-driver Edoardo Liberati and Nelson Piquet Jr, while Marcelli/Formal crossed the finish line to claim the Pro class victory.
In LB Cup, British racer Charlie Martin claimed her first podium in the series - having been demore from first in class after a penalty that still resulted in a remarkable second place. Despite starting from sixth - and P15 overall - Long and Harrison still brought home a class podium after a tightly fought Race 2.
ProAm entry Jaden Conwright started from overall pole position but was soon down to fourth place - still retaining class lead - after the first lap, when the Safety Car was deployed for the incident of Bryson Lew at the Bus Stop Chicane. Race 1 winner Kyle Marcelli had already moved into the Pro class lead, preceding Capitanio and Liddy - as ProAm crews locked out the top positions in the first half of the race. At the wheel of the #25 Harrison Contracting by WRT Huracan, Tom Long was quickly making up positions and slotted into 12th overall, fifth in class. At the pit window, Marcelli stopped early and handed over to Formal, who then re-claimed the overall lead on lap 15, after the round of pit stops. Long pitted on lap 12 and Harrison took over the #25 machine from fifth place in class. In the second stint, Kujala and Piquet Jr made up positions and gained second and third place respectively, while Damon Oakley dropped to sixth oce the Pro drivers recovered. With a great second stint, Ashton Harrison was also on a mission and reached third place in class on lap 18 - just before the final Full Course Yellow declared the end of the race following the spin of the #7 MCR Racing Lamborghini of Caleb Bacon. Formal/Marcelli secured their second race win of the weekend, ahead of Piscopo/Kujala and Piquet. Ockley/Liddy managed to finish on top in ProAm, preceding Ortiz/Carazo and Harrison/Long. With two ProAm podiums, Ashton Harrison and Tom Long therefore maintained the lead in the class standings, four points ahead of the Ortiz/Carazo duo. “Tom and I leave Watkins Glen still in the points lead. Not by much, but it’s enough" - Harrison said. "I think the consistent podiums and continuing to fight for the win will help us", she continued. "The first place might switch back and forth between any competitor at this point because it’ll be a tight championship up until the end. I’m happy with a couple podiums and still digging for that win, I think we’re totally capable of doing it." "Tom did an amazing job this week and Dave, our engineer, helped us set up a great car. I’m looking forward to my favorite track in the United States, which is Road America, so head down and looking forward to our next event.” "For Ashton and me, we feel like we are on the heels of our next race win" - echoed Long. "Coming away with hardware in both races this weekend is very meaningful in the points championship, but we certainly want to make it back to that top step! Onto Road America!” Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America returns to action on 4/7 August at Road America, with now two double-headers left on the North American calendar before the World Finals in Portimao, Portugal.