TORONTO, ON – For the second time this season, the Canadian Touring Car Championship (CTCC), presented by Continental Tire competed on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal during the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge race event. Three on-track sessions were on the program schedule with qualifying and two races. On Thursday morning, first on the track for the weekend, CTCC competitors were anxious to regain the feel of the track that they experienced during their last visit in June as they had only a 30-minute session to qualify for the afternoon race.
The dirty track caused many brake lock-ups and the drivers tested the limits of their cars. Super Class driver Greg Pootmans lost it and crashed the No. 60 Honda Civic Si into a wall which caused a red flag. The Touring Class leader, Michel Sallenbach with his No. 46 MINI Cooper had to abandon the session because of gearing problems.
Super Class pole position was earned by Sasha Anis with his No. 14 Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Damon Sharpe took his first pole position in Touring Class with his No. 84 Honda Civic and Karl Wittmer put his No. 91 Honda Fit on the pole in B-Spec Class. Jacques Belanger was disqualified from the qualifying results for a technical infraction and was placed at the back of the starting grid for the first race of the event.
Round 13 was not a lucky one for many drivers: Etienne Borgeat and his teammate Philip Fayer, Luc Lesage and Normand Boyer were out of the race early with technical problems. The bad luck extended to Team Octane when both Paul Gravel and Michel Sallenbach hit the wall in separate incidents. Gravel spun and hit the wall in corner 8 damaging the front left corner of his car; he was out for the race. Sallenbach had a rare but spectacular engine failure (with fire) which spun him into the wall; the car was retired from the event.
Sasha Anis fought once more with Marc-Antoine Camirand for the lead of Super Class. Anis managed to get in front at the first corner and maintained the lead to the finish, eventually building a 4.9-second lead. Third place in Super Class went to Scott Nicol. In Touring Class, the competition was just as strong and the battle between Jocelyn Hebert, Damon Sharpe and P.J. Groenke was very tight until Jacques Bélanger climbed back from the last position and got into second just before the end of the race. Hebert came in first, followed by Bélanger and Sharpe. In B-Spec Class, Karl Wittmer was behind the wheel of the No. 91 Honda Ste-Rose Honda Fit, Alain Lauzière drove the No.8 MINI Cooper while Simon Dion-Viens raced the No. 17 Honda Fit. The Mazda2 Media Race Car was driven by one of most respected automotive analysts in Quebec, Gabriel Gelinas. Not having raced for several years, Gelinas was pleased to go back home with third place. First place went to Wittmer and Lauzière finished second.
Threatening skies and potential changing weather conditions were the main concern going into round 14, however, all of the teams chose to start on dry tires. At the green flag, there was a three car pile-up in corner 2. Bob Attrell in his No. 88 Hundai Genesis Coupe and Ben Distaulo in his No. 6 Honda Civic Si got together, Attrell spun and could not be avoided by Jocelyn Fecteau in the No. 77 Scion tC and the Mazda3 driven by Jacques Deshaies. A full course yellow was called to remove Fecteau and Deshaies whose cars were severely damaged. Attrell was able to continue to the pits where his team repaired his car and got him back in the race although two laps down. When the green flag waved again, it began to rain lightly at first and then more heavily. The drivers continued to run on their slicks while balancing control in the changing conditions.
Camirand stayed close to Anis and managed to get by him with a few laps to go. Scott Nicol had a transmission failure and pulled off on the long straight. Damon Sharpe worked his way past Jocelyn Hebert and Jacques Belanger into first placed and controlled the pace to the end for his first victory. As the track continued to dry, Paul Dargis had a major engine failure and coasted into the pits. At the end, Camirand finished first in Super Class, followed by Anis and Distaulo in third place. In Touring Class, Sharpe crossed the finish line first, Hébert in second followed by Bélanger. Karl Wittmer earned the first place for the second time of the weekend in B-Spec Class, but this time he was followed by P.J. Groenke in second and Simon Dion-Viens in third.
CTCC’s final Rounds of the season (15th and 16th), will take place September 1st and 2nd at Calabogie Motorsports Park. 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 pm.
About CTCC: The Canadian Touring Car Championship (CTCC) 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 sub-compact car category with a 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.
From Dominique Longval /Director Marketing & Communications