Hargrove overall victor, Raimondo shines in Gold Cup; Cirone takes fifth class win
TORONTO, July 17, 2017 /CNW/ - The bumpy and erratic streets around Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto were lined with fans as the drivers of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama took to the circuit Saturday and Sunday for the two 45-minute sprint race weekend. The 2.87-kilometre stretch of asphalt mixed with concrete patches proved a challenge to find grip and a smoother line.
"It is always a pleasure to be part of this yearly race event which happens in the great city of Toronto," said Alexander Pollich, President & CEO, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd. "The enthusiastic and numerous fans congregate to the Exhibition Place grounds to witness some excellent racing and this weekend was no exception with two suspense-packed GT3 Cup Challenge events."
July 15, 2017
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 has not been the only dominant force this year. Roman De Angelis had not missed a beat leading into this weekend in the Gold Cup, taking every pole and win thus far for Mark Motors in the No. 78. But that all changed Saturday at the hands of newcomer Gianmarco Raimondo in the No. 76 of GT Racing.
Raimondo grabbed the lead on the very first lap, but was not 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.
July 16, 2017
Once again, Tsawwassen, British Columbia native Scott Hargrove demonstrated his ability to navigate the bumps and light sprinkles of rain near the end of Sunday's race to dominate the field in his No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol Platinum Cup.
The No. 31 of Michael de Quesada in his Alegra Motorsports entry started in third and quickly got by second-place starter Zacharie Robichon in the No. 98 entry for Mark Motors Racing. However, Robichon 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.
Coming into the 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.
Ending in third place on the Masters podium, 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.
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.
A native of Belle River, De Angelis was on a mission to recover his class dominance, as Raimondo had claimed Saturday's Gold Cup victory. But despite his strong drive, the teenager's car began to drop speed on Lap 32, ultimately stopping in Turn 4. He was able to limp to Turn 5, but his day was cut short under a full-course caution period.
Despite his early retirement, he remained ahead of Raimondo and kept the class victory, relegating Raimondo to second place.
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 de Trois-Rivières in Trois-Rivières, QC, August 11-13.
The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama season will be featured with four races on The Sports Networks (TSN), Reseau des sports (RDS) and Motorsport.tv in Europe.
The race weekend will be aired on TSN on Saturday, July 29 at 2 p.m. It will run on RDS2 on Sunday, August 20 at 2 p.m. and finally on Motorsport.com on Saturday, August 12 at 9:00 p.m.
For more information about Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, visit www.imsa.com, and follow hashtags #GT3USA and #GT3CAN @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.
SOURCE Porsche Cars Canada
For further information: Daniel Ponzini, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd., 905-694-9959, [email protected]