Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada: Toronto Event News and Notes

RACE 1 SUMMARY

The downtown streets of Toronto surrounding Exhibition Place provided a unique backdrop for the drivers and teams of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama as they took to the circuit Saturday for the first of two weekend races.

Scott Hargrove’s execution has been nearly flawless this season, thusly his pole position was seemingly mechanical. Following his usual pattern, he checked out from the rest of the field early in the race in his No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. He was never challenged during the majority of the event and survived a one-lap shootout with Zacharie Robichon for the checkered flag, after a brief late-race caution period. It marks Hargrove’s third series win at Toronto and fifth of the season. Robichon recorded his fifth second-place finish in the No. 98 Mark Motors Racing entry this year with one win to his credit as well.

Fifth-place starter Patrick Dussault gained two spots to finish third in Platinum in the No. 77 for Lauzon Autosport/GT Racing. It was his first podium of the season, also earning the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions in Platinum Cup competition.

Platinum Masters action was engaging from the drop of the green flag as class pole winner Tim Sanderson found trouble on Lap 1, dropping his No. 07 DFC Motorsport/Speedstar Motorsport car four positions on track. This started an immediate battle with fellow classman Shaun McKaigue, who was one spot behind him in the Pfaff Motorsports/FER-PAL Infrastructure No. 34.

The pair put on a bumper-to-bumper duel for the next 15 laps in front of the Ontario crowd, until McKaigue had enough and made the pass for position on Lap 16.

Sanderson wasn’t finished, however. Keeping tight with McKaigue for the next six laps, Sanderson setup a pass on Lap 22. That pass held until the end of the race, even through the last-lap dash to the finish.

As exciting as that was, points leader Marco Cirone took advantage of Sanderson’s misfortune and never looked back. Cirone drove a quick and consistent race to take his fourth class win of the season in the No. 88 for Mark Motors. Sanderson and McKaigue had to settle for second and third, respectively.

Hargrove hasn’t been the only dominant force this year. Roman De Angelis hadn’t missed a beat leading into this weekend, taking every pole and win thus far for Mark Motors in the No. 78. But that all changed today at the hands of newcomer Gianmarco Raimondo in the No. 76 of GT Racing.

Raimondo grabbed the lead on the very first lap, but wasn’t exactly clear of De Angelis who kept stalking for the better part of the race. Slowly reeling Raimondo back in, De Angelis went for a pass on Lap 23 as the pair approached Turn 3. Slight side-to-side contact resulted in the pair briefly spinning off course into the runoff, but immediately returning to the fray.

Demonstrating the acuity of a veteran, rookie De Angelis continued valiantly, but never got a shot at another pass, giving up the win to Raimondo. It was the end of De Angelis’ perfect season as the rookie took the second spot on the podium alongside the newcomer.

QUALIFYING

Qualifying results Saturday on the streets of Toronto for the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama were of no surprise to fans of the single-make series. Friday’s fastest drivers in the two practice sessions repeated their performance in each of the three classes of competition.

Scott Hargrove topped the time sheet in Platinum Cup and overall with a time of one minute, 12.434 seconds – a qualifying record for the circuit’s latest, slightly longer, configuration. His No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol entry was followed closely by Zacharie Robichon in the No. 98 Mark Motors Racing Porsche GT3 Cup car. Robichon made up some ground on Hargrove from practice results, cutting the gap by half a second with a fastest lap of 1:12.791.

In Platinum Masters, Tim Sanderson continued his charge in the No. 07 DFC Motorsport/Speedstar Motorsport machine by posting a fastest lap of 1:13.687, an improvement of 1.346 seconds from his fastest practice time and quick enough for fourth overall. It was Sanderson’s first pole in Masters this season, starting him ahead of Masters points leader, Marco Cirone.

Roman De Angelis continued his impressive season in the No. 78 Mark Motors entry, posting another pole in the Gold Cup class. His fast time of 1:14.576 was seventh fastest overall, but a scant .163 ahead of newcomer Gianmarco Raimondo in the No. 76 GT Racing entry.

Race Event Quotes

Scott Hargrove – No. 9, Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol – Platinum Cup Winner

“Considering it’s the home race for a lot of teams, I think everyone really wanted the win today. To be on the top step with the Pfaff/Castrol car I am just over the moon. The track was really bumpy and I had to be focused the whole race and even though I had a good gap and was able to control the pace, you’re going so fast and pushing so hard that a mistake can happen at any point. It might look comfortable but it never is. It’s 45 minutes of grueling, physically taxing, most physical race of the year. But we came out on top and hopefully we will do it again tomorrow.”

Marco Cirone – No. 88, Mark Motors – Platinum Masters Winner

“I think we are finally starting to get the right setup on the car. This whole weekend we have been struggling with setup. This car is different from last year’s model so we have been struggling a little bit. We made some changes for the race and I think it really, really worked. Tomorrow we are going to be running on new tires and I think it’s going to be a bit hotter so we are going make one or two more adjustments. I think we’ve got it down pat now, which is good because our competition is really fast. Especially Tim [Sanderson] who qualified fourth [overall]. We’re usually pretty close but he had me by a long shot, so the team really helped me with the car.”

Gianmarco Raimondo – No. 76, GT Racing – Gold Cup Winner

“It was amazing and I am overwhelmed. We worked so hard and had so many sleepless nights just trying to get sponsorship and then everything that needed to happen, happened. Roman definitely didn’t make it easy. I had to pull out every trick in the book to keep him behind me. We almost had contact in the middle of the race and we got a bit tight at the end when the restart happened. Fortunately, I was able to come out ahead of him. We pulled it through and I am just ecstatic and at a loss for words.”

RACE 2 SUMMARY

As the warmup race feature for the Indy Toronto Grand Prix, the competitors in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama showcased their drive and determination in front of a solid crowd of Ontario race fans Sunday.

The bumpy and erratic streets around Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto were lined with fans as the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Cars took the green flag for their final 45-minute sprint race of the weekend.

The 1.786-mile stretch of asphalt mixed with concrete patches proved no less than a challenge to find grip and a smoother line, but the Canadian competitors would have it no other way as they sailed past the iconic Prince’s Gate looking for an advantage.

But it was once again Tsawwassen, British Columbia native Scott Hargrove that had a perfect sweep of the weekend, leading both practice sessions, taking pole positions and the victories for both races as well in his No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol Platinum Cup entry.

With two wins at this venue in prior years, he demonstrated his ability to navigate the bumps and light sprinkles of rain near the end of the race to showcase his race craft and dominate the field.

The No. 31 of Michael de Quesada in his Alegra Motorsports entry started in third and quickly got by second-place starter Zach Robichon in the No. 98 entry for Mark Motors Racing. However, it became immediately apparent Robichon wanted his starting position back, and he put himself in de Quesada’s mirrors until he found an opening and made his move leading into the second lap of the race.

From there, Robichon and de Quesada ran smoothly in lock-step, with Robichon slowly gaining a healthy gap as they wound their way to the checkered flag, finishing in second and third, respectively, in Platinum Cup competition.

The No. 88 Mark Motors Platinum Masters entry of Marco Cirone grabbed his chance on the first lap and got the jump on rival Tim Sanderson in his No. 07 DFC Motorsport/Speedstar Motorsport entry representing Downtown Porsche and Harry Rosen. Not to be dissuaded, Cirone also moved up on the No. 77 of Patrick Dussault and Lauzon Autosport-GT Racing to take fourth position just behind de Quesada.

Dussault was having none of that however, and patiently stalked Cirone for four laps until he could gain an advantage and the position. Dussault ultimately finished in fourth overall.

Coming into today’s race, Cirone and Sanderson were tied at three victories apiece in class on the streets of Toronto, but it was Cirone who took the fourth victory in Masters competition for drivers 45 years old and above.

While Sanderson was relegated to finish second in Platinum Masters, his race was by no means by rote. He engaged in a fierce battle for overall position with Gold Cup competitor and series rookie Roman De Angelis in the No. 78 Mark Motors entry.

Sanderson kept his advantage until De Angelis proved the agility of his Gold Cup entry and made a final pass on Lap 13 to take sixth place and push Sanderson to seventh overall at that point in the race.

Just behind him, the No. 34 of Shaun McKaigue in his FER-PAL Infrastructure/Aqua Pipe/Pfaff Motorsports entry was also engaged in tight competition with Gold competitor and De Angelis’s rival, Gianmarco Raimondo, who just joined the series for the first time at this event.

McKaigue held his starting position until Raimondo caught him on Lap 4, switching positions. The two ran in tandem until very nearly the end of the race and Raimondo was gaining ground on De Angelis when he suffered contact in Turn 11 on Lap 24 and was forced to end his race behind the wall.

McKaigue gained back his ground but didn’t have enough speed to catch Sanderson, ending his day in third place on the Masters podium.

A native of Belle River, De Angelis was on a mission to recover his class dominance, as Raimondo had claimed yesterday’s Gold Cup victory. The teenager began from the class pole and pushed hard to put some space between he and the No. 76 GT Racing entry, engaging with Sanderson in his push to the front. But despite his strong drive, his car began to drop speed on Lap 32, ultimately stopping in Turn 4. He was able to limp to Turn 5, but a full-course-caution period was issued to recover him and his day was cut short.

Despite his early retirement, he remained ahead of Raimondo and kept the class victory, relegating Raimondo to second place.

Light rain began as the course marshals were working to recover De Angelis, and the race ended under caution on Lap 36. It was the only full-course caution period of the race.

Next on the schedule for the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama series are Rounds 9 and 10 at the Grand Prix du Trois-Rivieres in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, August 11-13.

Race Event Quotes

Scott Hargrove – No. 9, Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol – Platinum Cup Winner

“We always want to make the car good at the end. So, when you are starting like that, and we only got one warmup lap, I definitely had to push a little bit at the beginning to make sure that when I got to the brakes at the end of the straight I had some grip. But it was perfect. The Pfaff/Castrol Motorsports car was perfect. Zach [Robichon] was fast at the beginning and I really had to push. But halfway through the race we started to check out. I couldn’t ask for a better weekend. I think it’s another weekend sweep. I’m just over the moon.”

Marco Cirone – No. 88, Mark Motors – Platinum Masters Winner

“It feels amazing. We were concerned about the rain but it held off. When the race started we had another amazing start and I managed to get ahead of Tim [Sanderson] and tuck behind Patrick [Dussault] and I didn’t have any threats from Tim or Shaun [McKaigue] or anyone else from my class throughout the whole race. So, I just tried to keep it smooth and clean and I brought it home. Special thanks to Bestline, it’s an amazing car they always give me. And Mark Motors, if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be here. And a special thanks to my girlfriend Lindsay Rice who really helped out this weekend a lot.”

Source. LST Marketing

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