The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama competitors enjoyed spirited competition Saturday, May 20, as Round 1 of season competition kicked off at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park during the Castrol presents the Victoria Day SpeedFest.
Scott Hargrove, of Tsawwassen, British Columbia in his No. 9 Castrol-Pfaff Motorsports entry led the 16-car field from flag-to-flag to capture the overall and Platinum Cup victory. The 2014 Series Champion held off the No. 98 of Ottawa, Ontario resident Zacharie Robichon of Mark Motors Racing by just over two seconds, and set the fastest lap in class on Lap 18 with a one-minute, 20.341 second lap on the technical 2.459-mile road course.
Robichon started the race in third position, but his opening gambit pushed him past the No. 31 of Michael de Quesada and Insync/Alegra Motorsports to slide into second place. He was immediately followed by series newcomer Remo Ruscitti from Vancouver, British Columbia in the No. 69 OpenRoad Racing entry and the two ran in lockstep throughout the 45-minute sprint to finish in second and third place in Platinum respectively.
Patrick Dussault of Montréal, Quebec in the No. 77 of Lauzon Autosport/GT Racing representing Porsche Rive-Sud started in fifth position on the grid, but moved up to capture fourth on Lap 22 when de Quesada pushed four wheels off track in Turn 5 and lost his position.
Series veteran from Toronto, Ontario, Marco Cirone in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing entry proved that he was once again on the championship hunt as he remained patient and consistent, gaining ground to round out the top five overall in Platinum and capture the Platinum Masters championship win.
Cirone was joined on the podium by second-place finisher Etienne Borgeat in the No. 2 Platinum entry running for Sesame/GT Racing. Tim Sanderson in the No. 07 DFC Motorsport-Speedstar Motorsport entry representing Downtown Porsche and sponsor Harry Rosen rounded out the Platinum Masters podium in third.
De Angelis, in the No. 78 entry of Mark Motors Racing pushed his Gold entry into the thick of Platinum action running consistently in 10th overall or better throughout the race. A native of Belle River, Ontario, De Angelis ultimately finished in eighth position overall and earned the Gold Cup victory.
Orey Fidani, of Woodbridge, Ontario pushed his No. 13 Orlando Corporation/Pfaff Motorsports entry into the tight line of Platinum traffic and maintained a consistent pace to take the second step on the Gold Cup podium.
Borgeat, of Montréal, Quebec who started in 10th position on the grid and ultimately finished in sixth, earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions in Platinum Cup competition.
The morning qualifying efforts provided plenty of excitement for teams, drivers and fans alike. The weather conditions had improved from Friday’s practice with sunny skies and a light wind, but temperatures remained stubbornly low – 47 degrees – as the competitors rolled off the grid for the 20-minute session.
As the Yokohamas warmed up and the competitors spread out on the sprawling and highly technical track, the pace began to rise, with 2014 Series Champion Hargrove and Castrol-Pfaff Motorsports setting a new series qualifying record on Lap 7 with a time of one minute, 18.902 seconds, just under the 1:18:942 lap set last year by 2016 Series Champion Daniel Morad.
Cirone captured the top starting position in the Platinum Masters division, with teammate De Angelis taking the pole position in Gold Cup competition.
Race 1 Driver Quotes:
Scott Hargrove – No. 9, Castrol-Pfaff Motorsports – Platinum Cup Winner
“Really good race. I just was able to control the race the whole time which was ideal. The car was perfect and the Pfaff Motorsports guys put an awesome car together. Thank you to Castrol and everybody who did a phenomenal job this weekend, getting us out in front. And then you know, I just did my job and held the lead and couldn’t have asked for anything better. Best way to start off the year.”
Marco Cirone– No. 88, Mark Motors Racing – Platinum Masters Winner
“The race was really really good – I got behind Patrick [Dussault] and Remo [Ruscitti] and Michael [de Quesada] and they were battling it out, and I was hoping that they would make a mistake. Michael did, unfortunately for him, and we managed to move up. And then hoping toward the end of the race, Remo and Pat [Patrick] would battle it out, consume their tires and I would attempt to make a pass, but they just drove a fantastic race and I wasn’t able to make the pass so I just protected my position. Thank you to Bestline for giving me a great car and to Mark Motors for allowing me to be here.”
Roman De Angelis – No. 78, Mark Motors Racing – Gold Cup Winner
“It was pretty difficult just being in the gold car, trying to get by these guys especially in the straightaway. You can be as quick as you want in the corners here but there’s really no braking zones or passing spots. It was a really difficult race but we managed to go out and the car was great as always.”
Etienne Borgeat – No. 2, GT Racing – Yokohama Hard Charger (Platinum Cup)
“Cool, excellent! Actually I’m happy because I didn’t feel really comfortable in the car, like starting this weekend and qualifications. That 10th place was probably one of, probably my worst, so I wasn’t expecting something good and we did have a good fight. The pace was super quick at the beginning of the race, it was really good, and I’m pretty happy about that. The passes, the nice three corners side by side with Tim Sanderson also. So I’m really happy about the race even though I started a little too far back for what I expect next time.”
RACE 2 SUMMARY
The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama series competitors kept their cool Sunday, May 21, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) under the looming threat of rain to run a superb 45-minute sprint to complete the Castrol presents the Victoria Day SpeedFest weekend.
Scott Hargrove of Tsawwassen, BC in the No. 9 Castrol-Pfaff Motorsports Platinum 911 GT3 Cup entry took his second overall and Platinum Cup victories and the points lead heading out of Rounds 1 and 2 of series competition. Hargrove once again led flag-to-flag, but the race was by no means quiet, as the field behind him continually shifted with multiple passes and battles for position.
Zacharie Robichon, running the No. 98 entry for Mark Motors started his race in third position, but made an aggressive pass early to gain a position on Remo Ruscitti in the No. 69 entry for OpenRoad Racing by Lap 2. He remained hard on Hargrove’s heels throughout the race and ultimately took the second position on the podium for his efforts.
Alegra Motorsports’ pilot Michael de Quesada in the No. 31 Platinum Cup car started fourth on the grid and patiently stalked Ruscitti until he was able to move up to finish third in class on Lap 10 when Ruscitti made a slight error on track and lost two positions.
Ruscitti was able to recover with only 7 laps to go in the race and improved his position to finish in fourth overall and in Platinum Cup.
A tremendous battle for overall position was fought between Gold and Platinum Masters competitors Roman De Angelis in the No. 78 Mark Motors Gold Cup car, and Platinum Masters drivers Tim Sanderson piloting the No. 07 DFC Motorsport – Speedstar Motorsport entry representing Downtown Porsche and sponsor Harry Rosen, and De Angelis’ teammate Marco Cirone in the No. 88 Platinum Cup.
The three waged a fierce fight from the drop of the green flag with Cirone and De Angelis swapping positions three times throughout the race. Ultimately, Cirone suffered a spin in Turn 10 on Lap 17, dropping positions and giving the Platinum Masters victory to Sanderson.
Etienne Borgeat in the No. 2 entry for GT Racing fell into step behind Sanderson with Shaun McKaigue in the No. 34 FER-PAL/Aqua Pipe Pfaff Motorsports car immediately behind him to finish in second and third place respectively in the Platinum Masters championship.
And while the war raged on between Sanderson and De Angelis, it was De Angelis who ultimately snuck by Sanderson with a hard-won pass with just four laps remaining in the race, to take fifth place overall, the victory for Gold competition and the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for advancing the most number of positions in class during the race.
Orey Fidani, of Woodbridge, Ontario in the No. 13 Orlando Corporation entry for Pfaff Motorsports was forced to start in the back of the field due to technical issues, but quickly advanced throughout the field to finish in 11th overall and second place on the podium in Gold competition.
The Canadian competitors will return to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the season finale in September. CTMP is the only circuit that hosts two event weekends for the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama. The final two rounds of the 12-round series take place during the Chevrolet Silverado 250 weekend on Sept. 1-3.
The next event on the six event, 12-race calendar is a series highlight – the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada –June 9-11 at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montréal, Quebec.
Race 2 Driver Quotes
Scott Hargrove – No. 9, Castrol-Pfaff Motorsports – Platinum Cup Winner
“Perfect weekend. Whenever you switch teams you’re never really sure if the results from the last year are going to carry over, but you know, I’ve seen the hard work and dedication that Pfaff Motorsports has put into this program and every single second we hit the track we were fast, and we just kept improving the car little by little, and the Castrol car was on rails today. Same thing as yesterday and in qualifying, so I’m just over the moon and one step closer to our goal for this season. I’m just looking forward to the rest of the year and can’t thank everybody enough.”
Tim Sanderson– No. 07, DFC Motorsport/Speedstar Motorsport – Platinum Masters Winner
“We had an awesome start, we got by some guys and that kind of set the tone a little bit. I knew Marco [Cirone] wasn’t far behind and Roman [De Angelis] was on my tail, as he was yesterday. I was just trying to keep ahead of Marco. I was glad to see Marco behind Roman for a while because I knew that would hold him back there a little bit, but I knew it wasn’t going to last forever and I had to keep her going. I was glad to see the white flag, and the checkered flag! The Yokohamas were great today and Downtown Porsche and Speedstar gave me a great car. The car was better than yesterday all the way through the race. It was just as good at the end as it was at the beginning. All I had to do was keep it on the track.”
Roman De Angelis – No. 78, Mark Motors Racing – Gold Cup Winner and Yokohama Hard Charger Award
“Tim [Sanderson] is a really tough competitor, [he’s] a good driver with a lot of experience. So it’s good to have a battle with somebody like that with that level of talent and experience. You learn a little bit from those guys! They have so much time in these cars and around this track. My car was amazing, I couldn’t ask for a better car from the guys here at Bestline and Mark Motors Racing. The Yokohama tires were great, they didn’t fall off much, a little bit cooler today so not as much heat in the tires, which helped.”
FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DU CANADA
June 9 – 11, 2017
Source. LST Marketing