Bowmanville ON.- Canadian Tire Motorsports Park was the host of the season opener for the Canadian Touring Car Championship Rounds 1 and 2. Last year’s 2012 Touring Car Champion Damon Sharpe, driver of the #84 Honda Civic Si, was poised to pick up where he left off from 2012 and keep his win streak alive. With new teammate Vic Simone in the #85 Honda Civic Si back in the series from a long hiatus he is also looking for a solid finish.
On Friday’s practice day The Blanchet Motorsports pit area was packed as two TV crews filming two different shows made for a busy day for Drivers and Crew. Rogers TV “Drive” was focused on the Simone program, while a show set to air on Spike TV worked with Frank and the car as their guest for their show.
On track Saturday morning Damon Sharpe found himself within the lap times of the top three and Vic Simone was busy finding the set-up to keep him comfortable in race trim. Damon Sharpe ended up setting a new track record for CTMP at a 1:33.6, almost 4/10s ahead of the next competitor in Qualifying, earning him Pole Position for Round One. Vic Simone suffered a huge crash in the infamous Turn 2 that may have resulted from a parts failure. Vic Simone in his Simone Performance/Parts Source Honda Civic Si was okay; sadly the race car was in irreparable shape and did not start the rest of the weekend.
Vic was upset that the team couldn’t make it out to race but vowed to be back behind the wheel again soon.
Saturday afternoon was the start of Round 1 which saw an aggressive Sharpe dive on the inside of Gary Kwok in Turn 5 only to make contact and not complete the pass, resulting in knocking the alignment out for the remainder of the race. Sharpe finished 4th remarkably and set fastest time of the race, earning another Pole Position to the start of Round 2.
Last year’s runner up for the CTCC championship Michel Sallenbach was able to power away and stay ahead of the three Honda Civics’ that were chasing him to the finish line.
Sunday’s Round 2 was a different story for Damon as he was able to get a jump on Sallenbach at the start of the race, Damon had good pace and lead most of the race, however the race was marred by 3 full course cautions. Sharpe was the class leader with two laps to go, but lost momentum on the re-start and was passed by Michel Sallenbach, who took the win for his second victory of the weekend.
An epic battle between the two carries forward from last season.
A deflated Sharpe said after the race, “I worked really hard on my set up this weekend and showed tremendous speed but only to come home with a 4th and 2nd didn’t show how fast we really were. The Hondas are at a dis-advantage on starts and re-starts, so the race on Sunday really played into the Mini’s hands. We will learn from this and be better prepared next time.”
Blanchet Motorsports Boss, Frank Blanchet had this to say, “We are winners and we like to win, but we leave here second in points with a clean race car and I am satisfied with that. The TV people certainly kept us busy on Friday and will get us some good exposure, which is always helpful. We also handed out hundreds of samples of ” Superclean” degreaser for our sponsor Castrol and Damon did a great job for GP8 Sportwater. We look forward to Rounds 3 & 4 at F1 Montreal.”
With Rounds 3 & 4 of the Canadian Touring Car Championship landing on the famous lle Notre Dame in Montreal at Le Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to join the Formula One series on June 7-9. Catch the action of Blanchet Motorsports Team on Twitter, @BlanchetRacing and Damon Sharpe @stabbedrat
About Blanchet Motorsports: Blanchet Motorsports has been racing since 1993 in Karting and Open wheel racing before moving into Sedan racing in 2005, winning numerous races as well as a CASC Class and Overall Champion. Joining the new Canadian Touring Car Championship in 2007 and has been a part of the series ever since, now entering into their 7th season. Blanchet Motorsports is the 2012 Touring Class Champion in the Canadian Touring Car Championship.
About CTCC: The Canadian Touring Car Championship presented by Continental Tire is the only truly Canadian professional road racing series and it showcases race cars based on their original stock street version. The entry-level B-Spec Class introduces a compact car category with stock engine and strictly controlled modifications; the Touring Class features cars with minimal modifications, while Super Class machines have powerful and heavily modified engines and advanced aerodynamics. All three classes compete at the same time on the track and challenge for supremacy in their class.
Experience the rush of touring car racing!
For more information on Blanchet Motorsports (web, facebook –facbook.com Blanchet Motorsports, twitter – @BlanchetRacing)
From: Blanchet Motorsports