Hargrove Turns Tables on Morad for Overall Porsche Victory at Watkins Glen

Scott HargroveScott Hargrove added another winning chapter to his intensifying rivalry with fellow Canadian Daniel Morad, driving to victory July 2 in the combined Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama round at Watkins Glen International.

Hargrove, from Surrey, British Columbia, passed pole sitter Morad with 21 minutes remaining in the 45-minute race and drove away to victory in a race that finished under caution. Morad won Friday on the 11-turn, 3.4-mile circuit at Watkins Glen, with Hargrove finishing second.

Zach Robichon, from Ottawa, finished third overall Saturday and completed an overall podium sweep by Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama drivers in the second-ever joint race between the two International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned Single-Make Series.

“The car was just fantastic,” Hargrove said. “I’m excited to win here in the States with this joint event and with IMSA here. I just hope we have more events like this in the future.”

Porsche GT3 Canada drivers won all four combined rounds this season. Hargrove triumphed in both rounds June 10-12 at Montreal and today, with Morad capturing the 45-minute race Friday at Watkins Glen.

Andrew Longe, from Naples, Florida, finished fourth overall and earned his first career Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama victory. Chris Green, from Montreal, rounded out the top five overall and was second in the USA series.

Platinum Cup (GT3CAN)

2014 Platinum Cup champion Hargrove earned his third victory of the season in the No. 28 OpenRoad Racing Porsche after another hard-fought duel with Morad.

Morad, from Toronto, maintained a gap of about one-half second over Hargrove during the first eight minutes of the race in the No. 17 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports Porsche. Then the first of two full-course yellows was triggered by an incident involving Oscar Arroyo and Orey Fidani.

The top two continued to march in lockstep around the track after the restart, with Morad leading Hargrove by .624 of a second with 26 minutes remaining. Hargrove pulled closer four minutes later, and he and Morad split the lapped car of Fidani in Turn 5 during in a breathtaking, clean move that set the stage for further fireworks later that lap.

Morad and Hargrove stayed side by side entering the iconic “Boot” section of the circuit. Their two cars touched in Turn 8, the “Heel” of the “Boot,” with Hargrove nudging ahead. He finished the decisive pass of Morad in Turn 9, exiting the “Boot,” and never trailed thereafter.

GT3 Canada Platinum Cup championship leader Hargrove eased away over the closing laps, leading by 3.637 seconds with 10 minutes remaining. Morad appeared to get another chance when David Baker’s stopped car in Turn 4 triggered the second full-course caution of the race with six minutes remaining.

But Baker’s car dropped fluid on the track, so there wasn’t enough time to resume green-flag racing.

“We had so much pace in the beginning, and we pulled a gap,” Morad said. “I don’t know what broke in the front of the car, but it obviously slowed me down quite a bit. I think three-quarters of a second. But I’m happy with the weekend. A first and a second place. Up to second place in points. So it’s good overall for the weekend.”

Robichon lost third overall to Green on the third lap but regained the position for good just past the midway point of the race in the No. 78 Mark Motors Racing Porsche.

Cirone, from Toronto, finished fourth in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche and was the top Platinum Masters finisher.

Masters competitor Tim Sanderson, from Pickering, Ontario, rounded out the top five in the No. 07 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports Porsche.

Platinum Cup (GT3USA)

Round 7 winner Green produced a great start in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche, climbing from eighth overall to fourth on the first lap, grabbing the overall GT3USA lead.

But Longe, who started fourth overall and on the GT3USA pole, found his rhythm and calmly reeled in Green. Longe drove past Green for the lead with about 17 minutes remaining and pulled away to his first career victory in his second season in the series.

“Unbelievably exciting, but I owe it all to my team,” Longe said. “They gave me a fabulous car from day one, and the coaching and support they have given me this past year has been unbelievable, so I just can’t thank them enough.

“It’s such a competitive field. To be on the podium is one thing: to get a win is another. So it’s pretty special to be up here on the podium at Watkins Glen. I just don’t know what to say.”

2015 Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Platinum Cup champion Green completed a strong weekend with the runner-up finish, adding to his victory Friday as he competes in a limited USA schedule this season.

McKay Snow, from Lehi, Utah, earned his first career podium finish in the series in the No. 63 Wright Motorsports Porsche. He closed quickly on Green before the final caution, pulling to within .337 of a second.

“I got off to a bad start, and I just had to work my way back up to the top,” Snow said. “If we had a couple more laps, I probably would have made it up to second. Green just fell off a little bit at the end.

“The car was really good, and Wright Motorsports really put the car together well and it was consistent throughout the entire race.”

Points leader Jesse Lazare, from Montreal, finished fourth in the Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche. Lucas Catania, from Cazenovia, New York, rebounded from a first-lap exit due to an accident in Round 7 Friday to finish fifth in the No. 26 NGT Motorsport Porsche.

Platinum Masters (GT3CAN)

Cirone won from the pole for his fifth Platinum Masters victory in six starts this season and was the top overall Platinum Masters finisher in both races at this event.

But Cirone always aims to finish on the overall podium and joust with younger drivers. He got his wish late in the race, prevailing in a stirring, fender-rubbing duel with Catania for eighth overall.

“The three American drivers in front of me, boy, they were really, really quick,” Cirone said. “It was difficult to keep up. But we finished fourth overall in the Canadian series and first in Masters, so we’re happy and looking forward to Toronto.”

Sanderson tied his season-best finish of second – his fourth runner-up finish of 2016. Carlos de Quesada, from Tampa, Florida, placed third in the No. 50 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports Porsche.

Platinum Masters (GT3USA)

Fred Poordad, from San Antonio, earned his second victory of the season in the No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche. Poordad returned to the series in 2016 after a one-year hiatus.

Poordad led the class for the entire race in a smooth, powerful performance.

“I hope it’s the beginning of a new era, but I do like this track a lot,” Poordad said. “I think it’s a great track and probably one of the prettiest places to race, as well. The team did great. Wright Motorsports put a great car under me, and it felt great the whole race.

“I wish it was another 45 minutes longer, as we would probably have made our way to the front.”

Round 7 winner Jeff Mosing, from Austin, Texas, finished second in the No. 01 TOPP Racing Porsche.

Bill Peluchiwski, from Chicago, earned his third podium finish of the season after placing third in the No. 74 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche. Peluchiwski drove to the podium after being eliminated in the multi-car accident on the first lap of Round 7 Friday.

Gold Cup (GT3CAN)

Martin Harvey, from Berthierville, Quebec, completed an event sweep in the No. 08 Wingho Racing Porsche after a scintillating battle with Gold Cup rival Shaun McKaigue.

Harvey’s last victory before Round 5 on Friday was June 2015 at Toronto, where he also produced an event sweep.

McKaigue, from Gilford, Ontario, led the first 13 laps in the No. 34 Fiorano Racing Porsche. But Harvey passed him on the next lap and kept the top spot until the finish.

“I love racing when we have a big battle with Shaun,” Harvey said. We passed Shaun on the start, and Shaun passed me on the straight line, and after that we were on the back of Shaun for 10 laps. Push, push, push. And when I had the time, I passed Shaun, and that was it.”

Harvey also earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for the Canadian series driver who gained the most spots from his starting position in the race.

McKaigue, from Gilford, Ontario, finished second in the No. 34 Fiorano Racing Porsche to keep the Gold Cup championship lead.

Gold Cup (GT3USA)

Sebastian Landy, from Great Falls, Virginia, completed an event of contrasts with his third victory of the season in the No. 49 TPC Racing Porsche. He was eliminated in the multi-car crash on the first lap Friday but earned redemption with a powerful drive today, leading every lap in the class.

“Huge thanks to all the guys at TPC Racing,” Landy said. “They worked so hard to get this car back together after yesterday, and it was just bad luck that ruined our day there. To get the car back together, they pretty much worked until this morning. And to have it run so perfectly and to have such a great race was a great way to say thanks.

“We’ve been the fastest car all year, and I don’t think many people have noticed, but hopefully they start paying attention now. The Yokohama tires were great the whole time, and I was able to run qualifying pace for pretty much the entire session, which was a really great feeling. And thanks to Forto Strong Coffee for all their support this season.”

Landy also earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for the USA series driver who gained the most spots from his starting position in the race.

The victory also ended a five-race Watkins Glen winning streak for his teammate, Michael Levitas, from Baltimore. Levitas swept both events in 2014 and 2015 at The Glen and won Round 7 Friday. But he was involved in a late accident with fellow Gold Cup driver Philip Bloom, with both cars ending up in the tire barrier of the “Boot” section after contact.

Michael de Quesada, from Tampa, Florida, finished second in the No. 31 Alegra Motorsports Porsche. It was a solid rebound for de Quesada, who was slowed by damage from a multi-car accident in Round 7 Friday.

Neal Walker, from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, finished off a strong debut weekend this season with his second third-place finish in the No. 79 Tullman Walker Racing Porsche.

Up Next

After two consecutive joint events, the two series will return to separate competition for the rest of their respective seasons.

Rounds 7 and 8 of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama are scheduled for July 15-17 in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series event on the streets of Toronto.

Rounds 9 and 10 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama will take place Aug. 5-7 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

ROUND 6 POST-RACE QUOTES (GT3CAN):

SCOTT HARGROVE (No. 28 OpenRoad Racing, winner): “It felt great out there, especially after yesterday not getting much time to get a good race distance. We set up the car for the race distance, and yesterday we only got four green flag laps in. So today after we had a little bit of running, our tires stayed there, and we were able to pull away. Hats off to the OpenRoad Racing guys. The car was just fantastic. I’m excited to win here in the States with this joint event and with IMSA here. I just hope we have more events like this in the future.”

DANIEL MORAD (No. 17 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports, second): “It was an intense battle, and it was certainly a longer race than yesterday. I’m just thankful we were able to make it to the finish. When Scott (Hargrove) came close to me and we came up on lap traffic, I think something broke in the car. I was lucky to make it to the end. I just had to manage the curb strikes and make sure I brought the car home. It’s just a shame. We had so much pace in the beginning, and we pulled a gap. I don’t know what broke in the front of the car, but it obviously slowed me down quite a bit. I think three-quarters of a second. But I’m happy with the weekend. A first and a second place. Up to second place in points. So it’s good overall for the weekend.”

ZACH ROBICHON (No. 78 Mark Motors Racing, third): “It took me a little too long to get up to speed. I think I’ll put that down to experience in the car. I just wasn’t able to get the maximum out of the tires at the beginning, and it took me a little too long to get up to speed. I was able to get by Chris (Green), and I was closing on Daniel (Morad) a little bit, I’d say, at the end. It would have been nice to maybe have a restart at the end, and for a lap or two maybe I would have been able to get by him. But I learned a lot and got more experience from the beginning of the race, and I will learn from it so that next time it doesn’t happen. Then I can stay with those top two.”

MARCO CIRONE (No. 88 Mark Motors Racing, winner, Platinum Masters): “I think the track conditions were a little bit better this morning. Our starting position in the race wasn’t as good as yesterday. Yesterday we started fourth, and today we started eighth. That made a little bit of difference. The three American drivers in front of me, boy, they were really, really quick. It was difficult to keep up. But we finished fourth overall in the Canadian series and first in Masters, so we’re happy and looking forward to Toronto.”

MARTIN HARVEY (No. 08 Wingho Racing, winner, Gold Cup): “I love racing when we have a big battle with Shaun (McKaigue). We passed Shaun on the start, and Shaun passed me on the straight line, and after that we were on the back of Shaun for 10 laps. Push, push, push. And when I had the time, I passed Shaun, and that was it. I’m sorry for Shaun. He lost the car on the top of the hill. But great, great race.”

ROUND 8 POST-RACE QUOTES (GT3USA):

ANDREW LONGE (No. 47 Wright Motorsports, winner): “Unbelievably exciting, but I owe it all to my team. They gave me a fabulous car from day one, and the coaching and support they have given me this past year has been unbelievable, so I just can’t thank them enough. It’s such a competitive field. To be on the podium is one thing: to get a win is another. So it’s pretty special to be up here on the podium at Watkins Glen. I just don’t know what to say.”

CHRIS GREEN (No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports, second): “It was a much different day on track for this series. I had a really, really good start and made my way up to third and was in the hunt with Dan (Morad) and Scott (Hargrove), who were very, very quick. But we had an issue with the front left, and we have no idea what it is yet. So we’ve got to go back and investigate. But there was something that happened that just killed my momentum and any chance of doing anything well today. But kudos to the Pfaff Motorsports guys, who gave me a great car out of the box, and that’s what we really needed to make up places. Back to the drawing board, and hopefully I will have a few more opportunities in the GT3 Cup USA or Canada to bring the Pfaff Motorsports Castrol car back out again. Beautiful weekend and a beautiful day, and now I get to go home and have a beer.”

McKAY SNOW (No. 63 Wright Motorsports, third): “It felt pretty good. I got off to a bad start, and I just had to work my way back up to the top. I had to fight my way past Lucas (Catania) and had some good drivers right behind me pushing me the whole time, so I couldn’t make any mistakes. If we had a couple more laps, I probably would have made it up to second. (Chris) Green just fell off a little bit at the end. The car was really good, and Wright Motorsports really put the car together well and it was consistent throughout the entire race.”

FRED POORDAD (No. 20 Wright Motorsports, winner, Platinum Masters): “I hope it’s the beginning of a new era, but I do like this track a lot. I think it’s a great track and probably one of the prettiest places to race, as well. The team did great. Wright Motorsports put a great car under me, and it felt great the whole race. I wish it was another 45 minutes longer, as we would probably have made our way to the front. Kudos to my teammates Andrew (Longe) and McKay (Snow), who placed on the podium, so it was a fantastic day for Wright Motorsports.”

SEBASTIAN LANDY (No. 49 TPC Racing, winner, Gold Cup): “Huge thanks to all the guys at TPC Racing. They worked so hard to get this car back together after yesterday, and it was just bad luck that ruined our day there. To get the car back together, they pretty much worked until this morning. And to have it run so perfectly and to have such a great race was a great way to say thanks. It was a pretty easy race, for the most part. I think the split start helped us a lot on the first few laps to get everyone sorted and get the cars to run the same speeds. And then it was just a matter of putting my head down and running clean. We’ve been the fastest car all year, and I don’t think many people have noticed, but hopefully they start paying attention now. The Yokohama tires were great the whole time, and I was able to run qualifying pace for pretty much the entire session, which was a really great feeling. And thanks to Forto Strong Coffee for all their support this season.”

Source. LST Marketing

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