Scott Hargrove won his first career start in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin, edging series veteran Chris Green after a stirring, race-long duel Saturday, May 17 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Hargrove, 19, from Surrey, British Columbia, beat Green by .840 of a second in the No. 69 OpenRoad Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car after a two-lap final shootout for victory due to a late caution period. Etienne Borgeat finished third in the No. 2 GT Racing entry under cloudy skies and unseasonably cool temperatures around 10 degrees (50 F).
Junior open-wheel standout Hargrove is making a one-off entry into the single-make Porsche series this weekend, driving Christian Chia’s OpenRoad Racing entry. He found speed almost immediately in damp conditions Friday and dry conditions today.
“I’m just getting used to the power of these cars,” Hargrove said. “It’s a lot more power than I’m used to, especially learning the car in the wet. How much throttle you can you give it and knowing that the Michelin tires are going to stick. I was really surprised at how much traction you had in the wet.
“Just working away at it. It was actually good to learn in the wet because as soon as it dried out, I was already comfortable with the car and I could push it even further than I probably would have if I never got a drive in the wet. All in all, it was a great weekend, and I’m really thrilled to be here and racing in these Porsches.”
Hargrove started from pole but lost the lead to fellow front-row starter and Pro Mazda rival Spencer Pigot and Green entering the first turn on the 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit. But race officials ruled Pigot jumped the start in his No. 21 Alegra Motorsports Porsche, and he was forced to serve a drive-through penalty.
That elevated Montreal resident Green to first in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports 911 GT3 Cup car, with Hargrove second. The thrilling duel between Green and Hargrove was on with about 40 minutes remaining in the 45-minute race, and it never relented.
The duo ran within a second or less of each other for the remainder of the race, often just centimeters apart in nose-to-tail formation on the undulating, challenging CTMP circuit.
Hargrove just missed making contact with Green in Turn 5 while contemplating a pass attempt for the lead approximately 19 minutes into the race. But Hargrove tried again and made the pass stick just three turns later on the same lap, in Turn 8, and never trailed thereafter.
But Green and a late full-course yellow period didn’t make the victory easy for Hargrove.
Green fell about one second behind Hargrove with 20 minutes remaining, but he was running within centimeters of the back bumper of Hargrove’s car with 13 minutes left when Pigot and Perry Bortolotti collided exiting Turn 10. The contact sent Bortolotti into a half-spin into the tire barrier, and he only made it down the front straight before a problem created in the incident forced him to stop his No. 84 Mark Motors Racing Porsche along the inside wall in Turn 1, triggering a full-course yellow.
The race resumed with approximately three minutes remaining, setting up a two-lap shootout for the win between Hargrove and Green. Hargrove got a strong jump on the restart and built that advantage over Green on the final two trips around the circuit.
“Scott did a fantastic job, props to him in Race 1,” Green said. “And coming into the first race of the series, it’s a repeat of last year. So I need to step back in and hopefully go for the hunt tomorrow. I’m super-happy.
“With the new Pfaff Motorsports team, everybody has done a really good job to step up and make our little team competitive, and we’ll hopefully fight for the win tomorrow.”
Marco Cirone of Toronto was the top Platinum Masters (age 45 and older) finisher, fourth overall in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing entry. Carlos De Quesada of Alegra Motorsports and Ludovico Manfredi of ANSA Motorsports rounded out the Platinum Masters podium.
Jerimy Daniel, from Candiac, Quebec, was the top Gold Cup finisher (2010-13 cars) in his first series start in the No. 75 TRC Porsche. Ilker Starck of Toronto was second in Gold in the No. 48 SCB Racing/Downtown Porsche entry, with Tim Sanderson third in the No. 07 Alegra Motorsports/Northwest Atlantic Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
Chuck Harris, from Tampa, Fla., was the top Silver Cup finisher (2005 ½ to 2009 cars) in the No. 50 Alegra Motorsports entry.
The second 45-minute race of the weekend is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. (ET) Sunday. Green will start from the pole due to his race-record lap of 1 minute, 20.617 seconds today. Hargrove will start second, setting the stage for another exciting duel.
These are the first two rounds of the season of the 10-round Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin season sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA).
SCOTT HARGROVE (Winner, No. 69 OpenRoad Racing): “I’m just getting used to the power of these cars. It’s a lot more power than I’m used to, especially learning the car in the wet. How much throttle you can you give it and knowing that the Michelin tires are going to stick. I was really surprised at how much traction you had in the wet. Just working away at it. It was actually good to learn in the wet because as soon as it dried out, I was already comfortable with the car and I could push it even further than I probably would have if I never got a drive in the wet. All in all, it was a great weekend, and I’m really thrilled to be here and racing in these Porsches.”
CHRIS GREEN (Second, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports): “Scott did a fantastic job, props to him in Race 1. And coming into the first race of the series, it’s a repeat of last year. So I need to step back in and hopefully go for the hunt tomorrow. I’m super-happy. Second day ever in the car in the dry. Yesterday was the first. A lot to learn, the team has a lot to learn. But with the new Pfaff Motorsports team, everybody has done a really good job to step up and make our little team competitive, and we’ll hopefully fight for the win tomorrow.”
ETIENNE BORGEAT (Third, No. 2 GT Racing): “It was really great to start the season on the podium. After last season, I was really disappointed for many different reasons. But I had really high expectations for this season, and starting on the podium is what I was looking for. For sure, the kids in the front are in better shape than I am, so to run for 45 minutes is something I need to work on, for sure. But I will be fighting for the podium this year!”
MARCO CIRONE (First, Platinum Masters, No. 88 Mark Motors Racing): “It was cold! And then when I got in the car, I turned hot. It was a very fun race, and it was very competitive. The leaders just looked like they were making distance on us, and I stuck right behind Etienne (Borgeat), and he just drove flawlessly. I tried, and I was waiting for him to make a mistake and I got behind him. Then I got real close a couple of times, but I just couldn’t do it. He drove an incredible race, and I couldn’t get around him. Congratulations to him and everyone else, and hopefully we will get them tomorrow!”
CARLOS DE QUESADA (Second, Platinum Masters, No. 22 Alegra Motorsports): “It was a good race at the start. I was hanging there with Perry (Bortolotti) and J-F (Laberge). We got that full-course yellow. The restart went well. I saw Spencer (Pigot) coming behind me, so I let him go ahead. On the last lap, coming around Turn 8, I overshot it a little bit, got a little too aggressive, went off and lost two positions. Tomorrow is another day.”
JERIMY DANIEL (First, Gold Cup, No. 75 TRC): “I really liked the race today. It was a lot of fun and not too hard with a lot of laps in front. I was held up for part of the race by Christina (Nielsen). She was a little bit slower than me, but because she had a Platinum car she was a bit faster in the apex of the turns. But I led a complete lap and had a really good time.”
ILKER STARCK (Second, Gold Cup, No. 48 SCB Racing/Downtown Porsche): “It was great. It was a great race. We were closing in on the leader and almost had it, and that’s what racing is all about. We were really excited to get the car faster and faster toward the end of the race. I guess the yellow didn’t quite help us, but we’ll take second place. I want to thank Downtown Porsche for supporting us this year, and Michelin Tire is a great tire.”
TIM SANDERSON (Third, Gold Cup, No. 07 Alegra Motorsports/Northwest Atlantic Motorsports): “We had a little trouble with the car today, and it didn’t quite work out the way we thought. But we had a little better finish. It was close racing all the way, and everyone was within a couple of car lengths of each other at the end, and it just made for good racing.”
CHUCK HARRIS (First, Silver Cup, No. 50 Alegra Motorsports): “This was my first time in the series, first time at the track. What a great track and what a great series. I really enjoyed myself. It was good, and this car was great for the track. The GT3 Cup on this track really performs well, so it made it a ton of fun. Those yellows were actually pretty nice to have my first time out. I was getting kind of tired, so it was a moment to regroup.”
KEITH BASS (Second, Silver Cup, No. 49 Alegra Motorsports): “This was fantastic! Fourth time in the car, first race in the series, and I absolutely love it. Love the car, fantastic track. It was my first time at the track, too, but I love it. It was a matter of staying out of the way of the faster guys and learning the track. But it was a blast. Love it, love it.”
Source. Grand Solutions