Hargrove Closes to Within One Point of Morad with Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Round 9 win at GP3R

Scott HargroveThe knot linking Daniel Morad and Scott Hargrove in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama cinched even tighter Saturday after Hargrove’s victory in Round 9 at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières.

Hargrove, from Tsawwassen, British Columbia, pulled to within one point of Platinum Cup championship leader Morad with his series-leading fifth victory of the season in the No. 28 OpenRoad Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Morad leads Hargrove, 155-154, with three rounds remaining this season in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned Single-Make Series.

Round 10, a 45-minute race, starts at 10 a.m. (ET) Sunday on the 10-turn, 1.5207-mile (2.433 km) temporary street circuit.

“I had to give it 110 percent the whole race to be able to hold that lead,” Hargrove said. “The car was just phenomenal in the race compared to how we had it earlier in the weekend. I’m just excited to hopefully get the OpenRoad car back in the championship lead.”

Pole sitter Morad, from Toronto, finished second in the No. 17 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports Porsche, 1.944 seconds behind Hargrove. 2015 Platinum Cup champion Chris Green, from Montreal, rounded out the podium finishers by placing third in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche.

Etienne Borgeat, from Montreal, equaled his season-best finish by placing fourth in the No. 2 GT Racing Porsche. Tim Sanderson, from Pickering, Ontario, rounded out the top five and was the top Platinum Masters finisher in the No. 07 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports Porsche.

Shaun McKaigue, from Gilford, Ontario, moved closer to his second career Gold Cup championship by winning that class in the No. 34 Fiorano Racing Porsche.

Morad and Hargrove were side by side at the start of the 45-minute race, but Morad held off Hargrove while both dove into Turn 1 on the tricky, low-grip street course.

Hargrove chased Morad for the entire first lap, trailing by .197 of a second after one circuit.

Then the major flashpoint of the race took place at the end of the back straightaway on the second lap. Hargrove dove underneath Morad entering Turn 6, with both cars making contact and wobbling on the edges of control. Hargrove was able to press the throttle earlier and took the lead.

“I had an opportunity on the first lap, and I was kind of kicking myself for not really going for it because I didn’t know if I was going to get another chance,” Hargrove said. “But then coming out onto the back straight, I got a really good run up behind Daniel (Morad) and he knew, and I said, ‘It’s now or never,’ and I just went for it. Probably one of the sketchiest moves I’ve made, but I’m just very happy the car stopped.”

Said Morad: “It was what it looked like. It was an aggressive move, and I didn’t think there was any space, and there wasn’t. I got hit in the rear corner of my car. That was the race. That was it. We were evenly matched at that point. I had a little bit of rear damage. It’s too bad it had to end that way.”

2014 Platinum Cup champion Hargrove then steadily built a lead, which grew to 2.590 seconds with 28 minutes left.

Morad received a second chance to regain the lead when Zach Robichon’s No. 78 Mark Motors Racing Porsche stopped on the course with 26 minutes remaining, triggering the only full-course caution of the race.

But Hargrove rocketed away on the restart with 22 minutes remaining, building a lead of 1.202 seconds after the first green-flag lap. Hargrove padded that lead to 2.038 seconds with 16 minutes remaining, and the top two drivers then lapped in lockstep for the remainder of the race.

“On the restart, I don’t know if I hit something, it was just a weird deal and I couldn’t steer around Turn 9,” Morad said. “After the contact, it was going to be very difficult for me. It was cat and mouse. I would catch him, and he would pull. We will see how it’s going to be tomorrow.”

There was a bit of drama on the restart as Borgeat pressured Green for third place on the first green-flag lap. But Green kept his cool and his car under control, pulling away to secure third place.

Platinum Cup rookie Orey Fidani, from Woodbridge, Ontario, earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for gaining the most positions during the race in the No. 13 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche. Fidani won the Gold Cup championship as a series rookie in 2015.

Platinum Masters

Sanderson continued his summer surge with his third consecutive Platinum Masters victory after sweeping Rounds 7 and 8 last month in Toronto.

He started from the class pole and led the whole race, edging three-time reigning Platinum Masters champion Marco Cirone at the finish by .552 of a second.

“We ran a good, solid race,” Sanderson said. “I flat-spotted a tire early. About 20 minutes in, and that kind of slowed me down on some of the left-hand corners, which there are a lot of on this track.

“But I had fun out there and want to thank the Alegra guys. They stayed until 11 p.m. last night working on the tranny (transmission) for me, and I wouldn’t have been out here without all their help.”

Cirone, from Toronto, pressured Sanderson to the finish despite a close call with about 14 minutes left in the race.

Three-time reigning Platinum Masters champion Cirone was pressuring series rookie Valerie Chiasson for a string of laps in a duel for sixth place overall. Chiasson spun in Turn 6 in the No. 27 GT Racing Porsche, and Cirone snuck past with no contact in the No. 88 Mark Motors Porsche before intensifying his pursuit of Sanderson.

Gold Cup

McKaigue earned his fourth victory of the season and kept a 114-106 lead over Harvey in the Gold Cup standings with just three rounds remaining. McKaigue’s first Gold Cup title came in 2011, the inaugural season of the series.

As usual during this season, McKaigue and Harvey were evenly matched during the race.

McKaigue led from the pole, and Harvey tried to make a pass early in his No. 08 Wingho Racing Porsche. But McKaigue parried that move.

Harvey, from nearby Berthierville, Quebec, then tried another move for the class lead and made contact with McKaigue, causing both cars to spin.

McKaigue recovered more quickly and took the lead, with Harvey in close pursuit. But race officials subsequently penalized Harvey with a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility, letting McKaigue sail smoothly to the victory.

“I think Martin realized he had to make something happen soon, so he made a little bit of an optimistic move into that tight corner,” McKaigue said. “We both ended up spinning, and it was just a contest of who could get their car down into first to get going, and that’s whoever would get ahead. I guess they assessed a penalty on him, and that’s unfortunate. That’s not how you want to win. We had a good battle going for a while there.”

The win came after McKaigue’s Fiorano Racing team worked hard with Porsche technicians on a mechanical problem that arose during practice Friday.

“The Porsche guys were fantastic, rebuilt it, had the gear,” McKaigue said. “It was a fantastic job on their part. My crew stayed late. This is such a team sport. If we don’t work hard as drivers, we disappoint them because they work so hard for us.”

ROUND 9 POST-RACE QUOTES

SCOTT HARGROVE (No. 28 OpenRoad Racing Porsche, winner): “I wasn’t sure what kind of pace we would have in the race because earlier this weekend we did make a bunch of changes for the race. But you still never know. I had an opportunity on the first lap, and I was kind of kicking myself for not really going for it because I didn’t know if I was going to get another chance. But then coming out onto the back straight, I got a really good run up behind Daniel (Morad) and he knew, and I said, ‘It’s now or never,’ and I just went for it. Probably one of the sketchiest moves I’ve made, but I’m just very happy the car stopped. I had to give it 110 percent the whole race to be able to hold that lead. The car was just phenomenal in the race compared to how we had it earlier in the weekend. I’m just excited to hopefully get the OpenRoad car back in the championship lead.”

DANIEL MORAD (No. 17 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports, second): (About Scott Hargrove’s pass for the lead): “It was what it looked like. It was an aggressive move, and I didn’t think there was any space and there wasn’t. I got hit in the rear corner of my car. That was the race. That was it. We were evenly matched at that point. I had a little bit of rear damage. It’s too bad it had to end that way.” (Did you have a chance after the restart to make something happen?): “On the restart, I don’t know if I hit something, it was just a weird deal and I couldn’t steer around Turn 9. After the contact, it was going to be very difficult for me. It was cat and mouse. I would catch him, and he would pull. We will see how it’s going to be tomorrow.”

CHRIS GREEN (No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche, third): “It was pretty lonely out there: I’m not going to lie. I looked in my mirrors the first two laps. Zach (Robichon) was a little bit in my mirrors, but after that I started pulling away. The car’s pretty good. This is a big event for us. This is Castrol’s home event. It’s huge for the Castrol crowd. I’m home. These fans at Trois-Rivières are phenomenal. It’s so much fun to see so many familiar faces. Third race back in the series. First race I’ve finished this year, so that’s obviously a plus. Third, you’re never happy with third at the end of the day. But I am very happy for the team. They’ve worked really hard to get the best out of this car. We’re struggling. We can’t seem to figure it out. But we are continuing to push forward and get the best out of this. Scott (Hargrove) and Dan (Morad) had a good race ahead of us, and at one point I thought there might be a little bit of a hole opening up for me, but they were just too fast and I couldn’t keep up with them. Back to the drawing board tonight and see what we can do in the morning.”

TIM SANDERSON (No. 07 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports, winner, Platinum Masters): “We had a good run. The start could have been a little better. I would have liked to have picked up at least one spot. But we ran a good, solid race. I flat-spotted a tire early. About 20 minutes in, and that kind of slowed me down on some of the left-hand corners, which there are a lot of on this track. But I had fun out there and want to thank the Alegra guys. They stayed until 11 p.m. last night working on the tranny (transmission) for me, and I wouldn’t have been out here without all their help.”

SHAUN McKAIGUE (No. 34 Fiorano Racing, winner, Gold Cup): “I had a good start, and Martin (Harvey) had a good run on the start. He got up on the inside of me, but I just stayed on the outside and made up a couple of positions there. I think Martin realized he had to make something happen soon, so he made a little bit of an optimistic move into that tight corner. We both ended up spinning, and it was just a contest of who could get their car down into first to get going, and that’s whoever would get ahead. I guess they assessed a penalty on him, and that’s unfortunate. That’s not how you want to win. We had a good battle going for a while there. But, hey, catching is one thing; passing is another. Hopefully we’ll have a nice run tomorrow. We ended up losing in practice a tooth in the transmission for second, so we were lucky to catch it in time. The Porsche guys were fantastic, rebuilt it, had the gear. It was a fantastic job on their part. My crew stayed late. This is such a team sport. If we don’t work hard as drivers, we disappoint them because they work so hard for us.”

OREY FIDANI (No. 13 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche, Yokohama Hard Charger Award winner): (How was your race?): “Not too bad. Not as I wanted, but it was all right. I managed to gain two spots. I had a good time trying to keep up with Marco (Cirone).” (Are you getting comfortable with street races?): “I am getting more comfortable, but probably not as quick as I wanted. It’s coming.”

Source. LST Marketing

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