Trois-Rivières, QC –The Canadian Touring Car Championship (CTCC) presented by Continental Tire raced this weekend at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières in front of a huge crowd. Featured on both Friday and Saturday, CTCC demonstrated once again the great talents amongst its competitors.
Drivers were on a green track for practice on Friday morning opening the day with a 30-minute session. They had the opportunity to test the limits of their cars, while learning and getting acquainted with some track changes. Many had brake problems and small brake fires but had the chance to get everything fixed before qualifying. Michel Dulong (Lombardi Honda Racing) had brake failure resulting in a huge crash, his No. 16 Honda Civic Si too badly damaged to continue.
Back on the track on Friday afternoon for the qualifying session, in addition to Dulong, Jocelyn Hébert did not qualify due to technical problems. In Super Class, Marc-Antoine Camirand took pole position in his No. 96 BMW 330i, with Sasha Anis in second in his No. 14 Hyundai Genesis Coupe and Etienne Borgeat in third position behind the wheel of his No. 1 Pontiac Solstice. In Touring Class, Alain Lauzière was first on the grid in the No. 45 MINI Cooper S JCW followed by Damon Sharpe in the No. 84 Honda Civic Si. No stranger to first position of the B-Spec starting grid, Nick Wittmer was first in his No. 91 Honda Fit, followed by his brother Karl in the No. 26 Mazda 2 and Bertrand Godin who was driving the Mazda2 Media Race Car.
The GP3R Friday night race once again featured CTCC. The magic of the headlights and the glowing breaks are a big hit with the race fans. With a field of 34 cars, there was a very clean start without incident. But that didn’t last very long as several cars had mechanical problems, and the extreme heat was certainly not helping. Pascal Carré had to pull off at the last corner and park behind a wall on the first lap right after a head gasket broke in his No. 24 BMW 330i. Also having engine problems, Luc Lesage in the No. 22 Scion tC pulled into pits and out of race. Jacques Deshaies in the No. 27 Mazda 3 and Bob Attrell in the No 88 Hyundai Genesis Coupe also pulled into pits and out of race. Encountering recurrent electrical problems in his No. 12 Acura RSX-S, Mathieu Audette also retired early. Also on the long DNF list, Jacques Belanger with the No.29 Honda Civic Si and Jonathan Rashleigh in the No. 86 Hyundai Genesis Coupe who touched the concrete wall in corner 6 during the first half of the race.
At the checkered in Super Class, Marc-Antoine Camirand was first, followed by Sasha Anis and Ben Distaulo in third. In Touring Class, Paul Dargis unexpectedly had his first victory in his No. 35 Honda Civic Si. Alain Lauzière earned second place followed by his teammate Adam Isman, both driving MINI Cooper S JCW. The B-Spec victory went to Karl Wittmer who also had his first victory of the season, followed by Nick Wittmer and Bertrand Godin.
The second race of the weekend was held on the hottest and most humid day of the week, the cars were affected by these hard weather conditions. Claude Houde joined the Super Class field in the No. 8 MINI Cooper S JCW for his traditional yearly race; he has never missed this event since 1967.
On the start, Jocelyn Hebert was involved in a spectacular race incident as the field got too tight going into corner one, his No. 89 Honda Civic Si went up on two wheels, continued and was able to complete the race. With only a few minutes left to the race, Normand Boyer crashed his No. 7 Mazda 3 in corner 3. His car caught on fire which brought out a full course yellow until the end of the race. The field was escorted by the pace car to the checkered flag. In Super Class, Marc-Antoine Camirand got first place, followed by Sasha Anis and Ben Distaulo. In Touring Class, Alain Lauzière finished first, Paul Dargis was second and Damon Sharpe was third. In B-Spec Class, Nick Wittmer and his brother Karl got first and second positions followed by Bertrand Godin in third.
CTCC’s 13th and 14th Rounds will take place August 16 and 17 in Montreal at the NAPA Auto Parts 200.
Fans can keep track of live CTCC competition with their smartphone or computer by connecting to www.livetiming.net/ctcc. CTCC live timing is available whenever and wherever the race cars are on the track.
For more details about CTCC, visit www.touringcar.ca or follow CTCC on Facebook and Twitter.
Don’t miss P1 on Sportsnet One every Thursday night at 8:30 p.m.
From Dominique Longval