So the challenge is simple for Hargrove’s rivals entering Rounds 5 and 6 on June 30-July 2 at Watkins Glen International: Rein him in.
2014 Platinum Cup champion Hargrove, from Surrey, British Columbia, swept Rounds 3 and 4 on June 10-12 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal to take a two-point lead, 66-64, over Zach Robichon in the Platinum Cup championship standings. The two rounds in Montreal also included the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama for the first-ever joint events between the two International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Single-Make Series, and Hargrove also swept the overall race wins in both rounds in the No. 28 OpenRoad Racing Porsche.
Both 45-minute races at Watkins Glen will be joint events between the Canadian and USA series for the second and final time this year. Hargrove and the rest of the field in the Platinum Cup and Gold Cup classes will face tough competition – and heavy traffic – from a combined field of 37 cars on the 11-turn, 3.4-mile circuit in the picturesque Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.
This is the first-ever event in the United States for the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama.
Round 5 is scheduled to start at 4:45 p.m. (ET) Friday, July 1. Round 6 is scheduled for 9:10 a.m. Saturday, July 2. Practice is scheduled for Thursday, June 30, with qualifying at 10 a.m. Friday, July 1.
While Hargrove looked imperious in his victories at Montreal, the Platinum Cup championship race still remains very tight among four drivers.
Robichon, from Ottawa, has been a rookie sensation in the No. 78 Mark Motors Racing Porsche, winning Round 2 on May 22 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). He also has recorded two third-place finishes in a strong show of consistency.
2015 Platinum Cup runner-up Daniel Morad, from Toronto, is third with 61 points, just five behind Hargrove, in the No. 17 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports Porsche. Morad won Round 1 on May 21 at CTMP and pushed Hargrove hard to the finish in Round 3 at Montreal, finishing second in the series and overall by just .557 of a second.
That was the third duel this season in the budding rivalry between young Canadian stars Hargrove and Morad. Former world karting champion Morad edged Hargrove by .308 of a second in a thrilling Round 1. The two drivers collided while battling for the lead on the first lap of Round 2, eliminating both from the race.
Three-time reigning Platinum Masters champion Marco Cirone, from Toronto, is chasing for overall Platinum Cup championship honors against drivers half his age in a very strong start to the season in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche. Cirone is fourth with 55 points – 11 behind Hargrove – with two overall podium finishes, including second in Round 4 at Montreal.
A renewed commitment to fitness during the offseason has produced even more speed and consistency for Cirone, who leads the Platinum Masters standings in a quest for his fourth consecutive title in that class. Cirone also is competing in selected Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama events this season and is a contender for the inaugural IMSA North American Cup, awarded to the driver who scores the most combined points in the American and Canadian series.
Etienne Borgeat will look to pounce on any podium opportunities created by trouble among the “big four” of Platinum Cup. Borgeat, from Montreal, is fifth in the standings with 49 points with a best finish of fourth this season in the No. 2 Porsche Lauzon/GT Racing Porsche.
Attention also will be focused on series rookie Valerie Chiasson, from Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, in the No. 27 Porsche Prestige/GT Racing Porsche. She is the first full-time female competitor in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama.
Shaun McKaigue will look to extend his championship lead in Gold Cup competition. 2011 Gold Cup champion McKaigue, from Gilford, Ontario, is enjoying a renaissance this season in the No. 34 Fiorano Racing Porsche, with three victories and a runner-up finish.
McKaigue leads Bruno Chapinotti, 78-72, in the standings. Chapinotti, from Bowmanville, Ontario, has one victory in the No. 03 DFC Motorsport Porsche.
Martin Harvey, from Berthierville, Quebec, will seek his first Gold Cup victory of the season in the No. 08 Wingho Racing Porsche.
Practice: 9:30-10 a.m. (ET) and 1:10-1:50 p.m. Thursday, June 30
Qualifying: 10-10:20 a.m. Friday, July 1
Round 5 (45 minutes): 4:45-5:30 p.m. Friday, July 1
Round 6 (45 minutes): 9:10-9:55 a.m. Saturday, July 2
Driver Autograph Session: 12:30-1 p.m. Friday, July 1, Yokohama Tire Service Centre in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge combined paddock
Live streaming: Both races at http://www.imsa.com
Live timing: All on-track sessions at scoring.imsa.com and on the official IMSA App for iOS, Android and Windows
Twitter: Live text commentary from all sessions at @IMSALive
Source. LST Marketing