Entering this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto event, Robichon had accumulated five wins in six races and had built himself a 20-point lead in the Platinum class championship standings. The Ottawa native added to both of those totals on Saturday afternoon with a flag-to-flag victory from the pole position on the streets of downtown Toronto.
His victory at the 1.755-mile circuit has been several years in the making.
After first competing at Indy Toronto in 2014 as part of the F1600 series, the following two seasons with Porsche GT3 Cup Canada saw Robichon continuously improving his performance. As a rookie in 2016, Robichon took fourth and third place in the weekend’s two rounds and in 2017, he finished runner-up twice, in addition to setting a track record during Race 2.
“This has been one track where I’ve always been fast in the races, but I’ve never been able to put it together in qualifying, which has really hindered my overall result,” said Robichon. “This year, I really focused on qualifying and the qualifying this morning was one of the best laps I’ve done. I really put it all on the line because I knew how important it was here and that experience from the other years made a huge difference.”
Yet Saturday’s race presented its own challenges for Robichon. On Lap 1, a three-car incident resulting in debris and oil on track brought out a full-course yellow for the field. Following the cleanup, Robichon had to defend his lead yet again against his teammate Roman De Angelis in the No. 78 Mark Motors Porsche who started alongside him in second place.
“After (the yellow), I wouldn’t say it was smooth sailing,” said Robichon, who opened his championship lead to 23 points over De Angelis. “The track was very slippery with the oil and Roman wasn’t too far back. He was pushing all along, so I was just trying some different lines. As the race evolved, the line evolved a lot more than normal because of that oil on the track. It was exciting, maybe more exciting than you’d like when you’re up front the whole time, but it was a great race and I’m really happy for the Mark Motors Racing crew.”
De Angelis held on for his fifth runner-up finish of the season and Stefan Rzadzinski in the No. 8 DFC Motorsport / Speedstar Motorsport rounded out the podium.
Rzadzinski – who took third place after a hard-fought drive in the closing minutes to pass Jeff Kingsley in the No. 16 Policaro Motorsport / SportsCarBoutique Porsche – also took home the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for gaining the most positions throughout the race after starting seventh.
“It was a huge fight,” said Rzadzinski. “Jeff was obviously doing a really good job, he’s another really good young driver so full props to him. I made a mistake early when I was chasing him down and then he got away. I just gave it all I had to try and catch him. Eventually I think he made a little bit of a mistake and went wide, which opened the door for me right towards the end. I just didn’t give up. The Downtown Porsche guys and Speedstar, they kept urging me and I just wanted to pay them back. It feels really nice.”
In the Platinum Masters class, it was Perry Bortolotti with the win in another Mark Motors Porsche, the No. 84. This was Bortolotti’s third win of the season and following him on the podium was Neal Walker in the No. 83 Tullman Walker Racing Porsche in second and Martin Harvey in the No. 08 for Wingho Racing / Porsche Prestige in third.
Capping off the race with the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada Gold class victory was Marco Cirone in the No. 18 Mark Motors Racing Porsche, making it a podium sweep across all three classes for the Ottawa-based team.
Round 8 of the 2018 Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama season will go green at Indy Toronto on Sunday at 1:40 p.m. ET prior to the IndyCar Series race. The 45-minute sprint can be streamed live on IMSA.tv.