Persaud breaks Group 4 lap record; tops rivals in final race

The KTM X-Bow set the fastest time of the day (Photo: News Room/Shaconeil Burnette/November 5, 2023)

Persaud set the fastest time of the day (1:16.691s) on the second lap in the Group 4/Unlimited race to better compatriot Mark Vieira’s previous record of 1:17.527s, set by the Mazda RX-8 at the South Dakota Grand Prix last July.

He then topped the competition to close off the iconic November race meet in grand style, with thousands of fans cheering on the action.

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PHOTOS: Winning moment 

Persaud praised his team for the success, highlighting that “we just run a reliable car consistently and that was the plan.”

“I’m just so happy that the last race came off so well, because you know a lot of people came out to see the big cars so I think it was good success, but it was Roger (Yuen), John and the guys really. I just show up and drive, so I was happy to be given a car that could finish all the laps, which is key now at South Dakota- having something that is reliable,” Persaud told the media.

Vishok Persaud (second left) and members of his mechanical team (Photo: News Room/Shaconeil Burnette/November 5, 2023)

The first Group 4 race was red-flagged at the completion of four of the eight scheduled laps, with several drivers encountering mechanical issues and having to dropped out.

When race officials signaled the drivers off for ‘unsafe track conditions’, Jamaican Doug Gore, in his KIA Rio, was leading, followed by Team CAMS’ Mohan Rangasammy in his Mazda RX-7, Persaud, and Lennard Samaroo of Team CAMS in his Mazda Miata.

Race officials awarded those positions to the respective drivers.

Vishok Persaud is congratulated by President Irfaan Ali after his win (Photo: Office of the President)

Trinidad’s Franklyn Boodram (Renault RS01) and Guyanese Gavin Gayadin (Mazda RX-7) came off after three and two laps respectively, while Vieira, Guyanese Andrew King (Mazda RX-7) and Mark Maloney (Mazda RX-3) of Barbados developed issues even before completing a lap, thereby abandoning their mission.

The second Group 4 race was also red-flagged on the first lap following an accident involving Gore and Guyanese Kevin Jeffrey (Mitsubishi Evo), forcing both competitors out of the final race, which was dominated by Persaud.

Vishok Persaud (left) and staff of ENet (Photo: News Room/Shaconeil Burnette/November 5, 2023)

Cheered on by family members and staff, the ENet CEO put on a show in fading light at South Dakota, prevailing in a tight exchange with Vieira, who spun off on lap three, but came back to take a distant second.

Rangasammy, who was also making a spirited challenge for the top spot after starting on pole in the absence of Gore, veered off the track in the first lap. Samaroo took third, being the only other driver to complete the full course.