Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Trois-Rivieres Event News and Notes

RACE 1 SUMMARY

The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama field took the green flag Saturday afternoon based on championship points after an abandoned qualifying session earlier in the day. This gave points leader Scott Hargrove just the opportunity he needed to outpace the field in another flag-to-flag win in his No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol 911 GT3 Cup car.

But it wasn’t as easy as it sounds, as Mark Motors Racing’s Zacharie Robichon did his best to make Hargrove’s drive a difficult one this time around in Platinum Cup competition. Robichon took several looks in his No. 98, but never got a run on Hargrove for a pass on the streets of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. He’s been the only real contender this season, finishing second in every race but one: He recently notched a win at Watkins Glen International. However, Hargrove now has seven wins to his credit.

Michael de Quesada settled into third place early and was never challenged. It marks his fifth podium this year in the No. 31 for Alegra Motorsports and keeps him third in Platinum points.

Platinum Masters points leader Marco Cirone put his classmen on notice again that he has every intention of taking home the championship. The driver of the No. 88 for Mark Motors Racing started fifth overall behind Patrick Dussault in the No. 77 of Lauzon Autosport/GT Racing for Porsche Rive-Sud. Cirone got around Dussault on the first lap and immediately embarked on a spirited, consistent drive with lap times that barely grew a second over the course of the 45-minute sprint. Cirone has now posted six class wins and three in a row.

Tim Sanderson started the day seventh overall in his No. 07 DFC Motorsport/Speedstar Motorsport GT3 Cup car for Downtown Porsche and Harry Rosen. The series veteran got off to a fast start, but quickly had his mirrors full of 16-year-old Roman De Angelis in a Gold Cup entry for Mark Motors Racing. The pair worked their way around the 10-turn circuit in lockstep as Sanderson attempted to hold off De Angelis’ older No. 78 entry.

The pair continued their duel through lapped traffic at about the halfway mark in the race, navigating with the precision of Royal Canadian Air Force pilots. And in the waning moments of the race, De Angelis closed the gap on Sanderson to within a car length with only a few minutes remaining. It wouldn’t be enough, however, as a diligent Sanderson kept his cool and his position to take second in Platinum Masters and fifth overall.

Pieter Baljet enjoyed a couple of firsts – his first podium in the Platinum Masters division, with his third-place finish, and his first Yokohama Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions in Platinum Cup in his No. 15 for Porsche Center Victoria.

Gold Cup points leader De Angelis carried on with his remarkable season, posting his seventh win in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada series, which was also good enough for sixth overall. Nearly as impressive are his six class wins in GT3 Cup Challenge USA races, where his is second in Gold Cup points, even though he missed two races while keeping up with his academic studies.

Perry Bortolotti crossed the line in second place in Gold in the No. 84 for Mark Motors Racing/Cee-Jay Micro LTD. The 2011 inaugural season Platinum Cup Champion rejoined the series for this weekend’s contest, having last raced in the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada in 2014. All four entries for Mark Motors grabbed podiums for their Toronto-based team.

Qualifying:

With a partially damp track ahead and impending rain in the skies, the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama officials initially declared qualifying to be a Wet Session, meaning all cars would qualify on Yokohama wet tires. However, just before the period began, it was determined the variable dry-to-wet track conditions might lead to inequitable qualifying for the field. Therefore, the round was converted to practice and the Race 1 starting grid was set according to driver championship points by class.

Race Event Quotes

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

“I have four wins here now and obviously that’s quite special. Anytime you come to a track and you have that kind of history is incredible. We are trying to repeat that this weekend and so far we are doing a good job. The Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol car is on rails and it’s interesting because we seemed to have flip-flopped a little. I was running with Bestline [Auto Tech] last year and we were always quick at the end and slow a little bit at the beginning and now it seems like that’s what I am doing and Zach [Robichon] is the opposite. It’s fun and it makes the racing interesting and he put on the pressure at the beginning and and then I was able to move away at the end. It’s still a great result and I am really happy for the team.”

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

“It’s nice to be up front. I got a really good start and managed to tuck into fourth position and I kept that throughout the whole race which I am really proud of. It was almost a mistake-free race. I saw that Tim [Sanderson] and Roman [De Angelis], out of the corner of my eye. Every time I glanced back they were peeking right there and I thought ‘they’re coming, they’re coming’ and I just decided to concentrate and don’t look back anymore, because that makes me nervous. I managed to hold on and I am really proud of the team, they gave me a fantastic car and thanks to Mark Motors. It’s so nice to be here representing them and this fantastic crowd in Quebec is always awesome. So happy to be here.”

Roman De Angelis – No. 78, Mark Motors Racing/Bestline Auto Tech – Gold Cup Winner

“Honestly, this was a lot of fun. I had to start 12th, and I had an awesome start. I think I got by four cars just between Turns 1 and 2 and then just pushed forward. Picked a couple of cars off and then battled with Tim [Sanderson] in the end, as usual. It was an awesome race, clean and the car was amazing as always. Tires held up great and it was a great effort by Mark Motors and Bestline [Auto Tech] so I am really happy with the result today.”

Pieter Baljet – No. 15, Porsche Centre Victoria – Yokohama Hard Charger Award Winner

“I guess you earn it when you don’t make any mistakes. I don’t think we passed a whole lot of people, maybe one or two cars, but we stayed out of trouble and that’s what got us the Hard Charger Award. I’ve never been here before and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a track that’s not very forgiving and you have to be really on point. It rewards consistency.”

RACE 2 SUMMARY

Pause. Play. Repeat. That was the theme for the second of two Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama 45-minute sprint races at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. While Sunday’s overall and class podiums were categorically the same as Saturday, those results were by no means by rote.

As was the case in Race 1 this weekend, Zacharie Robichon applied intense pressure to Scott Hargrove’s No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol entry in Race 2. From the drop of the green flag, Robichon kept his No. 98 Mark Motors Racing 911 GT3 Cup car glued to Hargrove’s rear bumper and began a fierce challenge for the top spot.

Lap times for the Platinum Cup duo were nearly identical as Robichon made several attempts to pass Hargrove, getting door-to-door on at least a pair of occasions. The two even swapped fastest race laps throughout the first half of the race.

But it wasn’t Robichon’s day, as Hargrove managed to finally build a small gap ahead of his season-long challenger. It was once again Hargrove taking the win, with Robichon grabbing a close second just a few car lengths back. Hargrove’s tally improved to eight wins, having given up only one win to Robichon who has not finished lower than second all season.

Michael de Quesada started third in the No. 31 for Alegra Motorsports, but only held on for two laps, giving up the position to the charging No. 69 of Remo Ruscitti in the OpenRoad Racing Porsche. Ruscitti’s pass on de Quesada marked the opening of a heated two-car shootout between the two young guns.

Both Ruscitti and de Quesada ran wide, locked up brakes and pushed their cars as hard as possible on offensive and defensive sides of the racing equation. De Quesada made his move on Ruscitti with a pass on Lap 24 to retake the third spot. De Quesada was then able to break free and hold on until the end, reaching the third and final step on the Platinum Cup podium.

If the next part of this story sounds familiar, it’s because the 16-year-old Roman De Angelis was once again harassing the all-new-for-2017 Platinum Cup cars in the No. 78 Gold Cup entry for Mark Motors Racing – a 2014 model in this case. His target in this race turned out to be his teammate and the Platinum Masters points leader, Marco Cirone, in his No. 88 GT3 Cup entry.

De Angelis jumped two spots through Turn 1 at the start of the race to grab the sixth spot overall immediately behind Cirone. But the older, wiser Cirone is never an easy mark. There is a reason he is leading his class in points this season – it’s called consistency.

As he has done most of the season, Cirone kept his head down and watched the road ahead while the Gold Cup points leader, De Angelis, squeezed every ounce of performance out of his older 911 GT3 Cup car. De Angelis chipped away at Cirone, even posting faster lap times on occasion, but never quite got a nose under the veteran. For Cirone, the drive earned him his seventh Platinum Masters win this season and a fifth-place overall finish. De Angelis secured his eighth Gold Cup win and a sixth-place result overall.

In other Platinum Masters competition, Tim Sanderson cruised to the second podium spot in his No. 07 DFC Motorsport/Speedstar Motorsport entry for Downtown Porsche and Harry Rosen. His pair of second-place finishes this weekend keeps him second in the class championship. Pieter Baljet seized his second podium of the weekend and the season with his repeat third-place performance in the No. 15 GT3 Cup entry for Porsche Centre Victoria.

And not to be left out of the action was Perry Bortolotti, who returned to series competition this weekend in the No. 84 Gold Cup entry for Mark Motors Racing. The 2011 Platinum Cup Champion quickly returned to form and earned his team second in class and the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions in Gold Cup competition.

Next on the schedule for the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama series is the season finale and Rounds 5 (rescheduled from Watkins Glen International), 11 and 12 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Sept. 1-3.

Race Event Quotes

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

“That’s five wins here now. The car was just phenomenal. The Pfaff/Castrol car was just unreal. Zach [Robichon] really put on the pressure and I really had to work for it. It was definitely different that yesterday. Zach was really fast and he kept the pressure on the whole race. There were parts of the track where I was better. There were parts of the track where he was better. So, there was that difference in balance that I think was just the cars and the setup we were running. Hats off to him. I had to push really, really hard. The Pfaff Motorsports car was really phenomenal and the team had a flawless weekend. So, we were two for two and that’s my fifth win here at Trois-Rivieres. So, I am really excited and merci beaucoup to everyone that came out today. I know it’s an early morning, but I really appreciated everyone in the stands.”

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

“This time I actually did look in my mirrors and it was my teammate Roman [De Angelis]. I love the kid and he is developing so well. In some of the corners he was actually going faster than me and I was thinking, ‘What line is he taking? How is he doing that?’ So, I tried to adjust my line, but I started doing something wrong so he was making me pretty nervous. It was a fantastic race and I managed to stay in front of him, which was good. If he was driving the same car as me, he would have passed me. He’s developing really, really well. He’s a great driver and I am really glad I won the Masters and I think we are good with the Championship now.”

Roman De Angelis – No. 78, Mark Motors Racing/Bestline Auto Tech – Gold Winner

“That’s probably the most fun I have had in a Cup car ever. Honestly, I had a really good start and I think I got by two or three cars in the beginning. I had tons and tons of pressure from [Patrick] Dussault the whole race until he made a mistake under braking and went off track. Then I just started pushing to catch my teammate Marco [Cirone]. So, I probably think for the last five or six laps, Marco and I were pretty much side-by-side. It was an awesome race. I can’t thank Bestline, Mark Motors, enough. Again, it was a really, really good weekend. I am happy it ended this way.”

Perry Bortolotti – No. 84, Mark Motors Racing/Cee-Jay Micro LTD. – Yokohama Hard Charger Award Winner

“I just love it. It was so exciting to get back in the Series and to be racing a Gold car against the Platinum cars was so much fun. This is a great venue to come back to and I am looking forward to maybe coming back for a couple more races next year. I really want to thank the IMSA people, Mark Motors, the Bestline people. I mean, what an event. It was so much fun this weekend.”

Source. LST Marketing

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